HAMSHIRE, Texas — Jefferson County officials are continuously watching and preparing for Hurricane Nicholas, which is forecasted to be a big rainmaker for Southeast Texas.
Officials said the storm is erratic and is one worth watching because of how quickly things may change. The primary threat from Nicholas is the heavy rainfall and potential flooding that could come with it, Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said.
The amount of rain Nicholas is forecasted to bring to the area could be anywhere from five to 10 inches and even more.
Members of the Hamshire-Fannett community are nervous as they remember what they went through during Harvey and Imelda.
Branick said Nicholas’ track puts Southeast Texas on the eastern dirty side of the storm, so the time to prepare for Nicholas is now. The storm is expected to hit Jefferson County late Monday night and early into Tuesday morning.
Branick is urging everyone to double-check ditches and drainage on their property before the heavy rain arrives. With most of Energy’s crews in Louisiana, Branick hopes that widespread outages can be avoided.
“I know that over the last 10 or 15 years, Entergy has worked hard on the resilience of their infrastructure and have tried to windproof those, because there were times when 20 to 30 mph winds could cause some problems,” Branick said.
Even though Branick believes areas affected by power outages will be okay, he said that Energy is most likely looking for additional contractors to help in Southeast Texas.
Branick hopes that Nicholas will do what is is currently forecasted to do and move quickly rather than stalling and potentially causing another Imelda-type flood for Southeast Texas.
Regardless of those hopes, Branick is advising the Jefferson County community to take precaution and stay safe during Nicholas. Branick is urging the community to take extra precaution when driving and try to avoid underpasses or other places that flood easily.
“I’d certainly advise that individuals exercise extreme caution especially during the dark,” Branick said. “Don't enter into underpasses or other areas unless they can see for certain that those aren't filled with water.”
City officials are urging people in low-lying areas like Sabine Pass to stay home Monday night, warning that with a 4-foot storm surge, even first responders may not be able to get to those areas.
Jefferson County has sand and bags available at each of its four precinct barns.