Tropical Storm Nicholas Threatens Gulf Coast with Heavy Rain

HOUSTON (AP) — Tropical Storm Nicholas was strengthening just off the Gulf Coast and could make landfall in Texas as a hurricane Monday as it brings heavy rain and floods to coastal areas from Mexico to storm-battered Louisiana.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said top sustained winds reached 60 mph (95 kph). It was traveling north-northwest at 5 mph (7 kph) on a forecast track to pass near the South Texas coast later Monday, then move onshore along the coast of south or central Texas by Monday evening.

Several schools in the Houston and Galveston area were closed Monday because of the incoming storm.

Nicholas was centered roughly 40 miles (65 kilometers) southeast of the mouth of the Rio Grande River, and 210 miles (325 kilometers) south of Port O’Connor, Texas, as of Monday morning.

As of 7 a.m., the storm was “moving erratically” just offshore of the northeastern coast of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said.

A hurricane watch was issued from Port Aransas to Freeport, Texas. Much of the state’s coastline was under a tropical storm warning as the system was expected to bring heavy rain that could cause flash floods and urban flooding.