Tropical Storm Nicholas threatens Texas coast

Tropical Storm Nicholas off the coastline of the US state of Texas at 13H40 UTC on September 13, 2021. ©AFP

Miami (AFP) - Tropical Storm Nicholas, which is tracking up the Texas coast, could strengthen before making landfall in the southern US state late Monday, the National Hurricane Center warned.

At 1800 GMT, the storm was located 70 miles (115 kilometers) from Port Aransas on the Gulf of Mexico.

Packing maximum winds of 60 miles per hour, Nicholas was forecast to bring "flash flooding, dangerous storm surge and gusty winds," the Miami-based NHC said.

"Nicholas could be near hurricane strength when it reaches the northwest Gulf coast," it added, with the storm's center due to move onshore on Monday evening.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott urged state residents to comply with warnings and directions from local authorities.

Sylvester Turner, the mayor of Houston, which was devastated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, tweeted "we are expecting heavy rain tonight and going into tomorrow.I would strongly encourage you to stay off the roads this evening."

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.

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