Tropical Storm Nicholas to drop over 10 inches of rain on Terrebonne and Lafourche

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Tropical Storm Nicholas began raining on Terrebonne and Lafourche on Tuesday as the area continues to recover from Hurricane Ida.

Nicholas, which had briefly strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane Monday, made landfall in Texas Monday evening and was about 10 miles southwest of Houston as of 9 a.m. Tuesday. The storm moved northeast at 8 mph with sustained 60 mph winds.

Nicholas was predicted to dump nearly a foot of rain in some places in Terrebonne and Lafourche this week, according to Hannah Lisney, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Slidell.

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“We have a flash flood watch in effect until Thursday morning as we could see rainfall totals of 5 to 10 inches across the area and 11 to 12 inches in some local places,” Lisney said Tuesday morning. “We also have a coastal flood advisory in effect because coastal areas with all that heavy rain can see tides 1 to 2 feet above normal.”

While winds weren’t expected to be an issue, Nicholas could still potentially spawn isolated tornadoes, Lisney said.

“The wind won’t be a problem like Ida’s,” she said. “This is just more of a widespread event with heavy rainfall. We have a marginal risk of severe weather because we could see a few short-lived tornadoes through the area on that eastern side of the storm.”

On the upside, Nicholas wasn’t expected to trigger a significant storm surge in Terrebonne or Lafourche, Lisney said.

“The far west coast will have problems with storm surges,” she said. “It is decreasing for our area, so fortunately that is not to be expected. We’ll take the good stuff if we can get it.”

Tuesday’s rain would also delay Hurricane Ida recovery efforts, said Earl Eues, director of Terrebonne Emergency Preparedness. The Category 4 storm made landfall in Port Fourchon on August 29 and left major devastation in Terrebonne and Lafourche.

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“It will hinder recovery efforts because you can’t make blue roofs while it’s raining like that,” he said. “Debris pick-up will also be halted as they will not be able to get in and out of debris sites to dump the debris. So things will be delayed for two or three days until we get some better weather. We also ask residents to ensure that their sewage system in front of their home is cleaned. That benefits the water flow in the neighborhoods.”

On Tuesday morning, 17,066 customers, or 61%, were without electricity in Terrebonne and 22,915, or 52%, in Lafourche, Entergy said.

Lafourche President Archie Chaisson said officials are working with FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers to put tarps over roofs damaged during Ida.

“It’s going pretty well,” Chaisson said Tuesday. “We continue to push FEMA and the Corps on shelters and blue roofs to bring people back to normal. Power recovery is progressing well with about 50% of the parish back on hard power. We are working as hard as we can to clear drainage ditches and drains to prevent rain we see from Tropical Storm Nicholas from hitting us too much.”

-Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.

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