Tropical Storm Nicholas could dump up to 10 inches of rain in Baton Rouge, creating the potential for "life-threatening" flooding, forecasters say.
Nicholas, which was downgraded from a hurricane overnight, made landfall in Texas early this morning and is expected to become a tropical depression as it moves over Louisiana Wednesday.
The National Weather Service New Orleans issued a flash flood watch in effect from 7 a.m. this morning through early Thursday for southeast Louisiana, including for these Baton Rouge-area parishes:
- East Baton Rouge
- East Feliciana
- West Baton Rouge
- West Feliciana
For a complete list of flood watch warnings in southern Louisiana, click here.
North of the Interstate 10-Interstate 12 corridor, widespread rainfall of 4-6 inches is expected with isolated higher amounts, the NWS said. Along and south of the I-10/I-12 corridor, 5-10 inches is expected with isolated higher amounts.
Very heavy rainfall is expected over short periods of time. This could lead to drainage problems — especially with leftover debris from Hurricane Ida.
As Tropical Storm Nicholas continues to move NNE we will see heavy rainfall arrive through today, with the heaviest expected from now into Wednesday evening. A Flash Flood Watch is in effect for the potential of flooding as we see the heavy rain move into the area. #LAwx #MSwx pic.twitter.com/p0Q2cSYlNT— NWS New Orleans (@NWSNewOrleans) September 14, 2021
Gov. John Bel Edwards urged Louisiana residents to take the storm seriously.
Forecasters are more concerned about flooding in streets than rivers in the Baton Rouge metro area, Mike Efferson, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service Slidell office, told The Advocate.
Any flooding that does occur in the region's waterways should be relatively minor because the Comite and Amite rivers were fairly low to start, he explained. But the projected rainfall totals for some areas are impressive — and could get worse if the storm slows down.
On Monday night alone, the Gardere area saw about 5 inches of rain, Efferson said. Some serious flash flooding could occur if that much water inundates other neighborhoods with backed-up drains.
However, forecasts predict the heaviest rain south of Interstate 10, which means the Comite and Amite should be spared the worst impacts — if those models hold, he said.
Efferson said the biggest concern is Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
Beyond that, he expects conditions to start improving with Nicholas moving out of the area sometime Thursday.
Find information on where to find sandbags in Baton Rouge here.
The NWS reminds drivers to avoid flooded roadways. Most drowning deaths occur inside vehicles. Turn around, don't drown.
Keep up with road closures in Baton Rouge here.
Reporter Lea Skene contributed to this report.