Tropical Storm Harold is barreling across South Texas and parts of Mexico, bringing torrential rain and strong winds and triggering flash flooding, while leaving thousands without power.
The National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center warned the heavy rainfall may produce flash and urban flooding. The hurricane center also warned of possible landslides in mountainous terrain in Mexico.
Harold made landfall on Padre Island around 10 a.m. CT on Tuesday, battering the coast and drenching the dry terrain. Sustained winds reached roughly 50 miles per hour on Padre Island and even higher in parts of Corpus Christi.
"It's coming down ... near 2 to 3 inch per hour rainfall," NOAA Warning Coordination Meteorologist Cory Mottice said. "We're going to be seeing some significant rain out towards Laredo."
Before the storm made landfall, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to deploy state emergency response resources, and activated the Texas State Emergency Operations Center at Level II.
Abbott released a statement reading in part, "Texas stands ready to deploy all available resources to South Texas as tropical storm conditions impact the region this week."
The powerful storm knocked out power for more than 17,000 customers, according to power company AEP Texas. The company assembled a team of 1,500 workers to respond to power outages as soon as the storm passes.
NOAA issued tropical storm warnings this morning, and they expired at 4 p.m. CT in the Corpus Christi and Brownsville area.
Harold became a tropical storm overnight over the Gulf of Mexico, and is the first tropical cyclone to make landfall in the U.S. this season.
"This is a really quick-moving storm. That was certainly a benefit in our favor, with this particular storm moving at 20 miles an hour, it's going to be almost completely out of the South Texas area by late this evening or tomorrow morning," Mottice said
Harold made landfall on the heels of Tropical Storm Hilary, the first tropical storm to hit Southern California in 84 years. The storm turned roads into rivers, toppled trees, and prompted rescues.
Mottice said these storms serve as a warning for Americans to prepare for what's ahead this hurricane season.
"It's not a matter of if, just a matter of when," Mottice said.
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