Drought-stricken Section of US Welcomes Advance of Tropical Storm Don

Posted July 29th, 2011 at 11:15 am (UTC-5)
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A drought-stricken section of the southwestern United States is welcoming the advance of Tropical Storm Don, hoping that its drenching rains will cover parched lands.

The storm, packing winds of 80 kilometers an hour, is centered in the Gulf of Mexico, about 400 kilometers southeast of the city of Corpus Christi, Texas. Forecasters say Don could strengthen slightly — but not hit devastating hurricane strength — before it hits the Texas shoreline late Friday or early Saturday.

Normally, U.S. officials worry about the vast damage that can be caused by summer tropical storms, and more powerful hurricanes that pack winds of 120 kilometers an hour or more.

But this time, Texas officials say they are looking for Don to produce much-needed rain, which forecasters say could total 13 centimeters or more. That could alleviate water rationing regulations, and provide water for parched lawns and drought-rutted farmlands. The officials say they do not expect to have to order residents near the Gulf of Mexico shoreline to evacuate.

Texas has had months of drought and parts of the state have an annual rain shortage of about 38 centimeters.