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September 14, 2021


United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 0030 local time (0530 UTC) on 14 September 2021, Hurricane Nicholas made landfall as a Category 1 storm on the eastern portion of the Matagorda Peninsula in southeastern Texas, located about 70 mi (110 km) south of the city of Houston. Nicholas, which had gained hurricane strength just hours before coming ashore, has weakened into a tropical storm and is affecting the Houston metropolitan area.

Local officials have deployed high-water rescue vehicles throughout Houston and have set up barricades in more than 40 flood-prone locations. Significant power outages are being reported in the metropolitan area, with more than 409,000 customers in southeastern Texas without electricity. Both major airports in Houston — George Bush Intercontinental Airport (KIAH/IAH) and William P. Hobby Airport (KHOU/HOU) — are experiencing significant flight cancellations. As of last report, more than 330 flights scheduled to operate through the two airports on 14 September have been canceled. Further cancellations and delays are anticipated as the storm moves through the metropolitan area. Thus far, there have been no reports of storm-related injuries and deaths.

As of 0700 local time, Tropical Storm Nicholas was located about 15 miles south-southwest of Houston, and about 90 miles west-southwest of the city of Beaumont. At that time, the storm was moving in a north-northeastern direction at a speed of 8 mph (13 kph) and had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, with higher gusts. On its current forecast path, Nicholas will move in a relatively slower speed in a northeastern direction later in the day. The storm is anticipated to shift east toward Louisiana by the following day, as Nicholas weakens to a tropical depression.

Nicholas is forecast to produce an additional 5-10 in (125-250 mm) of rain from the upper coastal areas of Texas into central and southern Louisiana, as well as in far-southern Mississippi and far-southern Alabama. Isolated maximums of up to 20 inches are possible across central and southern Louisiana. Hazardous flash floods are likely across these regions, especially in urban centers. Additionally, tornadoes are possible in the upper Texas coast and southern Louisiana through the nighttime hours of 14 September.

A Storm Surge Warning is currently in effect from San Luis Pass to Sabine Pass, including Galveston Bay. Meanwhile, a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from San Luis Pass to the Louisiana town of Cameron. A Storm Surge Watch is in effect from Sabine Pass to Louisiana’s Rutherford Beach.


China (Security threat level – 3): As of 1700 local time (0900 UTC) on 14 September 2021, Typhoon Chanthu was located approximately 270 km (170 mi) east of Shanghai and was moving southeast at 13 kph (8 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Chanthu was generating maximum sustained winds of 83 kph, with gusts of up to 102 kph. On its current forecast path, the storm is expected to continue on its southeastern path before shifting northeast by 15 September and transiting the Korea Strait during 16-17 September, where it is expected to weaken.

In Shanghai, transportation services have mostly resumed, including operations at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (ZSPD/PVG) and Shanghai Hongqiao Airport (ZSSS/SHA. Chanthu generated strong winds and heavy rainfall, but there have been no reports of storm-related casualties or damage. Authorities previously suspended transportation and evacuated approximately 100,000 residents.

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): On 14 September 2021, the chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority announced that the coronavirus-related nightly curfew in Metro Manila will be reduced by two hours beginning on 16 September. The curfew — currently in effect from 2000 to 0400 local time (1200-2000 UTC) — will be enforced from 2200 to 0400 local time. A new five-tier COVID-19 alert system designed to impose localized lockdowns will launch the same day, placing the capital region under the second-highest Alert Level 4 during a trial run until 30 September. Outdoor dining will be allowed at 30% capacity, whereas indoor dining will be allowed only for fully vaccinated individuals at 10% capacity. Additionally, outdoor personal care services and religious gatherings will be allowed at 30% capacity, while indoor services and gatherings will be allowed only for fully vaccinated individuals at 10% capacity. Detailed information, with guidelines on the implementation of the new COVID-19 alert system, as outlined by the Philippine government is available here.


New Zealand (Security threat level – 1): On 13 September 2021, authorities extended an existing coronavirus-related Alert Level 4 — the highest-level alert — in the city of Auckland until 21 September. Under the restrictions, residents may only leave their homes to buy essential goods, receive medical care, exercise in their neighborhood, or get a COVID-19 test. Additionally, all gatherings are banned, and nonessential businesses are required to remain closed. Additional details are available here.


Panama (Security threat level – 3): On 13 September 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Panama City issued an alert regarding changes to coronavirus-related entry requirements, which reads in part as follows: “The Government of Panama has recently published a new list of 20 countries designated as ‘high-risk’ for COVID-19, which will go into effect September 16. The list includes the United States, parts of Central and South America, and other countries. The full list is available at the Ministry of Tourism webpage.

“Unvaccinated Travelers

“Panama’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) requires travelers who cannot show proof of full vaccination and have visited or transited through a high-risk country within 15 days prior to arrival:

  • To present a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) result taken within the 72 hours prior to arrival, or to take a test upon arrival. Travelers are responsible for testing costs.
  • If the results are negative, the traveler will be required to quarantine for three days. Residents and nationals may quarantine at home while unvaccinated foreign travelers must stay at an authorized quarantine hotel for three days upon arrival, at their own expense. The traveler will also be required to take second test at the end of the three-day quarantine. The list of authorized hotels can be found here ; unvaccinated, non-resident travelers are encouraged to make a reservation in advance at a preferred hotel. If the results are positive, the traveler will be placed under a mandatory 14-day quarantine in a Hotel Hospital designated by the Ministry of Health. The cost of the stay must be fully covered by the traveler.

“Each adult traveler entering Panama must complete and sign an electronic sworn affidavit prior to check-in. Testing information can be uploaded and attached to this affidavit. See the Ministry of Tourism webpage for more information about current entry requirements.

“Vaccinated Travelers

“Travelers to Panama from high-risk countries, including the United States, are not required to take a COVID-19 test to enter Panama, nor observe quarantine if they present proof (digitally or physically, from the WHO, FDA, or EMA), of being fully vaccinated.

“Each adult traveler entering Panama must complete and sign an electronic sworn affidavit prior to check-in. Vaccine information can be uploaded and attached to this affidavit. See the Ministry of Tourism webpage for more information about current entry requirements.”

Additional details are available here.