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Live storm updates: Gov. Abbott issues disaster declaration for 17 Texas counties

The heaviest rain and strongest wind gusts are expected later in the day Monday and through early Tuesday.
Credit: KHOU11

HOUSTON —

NOTE: This live blog has been archived and will no longer be updated — click/tap here to get the current updates on Nicholas.

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Tropical Storm Nicholas has formed in the Gulf and is expected to have a significant impact in Southeast Texas. In Houston, we can expect the heaviest rainfall and flood threat on Monday and Tuesday with gusty winds as well.

LATEST WEATHER UPDATE: Tropical Storm Nicholas bringing rain to the Texas coast 

RELATED: School closings associated with Tropical Storm Nicholas

Harris County Meteorologist Jeff Lindner has advised that people stay off the roads after 6 p.m. Monday evening as the worst of the weather moves in.

Weather updates are below from KHOU 11 meteorologists Tim Pandajis, Addison Green, Chita Craft and David Paul can be found here and on our YouTube page. We also have updates from local officials and any school district closings/cancelations.

Monday, September 13 updates:

6:07 p.m. Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 17 Texas counties due to Tropical Storm Nicholas.

Counties included in the state disaster declaration:

  • Aransas
  • Brazoria
  • Calhoun
  • Chambers
  • Galveston
  • Harris
  • Jackson
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson
  • Matagorda
  • Montgomery
  • Newton
  • Nueces
  • Orange
  • Refugio
  • San Patricio
  • Victoria

"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," Abbott said. "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."

5:35 p.m. As Tropical Storm Nicholas bears down on Texas, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is preparing the grid to maintain reliability in the face of rain, winds and potential flooding.

In addition to officially alerting ERCOT market participants of the weather threat, ERCOT has acted to reduce planned maintenance-related outages in the area most likely to be affected by Nicholas and instructed power companies to implement their emergency procedures in preparation for the storm.

Any power outages caused by the storm will most likely be at the local distribution level. Local outages can be caused by factors ranging from high winds toppling power poles to tree limbs falling on power lines.

Residents and businesses experiencing power outages should contact their local electric service providers to report those outages and receive updates on restoration times.

5:25 p.m. Sam Houston State University's main campus, The Woodlands Center, and College of Osteopathic Medicine will close at 6 p.m. Monday. Old Main Market and General's Market will remain open until 8 p.m. All campuses and Newton Gresham Library will remain closed Tuesday except for essential personnel. Dining Services will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

All schools and facilities of The Varnett Public School will be closed Tuesday.

5:05 p.m.  A Storm Surge Warning is in effect until 11:45 p.m. for Chambers County.

5 p.m. The Galveston Ferry currently has three boats running with a minimal wait in Galveston and Bolivar.

5 p.m. Memorial Hermann announced closings due to the storm:

  • All Memorial Hermann Imaging Centers and Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation locations will be closing at 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 13. Check back regularly for updates on when these locations plan to re-open.
  • Memorial Hermann Urgent Care in Friendswood and Memorial Hermann Urgent Care in Clear Lake closed at 3 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 13. All other Memorial Hermann Urgent Care locations will close at 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 13. Check back regularly for updates on when these locations plan to re-open. 24/7 Virtual Urgent Care continues to be available.
  • Memorial Hermann COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be closed Tuesday, Sept. 14, and Wednesday, Sept. 15. To receive your vaccine, we ask that you visit a walk-in location once our COVID-19 vaccine clinics reopen on Thursday, Sept. 16. Learn more about Memorial Hermann’s walk-in locations and hours.

4:33 p.m. Houston ISD canceled all after-school activities and sporting events on Monday.

The district also canceled in-person and virtual classes on Tuesday. Also, all HISD offices and schools will be closed Tuesday. Students will not have to make up the missed school day.

Here are two more school closings that were just announced:

  • Boling ISD will be closed on Tuesday.
  • All Prairie View A&M University campuses will be closed through Tuesday.

