Tropical Storm Nicholas prompts 17-county Texas disaster declaration

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a state disaster declaration as Tropical Storm Nicholas was closing in on the Texas Gulf Coast.

"Texas is ready to respond," the governor told a room full of emergency operations staff.

Abbott included 17 counties in the emergency declaration and said more could be added depending on flooding and damage caused by the storm. Rescue boats and helicopters are standing by.

"It will be a very slow moving storm, across the State of Texas, and it will linger for several days and will drop a tremendous amount of rainwater," said Abbott.

The disaster declaration makes state resources readily available for local jurisdictions in the path of the storm.

"I just got off the phone with President Biden who offered the support of the federal government to assist the State of Texas, and the State of Texas, in turn, is working with all of the affected counties to provide them the assistance they need," Abbott said.

The Governor said in addition to rescue crews, there are teams with Texas Health and Human Services ready to bring water and ice to affected areas. Sixteen shelters are also on standby along the Texas coast.

Still, Abbott recommends those in Nicholas’ path be on high alert.

"People who are in the region affected by the storm need to be prepared for extreme high-water events, including flooding and potential damage caused by the rainfall, and there’s always the possibility that other storms, such as tornadoes, could be spawned. So it’s essential that people at the lower level stay constant attention to the information being provided about the weather system, as well as any warnings that are issued by local authorities," said Abbott.

The Governor said the storm is not expected to affect the state’s power grid, so outages that occur will likely be at the local level. People who lose power are asked to contact their service providers to report it and receive information on restoration time

Tropical Storm Nicholas was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane late Monday night. As of 10 p.m., Nicholas had winds of 75 mph. It was centered about 20 miles southwest of Matagorda and was moving north-northeast at 10 mph.

Track your local forecast for the Austin area quickly with the free FOX 7 WAPP. The design gives you radar, hourly, and 7-day weather information just by scrolling. Our weather alerts will warn you early and help you stay safe during storms.

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