Tropical storm Don churned across the Gulf of Mexico toward drought-stricken Texas Friday, carrying welcome rain for the agriculture-heavy southwestern's state's ranchers and farmers.

Officials at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Don is expected to produce rainfall of between three and five inches (7.62 to 12.7 centimeters) in south Texas and northeastern Mexico, with rain amounts totaling up to seven inches (18 centimeters) in some areas.

At 0900 GMT, the storm was located about 290 miles (470 kilometers) southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, and was moving in a west-northwesterly direction at around 14 miles (22 kilometers) per hour, with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles (85 kilometers) per hour.

It was expected to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday.

Don, the fourth tropical storm in the Atlantic this season, is the second to cross the Gulf of Mexico after Arlene hit east and central Mexico in June.

The Atlantic hurricane season spans six months from June to November, with the highest number of storms taking place in September and October.

Officials predicted large and damaging waves from Don, with ocean levels expected to be as much as two feet (61 centimeters) above ground level.