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Nicholas crawls into Louisiana from Texas, dumping rain

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tropical Depression Nicholas hovered over Louisiana on Wednesday, dumping heavy rain on a region struggling to recover from Hurricane Ida and swamping coastal Mississippi, Alabama and northwest Florida.

Flash flooding and tornadoes were possible near the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said. Flash flood watches also were posted in coastal Alabama and the Florida panhandle. In Louisiana, the rainfall complicated an already difficult recovery at homes ripped open by Ida on Aug. 29. Thousands remain without power in Texas and Louisiana.

“I’m not sure at this point what it looks like,” said Edith Anthony, whose home in LaPlace, a New Orleans suburb between Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River, lost part of its roof while getting about 2 to 3 feet of flood water two weeks ago.

They still don’t have electricity, and couldn’t arrange for a tarp to cover the roof before Nicholas blew in. Now she and her husband are staying in a Mobile, Alabama, hotel, preparing to return this weekend to what’s left of their home.

Nicholas dumped nearly 14 inches of rain in Galveston, Texas, after making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane, the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. Houston reported more than 6 inches. Forecasters warned people along the central Gulf Coast that up to 20 inches are possible through Friday.

In Louisiana, flash floods will be possible through Thursday morning, but the rain is forecast to linger for days.

“We’re going to be in a wet weather pattern well into next week,” said meteorologist Christopher Brannan at the National Weather Service. He said Nicholas, now a tropical depression, will likely stall over southwest Louisiana while it dissipates into a remnant low pressure system.

The storm was forecast to dump as much as 6 inches of rain from southeast Louisiana into the Florida panhandle through Friday, with 10 inches possible in isolated areas.

Gov. John Bel Edwards warned people to take Nicholas seriously, even though it was no longer a hurricane.

“This is a very serious storm, particularly in those areas that were so heavily impacted by Hurricane Ida,” Edwards said Tuesday.

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