Hurricane Florence is smashing the East Coast with near 100-mph sustained winds and storm surges on the coasts of North Carolina and South Carolina. But as everybody looks east, Texans should also look south.


Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday morning issued a disaster declaration for 78 counties. A tropical disturbance barreling its way toward the Texas coast poses “a threat of imminent disaster, including severe flooding, widespread and severe property damage, and loss of life” in counties across South Texas. Abbott had already instructed several state agencies to prepare for the storm.


Heavy rainfall, floods and gusty winds are expected across portions of Texas on Friday and Saturday thanks to an atmospheric event in the Gulf of Mexico.


“Texans are urged to continue preparing for the tropical disturbance headed toward the Texas coast and expected to make landfall at the end of the week,” Abbott said in a prepared statement Thursday.


The flooding could occur in areas inundated by the much larger Hurricane Harvey last year. Abbott has made state resources available to assist local officials in their response efforts. State and partner agencies engaged in this effort include Texas Highway Patrol, Texas Department of Transportation and the American Red Cross.


Regardless of development, Texas should monitor the progress of this system, and pay attention to their local weather office, officials said. The Corpus Christi National Weather Service is expecting three to five inches of rain, with isolated areas receiving up to eight inches. A flash flood watch is in effect from South Texas and the Coastal Bend to the San Antonio area through Friday evening. It will likely be extended and expanded during the weekend. Tides on the coast will rise one to two feet above normal through Saturday, causing minor flooding of area beaches.


This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2018/09/14/hurricane-florence-bears-down-east-coast-texas-faces-its-own-floods/. The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.