Editor’s note: The following story includes the latest information from the National Weather Service – Corpus Christi (4 a.m. Friday, July 24) that was available prior to this edition going to press Friday morning. All breaking news will be posted on the Rockport Pilot’s Facebook page and website. Individuals are encouraged to ‘like” the Pilot’s Facebook page to be alerted to breaking news.
Aransas County Emergency Management Coordinator Rick McLester opened the Emergency Operations Center (virtually) and has been meeting with local officials since Wednesday evening preparing for what is now Tropical Storm Hanna.
From National Weather Service – Corpus Christi
(Summary as of 4 a.m. Friday, July 24)
• A Tropical Storm Warning in effect for the Texas Coast from the mouth of the Rio Grande to San Luis Pass.
• Tropical Storm Hanna was located over the northwest Gulf of Mexico, 315 miles east southeast of Corpus Christi.
• Maximum sustained winds are 40 mph
• Present movement is west northwest at 9 mph
• Minimum Central Pressure is 1002 millibars
• Forecast - Tropical Storm Hanna continues to strengthen and is forecast to move toward the west-northwest across the northwestern Gulf of Mexico today (Friday), before turning westward tonight. Hanna is currently forecast to make landfall along the South Texas coast as a strong Tropical Storm on Saturday. Wind gusts to hurricane force will be possible near the center. There still remains uncertainty regarding the exact landfall location. Wind impacts could include some structural damage to homes and unanchored mobile homes, downed trees and power lines. Heavy rain is expected to occur beginning tonight (Friday) and continuing through Sunday. Due to the slow movement of Hanna, rainfall could be significant and dangerous flooding may result. Impacts could include several evacuations and the flooding of some structures. The approach of Hanna will also result in minor to moderate coastal flooding of area beaches, bays, and intracoastal waterways of the Middle Texas Coast, and in an increased threat for dangerous rip currents. Isolated tornadoes will also be possible on Saturday. Residents of South Texas are strongly urged to monitor this system and take appropriate actions.
(South Texas Impacts)
• Winds - Forecast maximum sustained wind of around 63 mph near landfall Saturday, with gusts to hurricane force.
• Rainfall - Total rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches with isolated amounts up to 12 inches, mainly Friday afternoon through Sunday.
• Storm Tides - 2 to 3 feet of inundation possible along beaches and bays of the Middle Texas Coast.
• Tornadoes - Isolated tornadoes anticipated for Saturday over the Coastal Bend.
• Rip Currents - Moderate risk of dangerous rip currents today along Gulf-facing beaches of the Middle Texas Coast. There is a high risk on Saturday.
Texas Game Wardens Prepare
Local Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens are prepping for Tropical Storm Hanna. They are preparing airboats, flat bottom boats, and many other pieces of equipment if the call is needed. Game wardens urge the public, especially those who may have plans to visit the coast or waters effected by the heavy rainfall, to simply, “stay off the water and roads if it isn’t safe.” Game wardens and other first responders are prepared to answer calls if needed, but would like to remind the public to be safe and wait out the storm.
Gov. Greg Abbott urges Texans to
monitor weather throughout weekend
Governor Greg Abbott urges Texans to remain vigilant and closely monitor weather conditions as Tropical Storm Hanna threatens the Texas coast. The storm may lead to dangerous flash flooding, especially in the upper Rio Grande Valley, the Coastal Bend, and the Texas Hill Country.
The Governor is also preparing state resources to assist communities with potential flooding and heavy rainfall.
“I urge Texans across the state to monitor the weather in their area and take necessary precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones from possible flash flooding and heavy rainfall,” said the Governor. “We are taking several precautionary steps to prepare resources for our communities, and we will continue to monitor and proactively respond to any developments.”
The Texas Division Of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the State Operations Center (SOC) continue to monitor weather conditions and coordinate with the National Weather Service and their West Gulf River Forecast Center. TDEM also continues to coordinate with the Texas Emergency Management Council and is prepared to provide state resources and assistance to local leaders as requested.
On Thursday, July 23 Gov. Abbott placed numerous resources on standby across the state in anticipation of severe weather.
TDEM has mobilized the following resources in preparation to support requests from local officials:
• Texas A&M Forest Service: Saw Crews and Incident Management Teams
• Texas A&M Engineering and Extension Service: Texas A&M Task Force One and Two Search and Rescue Teams
• Texas Parks and Wildlife Department: Boat Teams to support Water Rescue Operations
• Texas Military Department: High Profile Vehicle packages
• Department of State Health Services: Emergency Medical Task Force severe weather packages
• Texas Department of Transportation: High Profile Vehicles
• Texas Department of Public Safety – Texas Highway Patrol: Search and Rescue Aircraft with hoist capability and the Tactical Marine Unit
The Governor urges Texans to follow these flood preparedness and safety tips during severe weather events:
• Know types of flood risk in your area. Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center for information here: https://msc.fema.gov/portal/home
• Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
• Build an emergency supply kit. For more information on how to build a kit, visit: https://www.ready.gov/kit
• Purchase or renew a flood insurance policy. Homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding. It typically takes up to 30 days for a policy to go into effect so the time to buy is well before a disaster. Get flood coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
• Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.
• Protect your property. Move valuables to higher levels. De-clutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery.
• Be extremely cautious of any water on roads or in creeks, streams, storm drains, or other areas – never attempt to cross flowing streams or drive across flooded roadways and always observe road barricades placed for your protection. Remember, Turn Around Don’t Drown.