Friday, July 29, 2011

Tropical Storm Don Nearing the Coast of Texas

At of the 4pm CDT National Hurricane Center advisory, the center of Tropical Storm Don was located about 95 miles Southeast of Corpus Christi, TX.  This position is also about 105 miles Northeast of Brownsville, TX.  Maximum sustained winds were 50 mph, and the minimum central pressure was 29.65 inches of mercury.  Don continues to move toward the West/Northwest at 16 mph, and this motion is expected to continue through this evening.

Based on the present location and movement, the center of Don will move onshore along the Texas coast about 40 or so miles South of Corpus Christi later this evening (likely between 8 and 9pm based on the current speed of movement).  With that said, it is important not to focus on exactly when and where the center will make landfall.  It is important to remember that the tropical storm force winds associated with Don extend just over 100 miles from the center at various points, which means that stronger winds will overspread the lower Texas coast well before landfall of the center.  Steady winds of 45-55 mph with gusts of 60-65 mph can be expected along the lower coast to the South of Corpus Christi anytime after 6pm CDT this evening.

Heavier showers and thunderstorms are also making their way to shore along South Padre Island at this hour, as shown by the latest image from the Brownsville, TX radar below:

Isolated tornadoes will become a threat with some of the thunderstorms and squalls that move onshore this evening, particularly to the "right" of where the center of the storm makes landfall.  This would include the Corpus Christi area, where coverage of the activity may be more scattered in nature, but the intensity of that activity could be even stronger.  Tropically-induced tornadoes are typically relatively weak and short-lived, however this is another hazard to be considered along the lower to middle coastal bend this evening.

Very heavy rainfall can also be expected in association with Don through Saturday.  The axis of heaviest rain, on the order of 3-5 inches with locally higher amounts, is forecast to occur within the purple shaded areas on the image below:

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