Wharton County’s weather forecast went from dripping to drenching Thursday as Tropical Storm Hanna formed in the Gulf, less than 48 hours from an anticipated landfall near Corpus Christi today.
“We’re going to be alright,” Wharton County Emergency Management Coordinator Andy Kirkland said Friday morning as the outer rain bands of the small storm began to make their away ashore. “Every hour, the storm is going a little further south.”
Once ashore, Hanna is expected to curve south heading to Mexico where it will fizzle out.
“Wharton County’s biggest threat should be heavy rain (two to four inches) with some gusty winds (under 30 mph) in squalls,” Kirkland said, but added residents should not ignore basic tropical storm preparations. “Remember, a small change in the track of the storm could increase wind speeds and rainfall totals.”
The training effects of rain bands could also cause higher totals in isolated areas.
“It looks like the severe weather will be south of Victoria,” he said. “It looks like we dodged one.”
Along the southern Texas Gulf Coast, winds were anticipated to be near 45 mph with higher gusts right in the landfall area. Bands of rain there will drop four to eight inches, according to National Weather Service prognosticators.
Isolated areas could see as much as 12 inches of rain from the storm.
Local emergency management officials are watching a second tropical system approaching the Gulf as well.
Tropical Storm Gonzalo is still too far out to forecast its landfall, but with high pressure systems over California and the East Coast, the storm should slide toward the Gulf Coast region.
Currently, it’s expected to pass south of the Dominican Republic before making its way into the Gulf in 10 to 14 days.
The appearance of the two storms is a not-too-subtle reminder that hurricane season hasn’t been put on hold as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
NWS officials urge residents to review emergency plans and keep cellular phones charged.
The Leader-News will be bringing you a Hurricane survival guide next Wednesday.
Although hurricane season actually started June 1, the Texas Gulf Coast is not typically threatened until late July through October.
The special section coincides with the start of the historically most active period providing information from preparation tips to suggested courses of action should a storm hit.