(Reuters) – Tropical Storm Harold swept toward the southern tip of Texas on Tuesday, where it threatened to bring damaging wind gusts and heavy downpours that could cause flash flooding and minor structural damage.
The storm, located 150 miles east-southeast of Port Mansfield, Texas, had winds of 45 miles per hour as it moved to the northwest at 18 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory at 5 a.m. EST.
The storm was expected to move inland across South Texas on Tuesday afternoon, producing 3 to 5 inches (7-12 cm) of rain in many parts of the area, the center said.
Harold placed some 1.3 million people in Deep South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley under a tropical storm warning.
“Remaining efforts to protect property should be completed as soon as possible. Prepare for limited wind damage,” the National Weather Service said in its forecast.
In anticipation of the storm, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the deployment of state emergency resources and an increase in the preparedness level of the state’s emergency operations center.
“I encourage Texans to remain weather aware and heed guidance from state and local officials and emergency management personnel as they work together to keep communities safe,” he said in a statement Monday evening.
The storm can cause flooding in poor drainage areas, minor coastal flooding and minor structural damage. It has the potential to cause scattered power and communications outages as well, the agency said.
Parts of northern Coahuila and Nuevo Leon in Mexico could also experience flash flooding and landslides, the agency said.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; editing by Chizu Nomiyama)