4:30 p.m. A heavy truck crash on the Gulf Freeway near the South Loop caused a traffic nightmare on Monday evening. The Texas Department of Transportation said multiple lanes were blocked due to the crash. It's unclear if anyone was injured.

4:24 p.m. More schools have altered schedules due to Nicholas. Here are the latest districts to make changes:

  • Anahuac ISD will close school and cancel all extracurricular activities Tuesday September 14th due to the inclement weather.
  • Pasadena ISD will remain closed tomorrow, Tuesday, September 14, 2021. All after school activities for Tuesday are canceled.
  • Cristo Rey Jesuit College Prep School will be closed Tuesday.
  • Two Dimensions Charter School Houston campuses will be closed Tuesday.
  • TWU Houston will close at 5 p.m. Monday and will remain closed Tuesday. All in-person and online classes at the Houston campus are cancelled Monday and Tuesday. Normal operations will resume Wednesday.
  • South Texas College of Law Houston evening classes and activities will be held remotely after 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13. Operations will end and the campus will close at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, classes will be offered remotely via Zoom, and operations will continue remotely. The campus facility will be closed Tuesday for all activities.
  • Holy Trinity Episcopal School will be closed Tuesday.
  • All Houston area International Leadership of Texas schools will be closed Tuesday.
  • Boling ISD will be closed on Tuesday.

4:01 p.m. METRO suspended light rail and bus services Monday night due to "hazardous weather across the region." The last trip will be at 7 p.m.

On Tuesday, Sept. 14, METRO will continue to monitor the severe weather and will resume METRORail, local bus service, and METROLift only when it is safe to do so, and this may be a gradual return based on weather conditions. 

On Tuesday, Sept. 14, Park & Ride service will be suspended and all HOV/HOT lanes will be closed.

3:50 p.m. IDEA Public Schools, The Branch School and Academy of Accelerated Learning Charter School District will be closed Tuesday, Sept. 14.

3:25 p.m. —  City of Houston Municipal Courts will be closed today beginning at 5 p.m., and on Tuesday, September 14. All normal court operations and dockets will resume on Wednesday, September 15. Resets will be given in person at all City of Houston court locations beginning Wednesday and continuing through Monday, September 20, at 5 p.m.

3:15 p.m.  — Harry Styles just tweeted that his concert at Toyota Center tonight has been canceled due to Tropical Storm Nicholas. He urged fans who were already lined up to "go home and be safe." No information on refunds will be released but we'll pass it along when we get it.

3:05 p.m.  —  County Judge Lina Hidalgo is providing an update on Harris County's preparations for the storm. She repeated the request for residents to try to get where they're going by 6 p.m. and stay off the roads tonight. 

2:55 p.m.  — Memorial Hermann has grounded all Life Flight helicopters until weather conditions clear.

2:40 p.m.  — Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia has issued a disaster declaration in advance of Tropical Storm Nicholas. The county has also activated its Emergency Operations Center and will continue to monitor weather alerts and provide updates as appropriate.

2:40 p.m.  — Gov. Greg Abbott and emergency management officials have scheduled a 4 p.m. briefing on Tropical Storm Nicholas. You can watch it on KHOU 11 News, khou.com or our mobile app.

2:25 p.m.  — Kelsey-Seybold Clinics are open for in-person care through 5 p.m. today. All locations will be closed for in-person care and services on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

2 p.m. — The City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department has suspended all services for Tuesday. SWMD facilities and administrative offices will also be closed, according to city officials.

12:03 p.m. — Tropical Storm Nicholas bringing rough surf to Bacliff, Texas this morning on Galveston Bay:

12 p.m. — Don't go around the barricades! From the City of Houston: "We are beginning to see high water locations on freeways. Barricades have begun to be put in place on streets. Do not go around barricades. They are there for your protection."

11:40 a.m. — City of Houston trash pickup has been suspended for Tuesday, please secure your bins and do not leave them out during the poor weather. Service should resume Wednesday.

