As Tropical Storm Hanna continues to move closer to Texas in the Gulf of Mexico, the storm system strengthened on Saturday morning and was transformed into Hurricane Hanna – becoming the first hurricane of the year in the Hurricane Basin of Atlantic.
Forecasters from the National Hurricane Center said Hanna now features winds of 75 mph, making it a Category 1 hurricane as it heads west into the northern Gulf, targeting the south coast. is from Texas.
At 8 a.m. on Saturday, the center of Hanna was swirling about 90 miles east-northeast of Port Mansfield, Texas and about 100 miles east-southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, the National Hurricane Center said in its latest opinion. The hurricane was moving west at a speed of 9 mph.
“The center of Hanna is forecast to make landfall along the Texas coast in the hurricane warning zone this afternoon or early this evening,” the advisory said. “A gradual west-southwest turn is expected by tonight and this movement is expected to continue through Sunday.”
Tropical storm force winds extend outward as far as 90 miles from central Hanna.
In addition to generating a dangerous storm surge, Hurricane Hanna could dump up to 6 to 12 inches of rain – with isolated pockets of up to 18 inches – in southern Texas and the Mexican states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and northern Tamaulipas until Sunday. night, forecasters said.
“This rain can lead to life-threatening flash floods, rapid rises on small streams and isolated minor to moderate river flooding in South Texas,” the National Hurricane Center said. In addition, the hurricane is expected to drop 3-5 inches of rain along the upper coasts of Texas and Louisiana.
Forecasters are also watching for Tropical Storm Gonzalo, which was originally slated to become a hurricane but was weakened by pockets of dry air. Gonzalo currently has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and is expected to traverse the southern Windward Islands on Saturday afternoon or Saturday evening and over the southeastern Caribbean Sea on Sunday.
Gonzalo and Hanna both made history during their training – becoming the first storm “G” and the first storm “H” ever recorded in the Atlantic. On average, it takes until mid-September for the seventh and eighth named storms to develop.
Prior to Hanna, the first storm “H” was Tropical Storm Harvey, which formed on August 3, 2005.
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Len Melisurgo can be reached at [email protected].