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Nicholas causes power outages, floods streets in Texas, Louisiana

Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Tropical Storm Nicholas brought heavy rains and left hundreds of thousands without power as it made landfall in the Gulf Coast as a Category 1 hurricane early Tuesday.

Nicholas touched down Matagorda, Texas, at 1 a.m., causing severe power outages in the state while later bringing rain to Louisiana, which was still reeling from the impacts of Hurricane Ida.

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The National Hurricane Center said Nicholas could still produce "life-threatening flash floods" throughout the south in the coming days and more than 6 million people face flash flood alerts stretching from southeast Texas to the Florida Panhandle.

More than 165,713 customers were without power in Texas as of Tuesday night, according to poweroutage.us.

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In the early hours of the storm's arrival about half a million customers were without power with the bulk of the power outages recorded in areas outside of Houston, particularly along the coast.

Fransisco Sanchez of the Harris County Office of Emergency Management said much of the damage from the storm did not include "a whole lot of downed trees" but rather downed limbs and branches.

"So what that tells us is the restoration should go a lot smoother," Sanchez said.

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The Houston metro recorded at least 9 inches of rain, with forecasters stating that some areas could experience twice that amount.

In Louisiana, there were reports of 10 flooded streets in New Orleans and two underpasses were closed.

"One of the most distressing parts of this is the heaviest rain now is expected to fall in the areas that were most devastated by hurricane Ida," Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Tuesday.

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President Joe Biden approved emergency aid for Louisiana, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate "all disaster relief efforts, which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency."

"It's vital that we have as many resources as possible to respond to the forecasted heavy rainfall, potential for flash flooding and river flooding across central Louisiana and all of South Louisiana," Edwards said.

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