With Tropical Storm Nicholas bearing down on Texas, Corpus Christi Fire Department Capt. Joshua Brunemeier said they’re prepared for the worst.
“You don’t really know what you’re going to get until it hits. We pray for the best but prepare for the worst,” Brunemeier told Coffee or Die Magazine shortly after dawn on Monday.
So far they’ve battened down the station house — it squats three blocks west of Corpus Christi Bay — in anticipation of up to 7 inches of rain.
Brunemeier’s crews drew one of the toughest missions for first responders: splashing their rescue boats through rising waters to save the lives of trapped residents.
He’s got reinforcements for Nicholas — a Texas emergency task force pre-positioned a boat crew there in case there’s flooding.
Now they’ve got to wait to see just how strong Nicholas punches.
Here are the early Monday morning Key Messages for Tropical Storm #Nicholas. The latest NHC forecast is at https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB and your local weather prediction is at https://t.co/SiZo8ohZMN pic.twitter.com/BT8LRgFnf3
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 13, 2021
On Monday morning, the storm erratically skittered just offshore Mexico’s northeastern coast, about 30 nautical miles east of the mouth of the Rio Grande River, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Packing sustained 60 mph winds, Nicholas is expected to trigger flash flooding, a dangerous storm surge, a tornado or two, and gusty gales, with up to 20 inches of rain pelting portions of Texas.
US Air Force reconnaissance planes discovered Monday morning that Nicholas is strengthening. A hurricane watch remains in effect along the Texas coast, from Port Aransas to Freeport.
Forecasters warn Corpus Christi to expect a pounding storm surge and the potential for life-threatening rising waters moving inland over the next 36 hours.
Nicholas should veer eastward over the next three days, dousing east Texas and northern Louisiana before entering Mississippi by early Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
On Sunday, the US Coast Guard set port condition X-Ray in Corpus Christi.
That sparked an alert to the skippers of all commercial vessels and large oceangoing barges to begin leaving the port.
Pleasure craft operators should seek safe harbor. No boaters should attempt to enter the water.
Residents are urged to avoid beaches in anticipation of strong waves and deadly rip currents.