Tropical storm lingers in southern US

Nicholas is forecast to dissipate on Friday over Louisiana, which was previously smashed by Ida.
Nicholas is forecast to dissipate on Friday over Louisiana, which was previously smashed by Ida.

Tropical Depression Nicholas has hovered over Louisiana, raining on a region struggling to recover from Hurricane Ida and deluging coastal Mississippi, Alabama and northwest Florida.

Flash flood warnings were in effect on Wednesday evening in parts of south Alabama and northwest Florida. And the National Weather Service said heavy rains were likely to last until Nicholas dissipates over Louisiana on Friday.

In Louisiana, the rainfall complicated an already difficult recovery at homes ripped open by Ida on August 29. Thousands remain without power in Texas and Louisiana.

Nicholas was centred Wednesday afternoon about 125 kilometres south of Alexandria, Louisiana, creeping eastward at 4km/h. It was forecast to dump as much as 15 centimetres of rain from southeast Louisiana into the Florida Panhandle through Friday, with 25cm possible in isolated areas.

"Life-threatening flash flooding impacts, especially in urban areas, remain a possibility in these areas," forecasters said.

The weather service said as much as 13cm had fallen in Alabama's Baldwin County and in northwest Florida as of Wednesday afternoon.

Nicholas dumped as much as 25cm on parts of Texas after making landfall as a category one hurricane, the 14th named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

In Louisiana, the flash flood danger was expected to end Thursday, but the rain is forecast to linger for days.

More than 112,000 electricity customers were still without power on Wednesday morning in Texas, including 75,000 in the Houston area. At its peak, more than half a million homes and businesses were without power in Texas.

In Louisiana on Wednesday, 72,000 were still without power more than two weeks after Ida. Power had largely been restored in New Orleans, where the entire city had been blacked out by the storm.

Australian Associated Press