As rain fell throughout Monday, county residents and city employees were out preparing for a night of heavy rain and hoping to mitigate flooding from Tropical Storm Nicholas.

“I’m taking all the precautions that need to be done,” Texas City resident Tamika Pinesette said as she loaded her car after shopping at H-E-B.

Pinesette was just one of many shoppers filling the parking lots of grocery stores around the county in anticipation of the storm ahead. Rains from Nicholas already had begun Monday morning and were expected to worsen throughout the evening, according to the National Weather Service. Five to 10 inches of rain were predicted in the area, with some spots expected to receive close to 20 inches. A flash flood watch was issued for the county.

In the northern part of the county, where flooding was particularly devastating after Hurricane Harvey in 2017, city officials were concerned most with flash flooding, street flooding and power outages.

League City, Dickinson and Friendswood were the worst-flooded areas in the county during Harvey. Since then, those cities have carried out numerous projects designed to improve drainage systems and minimize flooding.

Nicholas would be a chance to evaluate how those improvements will hold up against a new storm, League City Mayor Pat Hallisey said.

“In some areas, we’re going to do great,” Hallisey said. “In some areas, we’re going to have some flooding.”

PREPARING FOR THE STORM

To prepare for the forecasted floods, city employees throughout Galveston County worked over the weekend and into Monday to clear ditches and remove debris that could become hazardous during the storm.

“Over the weekend, we’ve been trying to prepare our drainage systems,” La Marque Mayor Keith Bell said.

In addition to clearing out drainage ditches, La Marque’s non-emergency offices closed early Monday, allowing administrative personnel to go home.

“We’re going to keep our essential personnel and allow our nonessential personnel to go home and prepare for the storm,” Bell said.

In Texas City, public works personnel had been put on standby Monday morning, Mayor Dedrick Johnson said. The city already had some power outages Monday morning that needed to be addressed, he said.

In Friendswood, the office of emergency management on Monday was monitoring the storm, spokeswoman Glenda Faulkner said. Friendswood police, emergency management services and the fire department also had increased staff in the event of an emergency, she said.

RESIDENTS PREPARE IN ADVANCE

As city officials braced for the storm, county residents did the same.

For Texas City resident Kim Hamilton, preparing meant clearing her yard and going to the grocery store. Although the storm would most likely bring a lot of rain to the area, Hamilton wasn’t expecting things to get too bad, she said.

“I don’t think it’s going to be major,” she said.

Jay Felix, another resident of Texas City, also was unconcerned about Nicholas.

“Basically, we put it in God’s hands,” he said outside the H-E-B in Texas City where he was doing his regular weekly grocery shopping.

Several residents expressed similar sentiments that the storm was out of their hands.

“You can’t stop Mother Nature from its course,” Carlos Cortez of Texas City said outside the La Marque Walmart.

None of the residents interviewed expressed concerns the storm would bring Harvey-level floods.

“I’m not expecting extreme flooding,” La Porte resident Devonte Matthews said outside Walmart.

STAYING SAFE

Officials in the area were encouraging residents to move any loose items inside and clear away debris to keep the drainage systems clear.

They also were encouraging residents to stay home if possible.

“I think the best advice is to hunker down and take care of one another and make sure your neighbors are fine,” Hallisey said.

Hunkering down and waiting out the storm was how Pinesette planned to spend the next few days.

“Hopefully, everyone will be OK,” she said.

Emma Collins: 409-683-5230; emma.collins@galvnews.com.

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