Rain from Tropical Storm Nicholas was expected to continue sweeping across Acadiana and southern Louisiana overnight Tuesday and through Wednesday.
Nicholas came ashore overnight in southeastern Texas and drifted slowly toward the east. Its eye wasn't expected to cross into Louisiana until Wednesday, but heavy rainbands pelted the Acadiana area throughout Tuesday.
Donald Jones, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles, said in a live briefing at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday the storm is expected to continue weakening and should downgrade from a tropical storm to a tropical depression Tuesday evening and will likely no longer be considered a tropical system by late Tuesday night.
Jones said the Lafayette area saw between 2 to 4 inches of rain by Tuesday afternoon, but benefitted from a break in the system that allowed some of the water to run off. Despite the reprieve, rains will continue overnight and residents should be mindful that the area is still at risk of flash flooding, he said.
As of Tuesday afternoon the bulk of Acadiana and southern Louisiana remained under a moderate risk for excessive rainfall. Jones said the area can expect between 5 and 10 inches of rain associated with the storm, with the potential for 20 inches in some areas where the heaviest rain bands will pass through, Jones said.
Several Louisiana parishes, including Vernon, Rapides, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Allen, Evangeline, St. Landry, Jefferson Davis, Acadia, Lafayette, St. Martin, Calcasieu, Vermilion, Iberia and St. Mary, are under a flash food watch until Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
Storms associated with Nicholas are expected to clear through Acadiana and southwest Louisiana by Wednesday afternoon, Jones said.
The Vermilion River at the Surrey Street gauge measured 9.83 ft. at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday. The river’s minor flood stage at Surrey Street is 10 ft. Projections from the U.S. Geological Survey made Tuesday morning have the river cresting at 12 ft. at 1 a.m. Wednesday.