July 30, 2011 in Nation/World

Don messes with Texas’ hope for rain

Christopher Sherman Associated Press
 

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas – In the end, Tropical Storm Don was little more than summer thunderstorms. Some scattered showers were expected to linger over parts of South Texas, but the area’s best hope for substantial rain in months collapsed on approach Friday evening, drizzling the area with less than an inch of rain and strong breezes.

Don was downgraded to a tropical depression as what remained of it came ashore in a sparsely populated area of ranch lands near Baffin Bay late Friday. The National Hurricane Center ended all tropical storm warnings along the Texas coast and said in its 10 p.m. advisory that Don was moving west-northwest across the coast at 14 mph.

The system’s maximum sustained winds were at 35 mph and Don was expected to dissipate as it moved inland today. In total, Don would drop 1 to 2 inches of rain along its path, with a maximum of 3 inches in isolated areas, the advisory said.

What was left of Don was little more than a weak low pressure system, said Lixion Avila, a senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center.

“It’s a very weak system,” Avila said.

Cotton growers who scrambled to harvest in recent days, but still left the bulk of their fluffy bolls in the field, could breathe a sigh of relief since National Weather Service stations in Corpus Christi and Brownsville said rainfall was about a 1/2 inch in most areas. For other farmers and ranchers, it will be back to watching the skies longingly for rain.

Almost all of Texas is in extreme drought.

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