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Tropical Storm Nicholas updates: Crews continue working to restore power to Houston area

Nicholas caused some damage and flooding in coastal communities when it roared ashore overnight as a Category 1 hurricane.

HOUSTON — Nicholas is now a tropical storm again after making landfall overnight as a hurricane. Widespread power outages remain across Southeast Texas.

The worst and damage we've seen is in coastal communities but there are trees down all over the Greater Houston Area.

Even if roads are not flooded, many do not have traffic signals due to power outages.

LIVE VIDEO NOW: KHOU 11 is on the air with extended team coverage/watch live above

RELATED: High-water locations in Houston area

RELATED: Power outage tracker

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.

Tuesday, September 14 updates:

9 p.m.   Entergy update:

During challenging work conditions, crews have restored power to over 13,300 customers from a peak count of 14,000 customers at 9:15 a.m. Entergy Texas expects to restore the remaining customers in areas that have experienced extensive damage and that can safely take power by late afternoon on Wednesday, 9/15.

8:30 p.m.   Entergy update:

During challenging work conditions, crews have restored power to over 13,300 customers from a peak count of 14,000 customers at 9:15 a.m. Entergy Texas expects to restore the remaining customers in areas that have experienced extensive damage and that can safely take power by late afternoon on Wednesday, 9/15.

6 p.m.   Entergy power outage update: As of 6 p.m., there are approximately 3,300 customers without power from a peak count of 14,000 at 9:15 a.m., Entergy expects to restore most customers who can safely take power by the end of today, Tuesday 9/14, with the hardest-hit areas receiving power by Wednesday late afternoon, 9/15.

4:58 p.m.   CenterPoint said it has restored power to nearly 300,000 electric customers over the last 12 hours, down from a peak outage count of more than 460,000 at 8 a.m. this morning. Of the 2.6 million CenterPoint Energy customers in the Greater Houston area, more than 93 percent currently have power. At this time, CenterPoint Energy is down to approximately 160,000 customers without power.

4:24 p.m.   During a briefing at the State Operation Center today, Gov. Greg Abbott updated the action that Texas is taking to help communities respond to Hurricane Nicholas. To accelerate the response, Abbott temporarily waived the limit on commercial drivers’ hours of service and the oversize and overweight permitting requirements.

Abbott also added Liberty and Wharton counties to the disaster declaration issued yesterday.

4:19 p.m.   All HISD in-person and virtual classes will resume on Wednesday. All HISD buildings, schools and offices will also open on Wednesday.

4:02 p.m. — Update from Galveston:

Many residents remain without power Tuesday and the City of Galveston is busy cleaning up debris after Hurricane Nicholas caused wind gusts and heavy rain Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

The City of Galveston is open and providing all essential services, and the system is moving northeast and away from the area.

Electricity Update

CenterPoint Energy has currently staged more than 2,500 crews in Galveston County to assess damage to power lines and begin making repairs toward restoration, according to communications with the power company. While we have not received an exact timeline for power restoration, our understanding from the power company is these could be extended outages based on the extent of the damage.

By Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m., the company had reported restoration at nearly half of the 400,000 properties in the region that had lost power.

Sanitation Services

The City of Galveston has resumed essential services, including garbage collection. Due to flooding, sanitation is not able to get to all areas of Tuesday’s route.  We will address those missed areas first thing Wednesday. This will likely put us behind schedule and we will most likely run through Friday completing this week’s route. We are asking residents to be patient as we work to catch up.

Debris Clean-up

Wind damage across the island caused a lot of landscaping debris. As residents clean up their yards, please place limbs on the curb and bag any landscaping debris that can be bagged to place by the curb for collection.

Sanitation will be working this weekend and next weekend removing debris as follows:

Debris Pickup

  • Saturday 9-18-2021 - 7 Mile to Pointe West
  • Sunday 9-19-2021 - 61st - 7 Mile
  • 61st – Far East will be taken care of next week
  • Friday – 9-24-2021            
  • Saturday – 9-25-2021 

In addition, sanitation will be picking up debris piles during the normal course of the week.

Reporting Storm Damage

The City of Galveston is collecting information about how many homes and businesses sustained damage during Hurricane Nicholas. This damage may be reported by completing the online form at galvestontx.gov/reportstormdamage. The form does not count as an insurance claim or an application for assistance, however, it helps us to know where damage occurred.

3:52 p.m.   The City of Bellaire will open for normal operations tomorrow.

3:50 p.m.   METRO is resuming services tomorrow. Customers can plan to take their regular routes including local bus routes, METRORail, METRORapid, Community Connector, Circulator, and Park & Ride services.

