Heavy rains fell across the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana on Tuesday as tropical storm Nicholas strengthened into a hurricane before making landfall, bringing the threat of widespread flooding, power outages and storm .

NHC said, Northeast  with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 kph), the National Hurricane Center said in a bulletin  on Tuesday. It made landfall along the Texas coast.

The  White House said,  US President Joe Biden declared an emergency for Louisiana and ordered federal assistance to supplement local response efforts due to conditions resulting from Nicholas,.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said “It will be a very slow moving storm across the state of Texas that will linger for several days and drop a tremendous amount of rain”.

Abbott declared states of emergency in 17 counties and three cities. He said boat and helicopter rescue teams had been deployed or placed on standby.

The Houston Independent School District canceled classes for Tuesday, while dozens of schools across Texas and Louisiana shut down on Monday.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, citing flood warnings, urged the city’s roughly 2.3 million residents to stay off streets and highways.

“Take things seriously and prepare,” Turner said at a news conference. “This is primarily a rain event and we don’t know how much rain we will be getting.”

Houston suspended light rail and bus services on Monday evening. Hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed at airports in Corpus Christi and Houston.

Houston, the fourth-most populous US city, was devastated in 2017 when Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane, slammed Texas, dropping up to 40 inches  of rain in some sections and killing more than 100 people.

Edwards warned that drainage systems still clogged with debris from Ida and other storms might be deluged by the heavy rain, triggering flash floods.

National Weather Service models forecast rainfall totals from Nicholas up to 16 inches for coastal parts of Texas, reaching 20 inches in some isolated areas. As the hurricane moves northeast, it was expected to pummel parts of south central Louisiana and southern Mississippi with up to 10 inches of rain.

Royal Dutch Shell on Monday evacuating staff from a US Gulf of Mexico oil platform and other firms began preparing for hurricane force winds.

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