Tropical Storm Nicholas outages

About 15,000 customers still lacked power in Matagorda County about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Tropical Storm Nicholas, which briefly became a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall near Sargent, left most of Matagorda County without power Tuesday morning.

More than 17,500 outages were reported in the county as of 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to PowerOutage.us, a website that tracks power outages. The website also reported more than 36,000 outages in Wharton County.

Mitch Thames, Matagorda County’s spokesperson, said Tuesday morning that all of Bay City remained without power and 90% of Palacios lacked power, as well.

Three major transmission lines west of Bay City went down during the storm, Thames said.

As of 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, a little more than 8,000 Matagorda County customers still lacked power, according to PowerOutage.us.

“What we’re being told is they are going to have to be restrung — not so much repaired but actually restrung,” he said. “That means a little bit longer time frame.”

Some homes lost their roofs due to the storm, Thames said, and the hospitals in Bay City and Palacios were both operating on backup generators. County officials talked to American Red Cross officials to see whether emergency shelters could be opened.

Areas near the coast, including Sargent, saw 5 to 8 inches of rain during the storm, while areas farther inland saw 2 to 4 inches of rain.

It initially appeared that Nicholas was headed toward Port Lavaca, but the storm veered eastward before it made landfall in Matagorda County. At its top strength, 75 mile-per-hour winds were reported in Matagorda Bay, according to the National Weather Service.

Calhoun County was able to avoid the worst of the damage. Jody Weaver, Port Lavaca’s city manager, said about 650 outages were reported as of Monday evening, but that number was down to 412 by 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The city saw little damage besides a few downed power poles and a couple of trees, Weaver said.

“Everything should be restored by the end of the day,” she said.

Magnolia Beach and Indianola Beach saw high winds and some storm surge. Misty Waffle, president of the Magnolia Beach VFD Auxiliary, said she heard reports of 69 mph winds and said the sheet metal roof was ripped off her chicken coop.

The Indianola Fishing Marina said in a Facebook post that it will be closed for two days as it recovers from the storm.

Wharton County avoided the heavy rainfall that the storm brought to the coast but still saw some damage, said Andy Kirkland, the county’s emergency management coordinator.

In Newgulf, a fallen tree crushed a car and damaged a home, Kirkland said.

“We didn’t see much rain,” Kirkland said. “The farther from the coast, the smaller the amounts were.”

Nicholas weakened Tuesday as it headed to the northeast toward Louisiana, which is still recovering from Hurricane Ida.

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Mark Rosenberg reports on local, regional and breaking news for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. He can be reached at mrosenberg@vicad.com or 361-574-1264 or on Twitter at @markrosenberg32. To support local journalism at the Advocate through Report for America, go to VictoriaAdvocate.com/report.

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