WASHINGTON - People living along the Texas-Mexico border are now bracing for a hurricane, as Tropical Storm Dolly strengthened to a Category 1 Tuesday afternoon.
Dolly was upgraded to a hurricane once winds sustained near 75 mph. Storm warnings have already been posted and the governor has already activated the National Guard.
So far, Dolly has battered parts of the Yucatan Peninsula with heavy rains and strong winds. Now the storm has its sights set on the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
The hurricane is expected to make landfall early Wednesday morning, bringing with it 10 to 20 inches of rain. Mexico officials are prepared to evacuate 23,000 residents as a result, and many Texans will follow them.
"We will have widespread power outages, we will have flooding, we will have sewer problems, if we get, IF we get that many inches of rain that's being predicted right now," Texas resident Johnny Cavazos said.
The national weather service posted warnings in Texas from Brownsville to as far north as Port O'Connor, with a storm surge of 4 to 6-feet above normal.
Residents are being warned to have a plan and be prepared - and some have done just that.
"We've been ready, mostly I think the water, and having gasoline, are very important, everyone should do that as soon as possible," another Texas resident said.
Hardware stores say they'll stay open for business as long as they can.
"The last one we had, we were here with our plywood, there was a long line people were coming at the last minute, we had plenty of plywood, but eventually we've got to close the store and board it up just like any body else," store manager Fred Ballenger said.
Tourists who've been soaking up the sun on the beaches are packing it up.
"The plan was to be here for a month. We were looking at the weather and thought, 'No sense in staying and risking it,'" one tourist said.
Anticipating strong winds of at least 74 miles an hour, local officials are asking residents to collect outdoor belongings that could turn into deadly weapons.
"Taking up all of the trash cans, for example. The idea right now is try to get rid of as many projectiles," said one resident.
When Hurricane Rita hit Texas nearly three years ago, more people died in accidents trying to evacuate than were killed by the severe weather.
Texas is trying to prevent that from happening this time around with Dolly, trying to send a strong message that it's better safe than sorry.
One Texan said, "I guess it could blow away, but no sense in chancing it."