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Port Houston and ship channel remain closed in Hurricane Nicholas’ aftermath

Storm drenches Texas coast, moving north toward Louisiana

Due to the continued effects of Hurricane Nicholas and widespread power outages, all Port Houston terminals will remain closed Tuesday. (Photo: Port Houston)

Port Houston remains closed as the Texas Gulf Coast continues to feel the impact of Tropical Storm Nicholas, which has been pounding the area with high winds, rain and flooding over the last 24 hours.

The storm made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane in Texas early Tuesday morning, bringing winds of 60 mph and up to 12 inches of rainfall. 

“Due to the continued effects of Hurricane Nicholas and widespread power outages, all Port Houston terminals will remain closed Tuesday. This includes the Turning Basin, Barbours Cut, and Bayport Container terminals. Vessel operations will resume at 7 p.m. Tuesday and we expect to resume normal operations Wednesday,” officials said on the port’s website.  

The port, a 25-mile-long complex of nearly 200 private and public industrial terminals along the 52-mile-long manmade Houston Ship Channel, has been closed since 3 p.m. Monday in anticipation of the storm making landfall.

“The Houston Ship Channel remains closed Tuesday to all traffic,” Henry De la Garza, a spokesman for the Houston Pilots, the agency of captains who steer ships through the waterway, told FreightWaves.

The channel was also closed Monday in anticipation of Tropical Storm Nicholas.

The storm intensified to a hurricane, but as it moved over the Houston metropolitan area Tuesday morning, it was downgraded to a tropical storm. Still, it continues to produce high winds and flash floods, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Rain from Tropical Storm Nicholas has already begun flooding streets in New Orleans. The storm could drop as much as 10 inches of rain on the New Orleans area through Friday, hurricane forecasters said.

The Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) continues to operate and officials said they are monitoring the weather.

“We are open today [Tuesday] and fully operational at Port NOLA. We are monitoring the storm, but as of now we are just getting a little bit of rain,” Jessica Ragusa, Port NOLA spokeswoman, said.

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Noi Mahoney

Noi Mahoney is a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in English in 1998. Mahoney has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working for newspapers in Maryland and Texas. Contact [email protected]