(The Center Square) – Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency for Tropical Storm Nicholas as Hurricane Ida recovery efforts continue throughout battered areas of Louisiana.
The storm developed in the Gulf of Mexico and is scheduled to make landfall Monday along the Texas coast. Heavy rains and flash flooding are expected to hit Louisiana in the coming days, the National Weather Service said.
Edwards warned the storm could disrupt power restoration and recovery work across Ida-affected parishes, where more than 130,000 residents and business remain without power since Aug. 29. More than $317 million in assistance has been disbursed to individuals for Ida recovery, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said.
Southwest Louisiana is at elevated risk, while the region still has not fully recovered from the damaging effects of Hurricane Laura more than one year ago.
“The most severe threat to Louisiana is in the southwest portion of the state, where recovery from Hurricane Laura and the May flooding is ongoing,” Edwards said. “However, it is also likely that all of south Louisiana will see heavy rain this week, including areas recently affected by Hurricane Ida.”
The state’s congressional delegation has made numerous appeals to the Biden administration for Hurricane Laura supplement aid. Only recently did President Joe Biden initiate the process, though Laura and Ida recovery funding is now tied to either a congressional "continuing resolution" spending bill, or the controversial $3.5 trillion reconciliation budget proposal offered by House Democrats.
The National Weather Service’s Lake Charles branch is issuing Tropical Storm Nicholas updates, which Edwards is promoting on social media.
“Remember when looking at the track and cone of Tropical Storm Nicholas the impacts can and usually do occur outside the cone. Therefore, significant impacts, especially the potential for flooding rain is still expected for southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana,” a Monday morning Twitter post read.
The National Weather Service’s Shreveport and New Orleans branches also are issuing important updates.
The state Emergency Operations Center and the governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness are coordinating public information and storm recovery with FEMA and local parish offices of emergency preparedness.
Edwards’ emergency declaration is an administrative step that authorizes the use of state resources to aid in storm responses. It's the second in two weeks.
The declaration order cites the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act as the basis for the governor’s emergency powers. Specific authorizations include a prohibition against unreasonably high prices of goods and services in designated areas, and a suspension of government vendor procurement rules.
“I encourage anyone who has had recent damage from Ida, Laura or other disasters to take necessary measures to protect their home or business from additional harm. All Louisianans should pay close attention to this tropical system in the coming days,” Edwards said.