Tropical Storm Don Weakens As It Comes Ashore in Texas

Posted July 30th, 2011 at 12:05 am (UTC-5)
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Tropical Storm Don made landfall in the southern U.S. state of Texas late Friday, but weakened substantially, crushing its chances of bringing much rain to the drought-stricken area.

Don weakened to a tropical depression as it came ashore near Baffin Bay, about 150 kilometers north of the Mexican border. The National Hurricane Center in Miami canceled its tropical storm warning for the Texas coast.

The center said Don is forecast to dissipate in a day or so as it moves inland. The storm's winds had decreased to about 55 kilometers per hour by late Friday, and it was expected to dump just 2.5 to 5 centimeters of rain along its path, with a maximum of less than 8 centimeters in isolated areas. The region had been expecting considerable rain to alleviate an ongoing drought.

Storm warnings had been posted from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Port O'Connor as the weather system swirled in the Gulf of Mexico, moving toward the west-northwest.

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

But this time, Texas officials say they were looking for Don to produce much-needed rain. Forecasters had expected the system could produce up to 15 centimeters of rain in some areas. That could have alleviated water rationing regulations, and provided water for parched lawns and drought-rutted farmlands.

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