11:30 a.m. — The Houston Zoo is closed early today and the entire day tomorrow. In addition, Katy ISD has announced closures. View the school closure details here 

11:20 a.m. — Here's a look at White Oak Bayou right now from Reporter Jason Miles

10:57 a.m. — From Harris County Meteorologist Jeff Lindner: "We are advising everyone to get to where they are going to be for the duration of this event by 6 p.m. tonight and stay there"

10:35 a.m. — Another school update: The follow districts just announced impacted schedules/classes due to the tropical storm: Galena Park ISD, Waller ISD, CyFair ISD, Tomball ISD, Dayton ISD, Houston ISD and Sheldon ISD. View the details here

10:30 a.m. — You can watch the latest video update from Meteorologists Chita Crat and Tim Pandajis here:

10:30 a.m. — From the Texas Division of Emergency Management: "The Texas State Operations Center (SOC) is activated at Level 2 (Escalated Response) as Tropical Storm Nicholas approaches the Texas coast. Please take a moment to plan for flash flooding: Get to higher ground; Do not drive into water; Heed Local Warnings"

10:02 a.m. — From Houston ISD: "Due to inclement weather, all after-school activities and sporting events are cancelled today Monday, Sept 13.  Schools and buildings should not be accessed after 5 p.m. on Monday, September 13.  In addition, in-person and virtual classes are canceled on Tuesday, Sept.14. All HISD offices and schools will be closed on Tuesday, September 14.  Students will not need to make up the missed school day." View school closures here

10 a.m. — Meteorologist Tim Pandajis has a quick update on the National Hurricane Center's latest forecast path for Tropical Storm Nicholas. The storm will continue to be a flash flood threat for the Houston region late Monday and thr0oughout the day Tuesday:

9:40 a.m. — Michelle Choi is tracking the rough waves off the coast in Galveston right now — last night crews there removed the lifeguard stands to prevent them from getting damaged:

9:30 a.m. — Currently, there are no widespread weather-related power outages in our area  -"As of 9/13/2021 9:30:07 AM, CenterPoint Energy reporting 3338 Customers without power"

7:45 a.m. — Heavy rain ramping up on radar across SE TX. Tropical downpours capable of delivering 2-3" an hour rainfall rates.

7 a.m. — Meteorologist Tim Pandajis says the storm's path remains the same at the 7 a.m. update but it's movement has now slowed:

6:50 a.m. — KHOU 11's David González reports the Houston Office of Emergency Management is now activated:

6:43 a.m. — KHOU 11 Meteorologist Tim Pandajis says Tropical Storm Nicholas is moving quicker, which means the heavy rain is arriving in our area earlier and exiting faster

6:35 a.m. — KHOU 11's Michelle Choi is in Galveston this morning where the waves and picking up as the tropical storm nears:

6:33 a.m. — Harris County Meteorologist Jeff Lindner tells Meteorologist Chita Craft that Houston's bayous are in good shape (some have less water than usual) ahead of Tropical Storm Nicholas:

6:15 a.m. — School updates: Fort Bend ISD schools and facilities will dismiss early today due to inclement weather. HS at 11:35, MS at 1:25, ES at 12:10.  All afterschool activities and Board mtg. are canceled. Additionally, all classes are cancelled tomorrow, Tuesday, September 14.

View the full school closures list here

5 a.m. — KHOU 11 Meteorologist Tim Pandajis says the timing of the system's arrive in Southeast Texas has sped up:

4:50 a.m. — Just added to the schools closures list (tap here for the full list):

Danbury ISD schools will close today, Monday, September 13th, and tomorrow, Tuesday, September 14th due to weather.

Out of an abundance of caution for our students and staff, Pearland ISD will be closed Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, due to Tropical Storm Nicholas. All after-school activities for Monday are also canceled. A decision regarding Tuesday will be made by Monday afternoon.

Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our staff and students, Alvin ISD campuses will be closed on Monday, September 13, 2021 due to Tropical Storm Nicholas. With anticipated flooding, it may not be safe to transport students to and from school. This closure includes all extracurricular activities for Monday, September 13.

