Southern Brazoria County is seeing rain bands already, but the heaviest rain will likely fall between 4 p.m. today through 6 a.m. tomorrow, National Weather Service meteorologist Charles Roeseler said.
“Tropical Storm Nicholas is going to bring an increase in winds and rainfall as the day progresses,” he said. “Total rainfall by Tuesday night will probably be somewhere between 8 and 14 inches across Brazoria County, with maybe some slightly higher amounts possible if training sets up.”
As of Monday morning, the storm is close to the coast and is reforming its center, he said.
“Likely the center circulation is going to shift as we get through the afternoon as it reforms,” he said. “Probably one of the most difficult parts of forecast right now is determining exactly where the center is and how it’s going to track.”
Roeseler anticipates the storm will make landfall “sometime tonight” near Matagorda Bay and then move slowly north-northeast.
“We’re gonna be on the dirty side, it looks like, so that means the biggest threat on this tropical storm is going to be rainfall,” Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta said.
The county has been at a Level 3 state of emergency preparedness since Saturday, and its emergency operations center is up and running, he said.
“We’re increased readiness and have essential personnel here at the EOC monitoring the storm and we’re on our weather calls,” Sebesta said. “We have our partners with the Gulf Coast Rescue Squad and the Texas Military Museum on standby with high water vehicles and boats ready if needed, and we’ve got our folks with the Homeland Preparedness Project ready if they are needed for any shelter operations.”
Quintana Beach County Park and the park at San Luis Pass are both closed in anticipation of high tides, and access roads to the county beaches are also closed off, he said.
“With the high water expected there will be no beach,” Sebesta said.
Those on the immediate coast could see a storm surge of 4 to 5 feet, Roeseler said.
“Further inland and near a river, heavy rainfall could produce a flood threat,” he said. “I don’t think the winds will cause too many issues but if the ground gets wet it doesn’t take much to blow a tree down and have it land on a house or a mobile home.”
The worst case scenario for Southern Brazoria County is if Nicholas forms a Category 1 hurricane, increasing winds and storm surge, he said. Without a well-defined center of circulation, however, it’s too soon to tell whether that might happen, he said.
“The waters are warm so that’s favorable for some intensification but there’s some upper level wind shear which works against intensification,” he said.
Folks need to be prepared, particularly for a lot of rain over the next few days, Sebesta said.
“Folks that live in low-lying areas, they know who they are, and so they just need to be prepared,” he said. “We’ve had folks over south of Sweeny have had two significant rainfall events this year; that area needs to be prepared for rising water, and anyone else — over the next day or two, people need to be prepared and be safe … and pay attention to reliable news sources.”
Freeport has been in “full-blown storm prep” since Sunday afternoon, City Manager Tim Kelty said Monday.
“Trash service has been canceled for tomorrow and folks are being encouraged to pull all loose debris inside,” Kelty said. “Crews have been out picking up loose debris and generally getting ready for the event. We’ve ordered extra pumps and have them in place.”
The Velasco Drainage District No. 11 is anticipating a large amount of rain, and is manning all stations, Superintendent Chris Gallion said.
“We’re pumping and manning all stations and put the tide gates down,” he said. “It should minimize any flooding that could occur.”
In Angleton, crews are working to keep drainage ditches clear and flowing, according to a recorded phone call from the city’s emergency management system.
It’s going to be raining and winds are going to increase, so there’s not much to be done now in the way of preparations, Roeseler said.
“It’s probably best to just stay in place,” he said. “Stay in place until the storm is over sometime during the day tomorrow.”
All school districts made the decision during the weekend to close campuses for Monday, including Damon ISD, and Danbury ISD which decided early Monday to close through Tuesday. School activities are also canceled.
Brazosport, Sweeny, Angleton and Columbia-Brazoria school districts have extended closure through Tuesday, according to district updates.
“We made the call based on the latest weather update,” Sweeny ISD Superintendent Tory Hill said. “We anticipate our families will see a great deal of rain throughout the evening and throughout the night. To ensure that we can get our students safely in and out, we have decided to cancel classes for tomorrow.”
Damon ISD will provide an update today regarding Tuesday’s classes, as district leaders watch landfall and see the updated storm track and rainfall amounts, Superintendent David Hayward said via email Sunday night.
As of Monday morning, Angleton ISD expects to resume classes Wednesday, Public Relations Director Hanna Chalmers said via email.
C-BISD will provide an update by 6 p.m. Tuesday regarding any further cancelations, Superintendent Steven Galloway said.
“It will be throughout all of our social media channels,” Galloway said.
Sweeny ISD and Columbia-Brazoria ISD administrations hope classes can resume Wednesday morning.
Both community colleges, Alvin and Brazosport, announced plans to remain closed through Tuesday. Additional updates will be posted via websites and social media.
Brazosport College’s closure includes the Bill and Julia May Children’s Center, and the cancelation of all classes including dual credit, online and hybrid courses. A decision regarding Wednesday will be made Tuesday afternoon, officials said via email.
All branches of the Texas Gulf Bank are closing at 2 p.m. today, according to Facts staff reports.
The Angleton Recreation Center will close at 5 p.m. today and will not reopen Tuesday, according to a text update from the city’s emergency alert system.
“City Hall will be closed on Tuesday but still will be available over the phone,” the text stated. “Texas-New Mexico Power crews are on standby to handle any repairs.”
The Brazoria County Appraisal District has chosen to reschedule its Tuesday meeting, according to an emailed notice. It will meet at 10 a.m. Friday in the appraisal district’s office at 500 N. Chenango St. in Angleton.
As of Monday morning, Tuesday’s commissioners’ court is still scheduled as planned, Sebesta said.
West Columbia City Secretary Debbie Sutherland announced Monday morning that today’s scheduled meeting would be postponed until Sept. 20.
Freeport’s Economic Development Corporation canceled its Tuesday meeting, Kelty said Monday.
Jones Creek council will meet in person and via Zoom today at 6 p.m. as planned to adopt the tax rate, but the public hearing regarding the budget will be rescheduled for the next public meeting, Village Secretary Brittney Fairchild said.