July 24, 2008

Tropical Storm Dolly Soaks Southern Texas

Tropical Storm Dolly was gusting through southern Texas on a northwesterly track early Thursday, drenching the area with heavy rains.

At 5 a.m., forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the former Category 2 hurricane was centered about 95 miles northwest of Brownsville, Texas. The system was moving west-northwest at 7 mph, which was expected to continue for the next day as the system weakens into a tropical depression, which the forecast said would occur Thursday night.

Sustained winds were 60 mph with higher gusts, and extended 85 miles from the storm's center.

Since hitting the coast Wednesday afternoon with 100 mph winds, Dolly has delivered 6-8 inches of rain to the deep south of Texas and northern Mexico, and forecasters said isolated areas could receive 20 inches of rain.

Before the storm made landfall, Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued a disaster declaration Tuesday for 14 counties in the projected path. Wind and flood damage was reported on South Padre Island, which bore the first impact, but damage estimates weren't available early Thursday.