Tropical Storm Harold strikes South Texas, brings rain to drought-stricken region

Tropical Storm Harold made landfall in far south Texas on Tuesday morning, dumping heavy rains on a region that has dealt with a lengthy drought.

The fast-moving storm was expected to produce 2 to 4 inches of rain across much of South Texas, with some areas seeing up to 6 inches. The storm’s maximum sustained winds were measured at 45 mph on Tuesday afternoon as it continued to weaken over land.

“This is not a minor event, but not a major event for the area,” National Hurricane Center forecaster John Cangialosi said. “It is moving quickly, so it’s not going to produce copious amounts of rainfall and flooding, and there are going to be gusty winds, but we’re not going to see hurricane force winds.”

The NHC predicted that Harold would weaken into a tropical depression by the end of Tuesday. The storm made landfall near South Padre Island around 10 a.m. Though it formed in the warm Gulf of Mexico, it was not over water long enough to strengthen further.

The two largest American cities in the storm’s path, Corpus Christi and Laredo, have been dealing with lengthy droughts — Laredo for more than two years.

“We’ve been very dry down here in South Texas and this [rain] will be beneficial,” said Joshua Schroeder, a local meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Because it is relatively small, moving fast and does not pack damaging winds, Harold was not expected to cause massive damage in South Texas. However, an estimated 11,000 customers in Corpus Christi lost power on Tuesday shortly after the storm reached land, and residents of smaller cities in the area also lost electricity after the storm made landfall.

With News Wire Services