3:48 p.m. Businesses in Galveston are starting to reopen after Nicholas. KHOU 11 reporter Michelle Choi is in Galveston and spotted people on the beach. City crews are still working to restore power to residents. 

1:50 p.m. Fort Bend ISD said it's assessing conditions at schools and buildings districtwide and an update will be issued later on today regarding plans for Wednesday. 

1:47 p.m. La Porte Office of Emergency Management said its office has received over 170 reports of damage from the storm. The Seabreeze Park Pier got hit pretty hard by the storm. La Parte OEM said the Park and Pier will remain closed until additional assessments can be made. 

1:44 p.m. —  Centerpoint said it has made significant progress in restoration efforts; over 200k customers have been restored since 8 a.m. with 270k customers remaining. 

1:36 p.m. The City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department is opening four additional locations where people without power can charge phones and other electronic devices. These locations will be open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. today.

Locations: 

  • Freed Community Center, 6818 Shadyvilla Ln.
  • Edgewood Community Center, 5803 Bellfort Ave.
  • Marian Park Community Center, 11101 S. Gessner Rd.
  • Tuffly Community Center, 3200 Russell St.

1:22 p.m. Our sister station in Beaumont, KBMT, reported a 10-foot gator was blocking traffic on I-10 near Major Drive during the storm. The gator was rescued by Gator Country, a gator rescue facility. The gator is now named Major Nicholas. 

RELATED: 10-foot gator blocks traffic in Beaumont during Nicholas

12:04 p.m. Due to power outages in several neighborhoods, the Houston Health Department will open four multi-service centers from noon to 5 p.m. today for people without power who need to charge their phones or other electronic devices. 

RELATED: Need to charge your phone? 4 centers open across Houston for residents without power

Locations:

  • Sunnyside Multi-Service Center, 9314 Cullen Blvd.
  • Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, 6719 W. Montgomery Rd.
  • Southwest Multi-Service Center, 6400 High Star Dr.
  • West End Multi-Service Center, 170 Heights Blvd.

11:41 a.m. Comcast announced that its XFINITY WiFi hotspots throughout the Greater Houston area are available to anyone who needs them – including non-Comcast customers – to ensure residents and emergency personnel stay connected during Tropical Storm Nicholas. 

10:53 a.m. League City will be opening all city facilities at noon today. This includes City Hall, the Helen Hall Library, Civic Center, Animal Care and Adoption Center, Municipal Court, and City Hall annex.

10:49 a.m. — Bush and Hobby airports are expected to be fully functional by either 2 or 3 p.m. today, according to Mayor Turner.  Nearly 400 flights were canceled yesterday and today to Hurricane Nicholas. There was light damage reported at Hobby Airport from the storm.

10:15 a.m.    Unfortunately, this is a similar scene for hundreds of homeowners after Nicholas uprooted large trees and send them crashing down on homes and cars.  This is in the Cloverleaf area of East Harris County where KHOU 11 News reporter David Gonzalez is this morning. 

9:55 a.m.   KHOU 11 News reporter Adam Bennett is at the Houston Emergency Cente this morning. It's where Mayor Sylvester Turner, Police Chief Troy Finner, HFD Chief Samuel Pena and other leaders hunkered down during Nicholas. 

9:40 a.m.   KHOU 11 News reporter Melissa Correa is in Surfside this morning with brand new Police Chief Robert Wood. Monday was his first day on the job. Wood says they got 6 feet of storm surge along with wind damage in the Brazoria County community. They also have no power or water.

9:25 a.m. —  KHOU 11 Meteorologist Tim Pandajis reports Clear Creek is out of its banks at two locations causing some flooding issues.

9:05 a.m. — From Galveston County OEM: If you have damage from Hurricane Nicholas, please report it at GCOEM.org. This will help county leaders get a handle on the extent of the damage county-wide.

8:50 a.m. Kayakers in Clear Lake Shores survey the damage to some restaurants and businesses. KHOU 11 News reporter Matt Dougherty is there.

8:40 a.m. — Heads up if you have to get out this morning. Downed trees are blocking streets across the area. These Houston Public Works crews removed one from Allen Parkway. They're also directing traffic around high water spots.

8:30 a.m.   Hurricane Nicholas caused widespread power outages in the Greater Houston Area and CenterPoint crews are already hard at work to assess the damage. At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, CenterPoint reported more than 454,000 customers without power. 

Key CenterPoint updates

  • Keep phone lines open for electric and natural gas emergency calls only 
  • Estimated electric restoration times will be provided once assessments are completed 
  • Natural gas system in Houston area is functioning normally
  • Gas Operations crews have begun system assessment where the storm has passed

8:20 a.m.  The Galveston Ferry is up and running again. Their first passengers were TxDOT crews headed to Bolivar to help clear SH 87. One boat is running now but more will be added soon.

