Despite predictions that much of the region could be at risk for flooding from Hurricane Nicholas, Fort Bend County officials awoke Tuesday morning to find the worst effects so far were widespread power outages.
More than 450,000 customers across the Houston region had power outages as of about 9:15 a.m., according to Centerpoint Energy’s outage tracker. While strong gusts of wind throughout the night knocked out power across the region, the county’s ditches, bayous and rivers largely didn’t rise much, according to Fort Bend County officials.
“Thank God, we could give this good report this morning,” County Judge KP George said Tuesday morning at a press conference. “And thank you to the residents who stayed back and did not create chaos on the roadways.”
Nicholas made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane just after 1 a.m. Tuesday in Matagorda County. The storm then continued to inch along the Texas coast, largely bringing with it strong wind gusts and steady rain.
Residents in Fort Bend County awoke Tuesday morning to leaves and other foliage scattered across the roadways, and many had lost power, according to the outage tracker. Wind gusts of 51 mph were reported near Sugar Land, according to Space City Weather.
“We are blessed it didn’t hit as hard as we thought,” Sheriff Eric Fagan said.
County officials on Tuesday declined to give a specific number for how many residents were still without power, arguing it was a fluctuating number, and they hoped power would be restored to most residents sooner rather than later.
Both Stafford MSD and Fort Bend ISD didn’t hold classes Tuesday, because they closed ahead of time amid reports that Nicholas could bring flooding to the region through Tuesday and into Wednesday.
Some forecasts called for between 8 and 16 inches of rain in total, with maximum amounts of 20 inches in some places.
But the rain was not as severe as predicted, and local creeks, streams and bayous handled the flow well, according to the Fort Bend County Drainage District. Forecasters now predict another inch of rain to fall through the rest of the week – an amount the creeks should be capable of handling, according to the district.