Tropical Storm Nicholas continued its eastward path out of the Houston area throughout Tuesday, leaving most of interior Harris County relatively dry, but still struggling with widespread power outages and scattered debris.
While the more southeastern reaches of Harris County saw significant amounts of rain and a healthy storm surge Tuesday morning, it was stronger-than-expected winds from Nicholas that left hundreds of thousands of county residents behind. no power until late afternoon.
After reaching a peak of more than 450,000 power outages in the greater Houston area Tuesday morning, CenterPoint Energy reported that it had restored power to more than 200,000 customers since 8 a.m., leaving approximately 270,000 without power just after 1 pm. Houston area residents still without power were down to 182,822.
To help locals without power who need to charge their cell phones and other devices to stay in touch with family and friends, the city of Houston opened eight separate pop-up charging stations throughout the city, which will remain open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. pm Tuesday. While all the cargo centers are equipped with restrooms and air conditioning, the city insisted they were not shelters for overnight stays or extended periods.
City-run charging stations are located at the following local community centers:
- Sunnyside Multiple Service Center, 9314 Cullen Blvd.
- Acres Homes Multiple Service Center, 6719 W. Montgomery Rd.
- Southwest Multiple Service Center, 6400 High Star Dr.
- West End Multiple Service Center, 170 Heights Blvd.
- Freed Community Center, 6818 Shadyvilla Ln.
- Edgewood Community Center, 5803 Bellfort Ave.
- Marian Park Community Center, 11101 S. Gessner Rd.
- Tuffly Community Center, 3200 Russell St.
The City of Houston Office of Emergency Management also announced that it expects all city services to resume normal operations on Wednesday. Earlier Tuesday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that includes the Houston Department of Health’s coronavirus testing and vaccination centers, which had been closed Tuesday because of Nicholas.
Harris County Public Health announced Tuesday that its own COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites will reopen Wednesday. But that wasn’t the only good news provided by the county health department; The Harris County Department of Public Health also shared the news Tuesday that Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo had approved a two-week extension of the county’s $ 100 gift card incentive for residents get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Originally scheduled to end on August 31, the program was extended by the Commissioners Court until September 14 and will now run until the end of September. Any Harris County resident who receives their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine anywhere in Harris County between now and September 30 you can fill out a short online form on the county website to find out if they are eligible for a $ 100 virtual gift card valid everywhere credit cards are accepted.
Local schools that closed Tuesday before Nicholas were still in the process of determining whether and when they would open again late Tuesday afternoon. Houston ISD announced around 4:15 pm that all schools, district buildings, and campuses would be open as usual on Wednesday. Fort Bend ISD had not decided on official reopening plans as of 3:42 pm Tuesday; FBISD cited power outages on local campuses and throughout the region as part of why they had not yet formally announced plans for Wednesday.
In an update published the previous Tuesday, the Crisis Management Team at Rice University wrote that the campus was likely to reopen entirely on Wednesday. “At this point, we expect virtually everything on campus, including classroom instruction, to return to normal operations tomorrow. But in the meantime, stay safe as the debris from this storm passes through the Houston area, ”the ad read. Houston Community College announced that all of its campuses will be open for normal operations on Wednesday, while the University of Houston said an official decision would be made at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
In some hopeful news, Eric Berger from Space City Weather wrote that he has seen “pretty strong indications in the models of a decently strong downturn front that will move into the region in nine to ten days.”
“That’s a long way to go to forecast, so a grain of salt and all that, but it’s the right time of year for a front,” he continued. “So maybe hopefully fall is only 10 days away. I’m ready.”
It is certainly not alone there.