7:55 a.m. — Highway 225 is underwater in both directions in Pasadena. KHOU 11 Meteorologist Tim Pandajis reports that area got 4-5 inches of rain.

7:40 a.m. Reminder: Only call 911 for emergencies. 

7:20 a.m. — Views from Houston TranStar show Highway 225 is underwater at RIchey, in the Pasadena area. The freeway is closed in both directions:

6:50 a.m. — This is part of the reason people will still want to stay off the roads for a while, debris and tree limbs. Plus a few downed power lines:

6:40 a.m. — From METRO: "METRO will resume limited service this morning for local bus, METRORail, METRORapid, and METROLift. Transit services will operate as early as 8 a.m. today on the Authority's busiest core routes. METRO safety teams will also begin assessing HOV/HOT lanes at daylight to determine which corridors will be safe to open. Service for METRO Park & Ride will not resume today." Read more here.

6:05 a.m. — The Flash Flood Warning for Harris County will continue until 9 a.m. today —  stay off the roads

6 a.m. — The outage trackers show about 450,000 customers are without power right now across the Houston area, both inland and along the coast. Get power outage updates here and watch some of the recent on-TV coverage here, including a look at a flooded community Alvin, south of Houston:

5:40 a.m. — Most of the rain stayed along the coast and over the Gulf — reducing our rainfall totals, but some areas are dealing with a storm surge. Harris County Meteorologist Jeff Lindner just spoke with Chita Craft about it on KHOU 11. He says Houston's bayous are holding up well since we didn't get the anticipated rainfall. Watch that interview here.

5:11 a.m. — "Radar estimated wind speeds depict winds over 50mph - ground observations confirm they are being mixed to the surface under heavier downpours." — KHOU 11 Meteorologist Tim Pandajis

5 a.m. — Much of Galveston is in a blackout this morning due to the gusty winds knocking out power. The same can be said for other parts of Houston, even farther inland and areas north. Here are some of the latest reports on TV from the KHOU 11 team:

4:53 a.m. — KHOU 11 Meteorologist Tim Pandajis says the center of Nicholas is heading for the downtown area, which means power outages will continue:

4:47 a.m. — Yet another reason to stay off the roads this morning, especially in the coastal communities:

4:30 a.m. — You can watch the latest forecast update from the KHOU 11 Weather Team here. Nicholas will continue to be a problem through the morning hours before pushing into Louisiana later this afternoon:

4 a.m. — Multiple flash flood watches continue this morning. Stay off the road if you can. Also, Nicholas has now been downgraded back to tropical storm status with winds at 70 mph.

3:50 a.m. — KHOU 11's Michelle Choi reports Galveston Island continues to be pummeled by strong winds and heavy rain

1:44 a.m. — A Flash Flood Warning is in effect for parts of Brazoria, Galveston, Harris and Matagorda counties until 5:45 a.m.

1:25 a.m. More than 100,000 power outages have been reported across the Houston area due to Hurricane Nicholas, according to CenterPoint Energy's power outage tracker.

12:30 a.m. — Hurricane Nicholas made landfall around 12:30 a.m. on the eastern part of the Matagorda Peninsula, about 10 miles west-southwest of Sargent Beach.

RELATED: Hurricane Nicholas makes landfall in Matagorda County

12:15 a.m. — More than 60,000 power outages have been reported across the Houston area, according to Centerpoint Energy. Click here to check power outages.

RELATED: CenterPoint: 'Extended power outages likely' during Hurricane Nicholas; ERCOT says grid is ready

Monday, September 13 updates:

11:47 p.m. — Galveston ferry operations were suspended due to "deteriorating weather conditions." Operations will resume when it's safe to do so.

10:55 p.m. — Fort Bend County Judge K.P. George announced a news conference will be held on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. They said they'll discuss weather conditions related to Hurricane Nicholas.

10:25 p.m. — SH 87 in Gilcrest from the 900 block east to 124 is nearly impassable, according to the Galveston County OEM.

10 p.m. — In its 10 p.m. update,m the National Hurricane Center upgraded Nicholas to a Category 1 hurricane.

Flash flooding and powerful winds are expected as the storm approaches the coast.

9:46 p.m. A Flash Flood Warning was issued for parts of Brazoria, Matagorda and Galveston counties until 1:45 a.m. Tuesday.

9:26 p.m. Galveston is dealing with power outages on Monday night. According to CenterPoint, hundreds of residents were left without power on the west side of the Island.

Credit: CenterPoint

Click here to check power outages in the Houston area.

9:26 p.m. — TxDOT announced it closed SH 332 at CR 690 (Levee Rd.) heading towards Surfside. Surfside is without power and water is coming over the dunes.

