TS Nicholas leads to Declaration of Disaster issued

Published 5:57 pm Monday, September 13, 2021

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Orange County Judge John Gothia has issued a Declaration of Disaster for Orange County as of 5 pm today for Tropical Storm Nicholas. Orange County Offices will be closed for business Tuesday. The Administration building will be open Tuesday for Commissioners Court only to meet as scheduled for Tuesday at 10 am for the Budget Hearing and 2 pm for the Regularly Scheduled Meeting due to budget timing constraints as dictated by Texas Local Government Code.

National Weather Service, at 4 p.m., said Tropical Storm Nicholas is forecast to make landfall on the middle Texas coast tonight. There is a chance it could become a category one hurricane before landfall.
Regardless of development, we are expecting 5 to 10 inches of rain, with locally higher amounts of 15 to 20 inches possible. Expect to see street flooding during periods of heavy rain, and possibly enter homes and businesses. The risk area covers our entire region through Wednesday.
Tides will run 1 to 4 feet above normal in our region, with the higher values in southeast Texas. During high tides, minor coastal flooding is expected.

Governor Greg Abbott today held a briefing at the Alternate State Operations Center in Austin where he provided an update on the state’s response to Tropical Storm Nicholas. This storm is expected to bring significant rainfall and flooding to the entire Gulf Coast as it moves slowly across the state.

The Governor also issued a state disaster declaration in response to Tropical Storm Nicholas for 17 counties. Counties included in the state disaster declaration are Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Galveston, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Refugio, San Patricio, and Victoria. The State will add additional counties as needs are identified.

“Texans throughout the Gulf Coast should prepare now for the impact of Tropical Storm Nicholas, which is expected to bring severe rain and flooding to these communities,” said Governor Abbott. “The State of Texas is working closely with officials on the ground to provide the resources and support needed to keep our communities safe, but it is up to all Texans in the path of this storm to take precautions, heed the guidance of officials, and remain vigilant as this severe weather moves through Texas.”

Yesterday, the Governor ordered the Texas State Operations Center (SOC) to increase its readiness to Level II (Escalated Response) beginning this morning at 9:00 AM central. On Saturday, Governor Abbott readied resources to assist local communities impacted by this storm. The following resources are activated:

  • Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (Texas A&M Task Force One): 6 Swift Water Rescue Boat Squads and 8 Overhead Packages.
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department: Game Warden Boat Teams.
  • Texas Military Department: 5 Ground Transportation Platoons With High Profile Vehicles.
  • Texas Department of State Health Services: Texas Emergency Medical Task Force (EMTF) Severe Weather Packages.

The following actions and resources have been rostered for potential activation if needed:

  • Texas A&M Forest Service: Saw Crews and Incident Management Teams.
  • Texas Department of Transportation: Monitoring Road Conditions And Prepositioned Water-Filled Barriers.
  • Texas Department of Public Safety: Texas Highway Patrol Search And Rescue Aircraft and The Tactical Marine Unit.
  • Public Utility Commission: Power Outage Monitoring And Coordination With Utility Providers.

Texans are urged to follow these flood preparedness and safety tips during severe weather events:

  • Know types of flood risk in your area. Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center for information here: https://msc.fema.gov/portal/home
  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • Build an emergency supply kit. For more information on how to build a kit, visit: https://www.ready.gov/kit
  • Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.
  • Protect your property. Move valuables to higher levels. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery.
  • Be extremely cautious of any water on roads or in creeks, streams, storm drains, or other areas – never attempt to cross flowing streams or drive across flooded roadways and always observe road barricades placed for your protection. Remember, Turn Around Don’t Drown.

For more flood safety tips, visit gov.texas.gov/hurricane.
Texans can also visit www.TexasFlood.org for resources and tips on how to stay safe during flood events

Emergency preparation and recovery resources for small businesses and local economic development organizations can be found listed at gov.texas.gov/business/page/prepare-recover.