Tropical Storm Nicholas, which is barreling towards Texas, could strengthen into a hurricane before dousing the coastline of the southern US state, the National Hurricane Center warned Monday.
At 0700 GMT, the storm was located 40 miles (65 kilometers) from the mouth of the Rio Grande, the river that marks the border between the United States and Mexico. Nicholas is expected to make landfall later Monday.
Packing maximum winds of 60 miles per hour, Nicholas “may produce areas of considerable flash and urban flooding, especially in highly urbanized metropolitan areas,” the Miami-based NHC said.
Texas governor Greg Abbott urged state residents to comply with warnings and directions from local authorities.
“We are expecting heavy rain tonight and going into tomorrow. I would strongly encourage you to stay off the roads this evening,” tweeted Sylvester Turner, the mayor of Houston, which was devastated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
The Lone Star State is no stranger to hurricanes, but scientists warn that climate change is making the storms more powerful, posing an increasing risk to coastal communities.
Coastlines are already victims of flooding, which has been amplified by rising sea levels.