Tropical Storm Harold Hits Texas


Tropical Storm Harold Hits Texas Amid Busy Hurricane Season Image: Shutterstock/ Artsiom P

TROPICAL STORM HAROLD made landfall as a tropical storm on Padre Island, Texas, causing widespread impact and signalling a busy phase in the Atlantic hurricane season. The storm, which had intensified rapidly, left a trail of heavy rain, damaging winds, and power outages in its wake. This event comes on the heels of a rapid succession of three other storms forming within a short timeframe, highlighting the heightened activity during this hurricane season.

Landfall and Impact

Tropical Storm Harold arrived on Padre Island, Texas, with sustained winds of up to 50 miles per hour (80 km/h). The region experienced torrential downpours and strong winds, resulting in widespread power outages and potential threats of flash flooding and minor damages. The southern tip of Texas bore the brunt of the storm’s fury, leaving thousands without power. Parts of southern Texas were particularly affected, with some areas receiving up to two inches of rain within a few hours.

Approximately 1.3 million residents in Deep South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley were placed under a tropical storm warning by the National Weather Service. The storm was expected to deliver as much as 6 inches (15 cm) of rain in localised areas, posing a significant risk of flooding and infrastructure damage. The National Hurricane Centre issued advisories, forecasting heavy rain of up to six inches in isolated regions through the following day.

Response and Preparedness

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas swiftly activated emergency response resources, including search and rescue teams, rescue boats, and platoons from the Texas National Guard. Corpus Christi, a city affected by the storm, experienced road closures due to flooding, prompting officials to advise caution and recommend alternative routes. Corpus Christi’s emergency management coordinator, Billy Delgado, highlighted the city’s preparedness and absence of fatalities or injuries, despite the challenging conditions.

As the storm continued its rapid movement, it was downgraded to a tropical depression. Although the intensity of the rainfall was expected to subside, authorities cautioned residents to remain cautious due to potential lingering heavy rainfall.

Goodbye Hilary, Hello Harold

Tropical Storm Harold follows a series of recent storms in quick succession, including Emily, Franklin, Gert, and of course Hilary. This storm marked the first landfall of the Atlantic hurricane season. The 2023 season was initially forecasted to have a ‘near-normal’ number of named storms, but predictions were revised upward due to an El Niño pattern’s arrival and unusual sea surface temperatures. Climate change is amplifying the power of hurricanes, increasing the likelihood of major hurricanes and causing storms to carry more moisture and produce heavier rainfall.

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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!