ANGLETON — After steady activity in the tropics for several weeks, a storm is now taking aim at Brazoria County and officials are encouraging residents to make preparations before Tropical Storm Nicholas delivers its impact felt in the next few days.
“At this time, we’re advising people to be prepared and pick up any loose items around their house,” County Judge Matt Sebesta said. “People in low-lying areas need to understand that we’re potentially going to have some high rainfall and that leads to the chance of flooding in lower areas. Our folks along the coast need to be watching because we will be getting some storm surge out of this system.”
Predictions from the National Weather Service in Houston call for between 2 and 4 feet of storm surge with the arrival of Nicholas. Some coastal flooding is possible as the system moves closer.
“The biggest threat from this storm is the heavy rain and flooding potential,” meteorologist Dan Reilly of the agency's League City office said. “Rain will move in tonight and periods of rain may be heavy through Tuesday and possibly longer, depending on how the storm moves.”
Southern Brazoria County school districts all expect to have classes as normal Monday, but they are watching the storm's progress and will modify their plans as necessary.
Nicholas is moving north-northwest at 15 mph off the eastern coast of Mexico, Reilly said, and is expected to reach Brazoria County by late Monday night into early Tuesday. Meteorologists are expecting 15 inches of rain or more, depending on the speed of the storm as it moves onto land.
“Worst-case scenario is for it to slow down and we could get 20 or more inches of rain,” Reilly said. “It’s an open question. The models are handling it differently; some are showing it moving more slowly and others move it more quickly and we’re working on sorting that all out.”
Wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph are also expected, potentially causing damage to trees and blowing unsecured items around.
“We’re keeping an eye on it right now, and it’s going to depend on how the storm develops,” Sebesta said. “At this time, folks need to be prepared — prepare for the worst, pray for the best. That is the mantra I try to live by, and if we prepare for the worst and pray for the best, that way we’ll be ready.”
In addition to picking up small things around people's property, Sebesta encourages having drinking water available and a full tank of fuel in vehicles in case the area is heavily impacted and power is lost.
“We’ll handle this like any other storm — we’re going to watch closely, we’re going to pay attention to reputable news sources and make recommendations based on those projections,” Sebesta said.
The county will continually update its website and social media accounts as well as the Ready Brazoria County app as Tropical Storm Nicholas continues to march steadily closer.