WASHINGTON - Hurricane Nicholas officially made landfall early Tuesday morning along the southeastern coast of Texas.
The National Hurricane Center says Nicholas made landfall shortly after midnight local time (0530 GMT) on the eastern part of Texas' Matagorda Peninsula shortly after midnight local time (0530 GMT) about 15 kilometers west-southwest of Sargent Beach.
The storm is carrying maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers an hour, making it a Category 1 storm on the five-level scale that measures a storm's maximum sustained wind speed and destructive potential. It is the sixth named hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
Nicholas had already begun to produce heavy rains and strong winds along parts of Texas and neighboring Louisiana before making landfall. Forecasters expect the hurricane to travel along a northeastern path outside of the city of Houston before moving into Louisiana during the day.
Forecasters have issued hurricane watches and warnings and storm surge warnings for several communities along the Texas coast, with the likelihood of life-threatening situations such as flash flooding. Nicholas is expected to produce between 15 and 30 centimeters of rain along the region into Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Center also says there is a chance of "a tornado or two" along the upper Texas and southwest Louisiana coast through Tuesday morning.
The flood-prone city of Houston was swamped by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which dropped 152 centimeters of rain (60 inches) on the city over four days.
"Listen to local weather alerts and heed local advisories about the right and safe thing to do, and you'll make it through this storm just like you've had many other storms," Texas Governor Greg Abbott said during a news conference in Houston Monday.
Forecasters say Nicholas is likely to gradually weaken over the next two or three days.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press.