9:12 p.m. — Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo gave updates on the expectations from the storm. She said new forecasts have shown less rain may fall than initially expected.

She said winds would likely be a factor and CenterPoint is on standby ready to fix any outages that might come.

She urged residents to stay at home and said that if they have to drive, to avoid driving through water on the roads.

She asked people to use 911 for emergencies only.

8:45 p.m. — Tropical Storm Nicholas is expected to cause "extended power outages" as it moves across Southeast Texas with 70 mph winds, according to CenterPoint.

In a news conference Monday night, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said CenterPoint crews are ready and will restore power as quickly as possible.

RELATED: CenterPoint: 'Extended power outages likely' during storm; ERCOT says grid is ready

8:20 p.m. — Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and the Red Cross are establishing shelters in Harris County for those who need refuge in the wake of the storm.

The shelters are on standby and will open when needed.

Jackson Lee and the Red Cross said these shelters would be available:

  • Fulton Community Church
  • 215 N. 3rd St.
  • Fulton, TX 78358
  • Leon Grayson Community Center
  • 13828 Corpus Christi St.
  • Houston, TX 77015
  • National Association of Christian Churches
  • 16605 Air Center Blvd.
  • Houston, TX 77032
  • (This is run by a Red Cross partner)
  • Forge for Families
  • 3435 Dixie Dr.
  • Houston, TX 77021
  • Orange Church of God
  • 1911 N 16th St.
  • Orange, TX 77630
  • Baptist Church of Nederland
  • 1911 Nederland Ave.
  • Nederland, TX 77627

To get help:

We currently have open shelters and will be opening additional shelters in multiple areas along the Gulf Coast. In the coming days, we encourage people to visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767), or download the free Red Cross Emergency app for shelter locations. In addition to a safe place for people to sleep, we also provide meals, emotional and spiritual care, and connections to community resources.

8:11 p.m. — Part of Matagorda Bay lost power ahead of Nicholas' landfall.

Check all of the Houston-area power outages here.

7:51 p.m. — The following Houston-area H-E-B stores will close at 8 p.m. on Monday and are expected to open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

  • Bay Colony  H-E-B 
  • Blackhawk  H-E-B 
  • Pearland H-E-B plus!
  • Sienna Market  H-E-B 
  • West Columbia  H-E-B 
  • Alvin  H-E-B 
  • Santa Fe  H-E-B 
  • Fairmont Pkwy  H-E-B 
  • Lake Colony  H-E-B 
  • Fry Rd and I10  H-E-B 
  • Mason Rd  H-E-B 
  • Gulfgate  H-E-B 
  • Beechnut  H-E-B 
  • Westheimer and Kirkwood  H-E-B 
  • Friendswood  H-E-B 
  • Riverpark  H-E-B 
  • Clear Lake Market  H-E-B 
  • Bellaire Blvd  H-E-B 
  • Grand Parkway H-E-B plus!
  • Buffalo Market  H-E-B 
  • Katy Market  H-E-B 
  • Sugar Land Market  H-E-B 
  • Montrose Market  H-E-B 
  • Texas City  H-E-B 
  • Pearland Market
  • San Felipe  H-E-B 
  • League City  H-E-B 
  • Lake Jackson  H-E-B 
  • Clear Lake Marketplace  H-E-B 
  • Deer Park  H-E-B 
  • Aliana Market  H-E-B 
  • Richmond Market  H-E-B 
  • Cross Creek Ranch  H-E-B 
  • Bellaire Market  H-E-B 
  • Mont Belvieu  H-E-B 
  • Baytown  H-E-B 
  • Meyerland Market  H-E-B 
  • Spring Green Market  H-E-B 
  • MacGregor Market  H-E-B 
  • Mi Tienda - Mi Tienda 1 will close at 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 13.
  • Joe V’s Smart Shop - Joe V’s Smart Shop: #5 Baytown, #6 Bellfort, #7 W. Fuqua, #9 Red Bluff/Pasadena will close at 9 p.m. on Monday.

All other stores will operate under regular hours unless listed.

7:31 p.m. — Flights have been canceled at Bush Intercontinental Airport due to the storm.

7 p.m. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will hold news conferences tonight to talk about Tropical Storm Nicholas' impact on the region.

Turner is expected to start at about 7:30 p.m. and Hidalgo is expected to start at about 9 p.m.

More Tropical Storm Nicholas coverage on the KHOU 11 YouTube page:

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.

5 p.m. -- Reporter Cheryl Mercedes is reporting on bayou and stream levels as Tropical Storm Nicholas moves closer

You can check bayou and stream levels here.

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.

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