PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Although Tropical Depression Nicholas made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane early Tuesday morning, it quickly weakened as it moved toward Southeast Texas.
Some Southeast Texans said they feel lucky as Nicholas’ impact was nothing compared to the devastation brought by Imelda and Harvey. However, some areas of Southeast Texas got as much of eight inches of rain and experienced mild flooding.
Early Tuesday morning, when Nicholas closed in on Southeast Texas, first responders got nervous.
“We were concerned about flooding in our area, but that didn’t occur, so we are pleased with that,” Jefferson County Fire Chief Chris Gonzales, said. “Were still monitoring the streets but other than that there hasn't been much of an impact to our area.”
The type of flooding that first responders were worried about did not happen, however; Southeast Texas did experience minor flooding in some areas like Orange and the Bolivar Peninsula. The mild flooding proved useful for officials in Port Arthur, who got the chance to test the more than $60 million project at Alligator Bayou.
“The station is up and running,” Ronnie Hollier, Jefferson County drainage district 7 supervisor, said. “We were able to use it. How it really helped this time is we were able to pump our system down lower than we ever have before. That create more storage.”
The water pump is joint effort between the city and the drainage district.
“So, the city storm sewers feed our laterals, which feed our mains and eventually, depending on what water shed you’re in, will flow to one of our nineteen pump stations, where it’s discharged to either Taylor Bayou or the Sabine waterway," Hollier said.
Hollier said that since 2002, officials have made almost $100 million in upgrades to the bayou, and Nicholas' pace made it easier to keep the streets from flooding.
While damage brought by Nicholas was described as minimal, it did leave more than 14,000 Entergy Texas customers without power. Entergy crews have already restored power to 76% of customer that were without, and they released a statement saying they expect to restore the rest by late Wednesday afternoon.
The remnants of Nicholas brought strong winds and heavy rains into Louisiana Tuesday, and residents said another storm is not what they needed after the devastation Hurricane Ida brought to the area.
“They're not ready,” a Louisiana woman said. “The roofs are not ready. I mean, I work for the school and the school is not ready. So, it's like, when will it get back to normal? It's just very disheartening.”
Nicholas weakened into a depression Tuesday night and is expected to further weaken into a remnant low by Wednesday.