Due to the inclement weather from Tropical Storm Nicholas, Alvin Community College will cancel classes for Monday, September 13.

Sunday, September 12

11:30 p.m. Nicholas strengthened and now has winds of 50 mph.

10:11 p.m. Several more districts announced closings this week. Here's the updated list

9:07 p.m.   Angleton ISD schools will be closed Monday, Sept. 13.

UDPATE: SEPTEMBER 12 at 9 P.M. Angleton ISD schools will be closed tomorrow, Monday, September 13 due to expected...

Posted by Angleton ISD on Sunday, September 12, 2021

9 p.m.   Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency for Louisiana in advance of Tropical Storm Nicholas.

According to Edwards, areas affected by hurricanes Ida and Laura could see impacts from Nicholas.

"As of 6 p.m. on Sunday, there are still 130,478 power outages in Southeast Louisiana caused by Hurricane Ida," Edwards' office said.

8:40 p.m. Sweeny ISD canceled school for Monday, Sept. 13.

As of the 7:30 p.m. advisory from the National Weather Service, Sweeny ISD has determined that all school and...

Posted by Sweeny ISD on Sunday, September 12, 2021

8:22 p.m.  Brazosport College will be closed Monday, Sept. 13 in response to Tropical Storm Nicholas, according to school officials.

8:12 p.m. — Mayor Sylvester Turner confirmed the Houston Office of Emergency Management will be activated Monday at 6 a.m.

7 p.m. — Brazosport ISD will be closed Monday, Sept. 13 in response to severe weather expected from Tropical Storm Nicholas. The district said it will continue to monitor the situation before making a decision regarding Tuesday and Wednesday.

7 p.m.  Montgomery County emergency management officials are encouraging residents to prepare for heavy rainfall, including up to 15 inches in some areas over the next couple of days. 

For information regarding Lake Conroe storm releases from the San Jacinto River Authority visit sjra.net.

Recovery information is available at www.mctx.org/recover.

6:50 p.m. —  Chambers County Office of Emergency Management is providing sand for residents using sandbags. Sand can be found at Winnie-Stowell Park, White Memorial Park and McLeod Park.

According to officials, each commissioner's office will have sandbags available Monday. In the meantime, they recommend residents double bag with a heavy-duty trash can liner if they cannot wait to get bags. Read more on Facebook.

6 p.m. — Jeff Lindner with the Harris County Flood Control District says the Addicks and Barker reservoirs are empty right now. 

5:07 p.m. — Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the Texas State Operations Center to increase its readiness to Level II, or Escalated Response, beginning Monday at 9 a.m. in preparation for Tropical Storm Nicholas. It's to coordinate the state’s response in support of local officials.    

3 p.m. —  According to the City of Houston, Lake Houston was scheduled to be lowered to 41.5 feet today at noon in anticipation of heavy rain from Tropical Storm Nicholas.  

Posted by Houston City Council Member Dave Martin on Saturday, September 11, 2021

2:12 p.m. Texas-New Mexico Power, which delivers power to more than 130,000 homes and businesses in Brazoria and Galveston counties, is preparing for possible power outages due to Tropical Storm Nicholas, according to the company. 

TNMP warns customers should prepare for the possibility of outages lasting for 24-48 hours or even for many days. They have already sent additional crews to the area to assist with power restoration if needed.

1:48 p.m. — Tropical Storm Nicholas is expected to bring intense rain and possible flooding to the Houston and Galveston area in the next three to four days. Some businesses in downtown Galveston have already started preparations.

11:40 a.m. — Harris County Public Health has closed all COVID testing and vaccination sites Monday, Sept. 12 due to Tropical Storm Nicholas.

11:30 a.m. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has activated the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management to Level 3 – increased Readiness - in response to Tropical Storm Nicholas. 

10 a.m. — Tropical Storm Nicholas forms in the southern Gulf of Mexico. Tropical Storm Watches have been issued for the Southeast Texas coastline ahead of Nicholas' impact.