Weather Nerd

Hurricane Dolly makes landfall in Texas

[NOTE: Brownsville TV station KGBT, a CBS affiliate, is streaming its live coverage of Hurricane Dolly over the Internet. Click here, or simply follow this direct link to the Windows Media Player stream. CNN is also live-streaming its coverage, and The Weather Channel has a bunch of recent videos, including live dispatches from the inimitable Jim Cantore on South Padre Island.]

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As these satellite and radar images show, the center of Hurricane Dolly’s eye made landfall on South Padre Island at around 1:30 PM local time today (2:30 Eastern, 11:30 Pacific).

As of 3:00 PM EDT, the storm’s winds are back down to 95 mph — Category 1 — and further gradual weakening is expected as Dolly moves inland. At present, however, extreme southern Texas is still getting pounded by Dolly’s southern eyewall. In fact, after crossing Laguna Madre, the storm’s eye is now beginning to make a “second landfall,” not on the Texas-Mexico border as originally anticipated, but on the border between Cameron County and Willacy County.

You can see for yourself on the live, close-up radar loop.

P.S. Doppler estimates that more than 14 inches of rain have already fallen in some places.

UPDATE: Dr. Jeff Masters writes:

The southern portion of Dolly’s eyewall passed over the town of South Padre Island, located on the coast on a barrier island. Wind damage from Dolly will be heaviest here. The sister cities of Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, missed getting the eyewall, but did get gusts near hurricane force. Damage to roofs and mobile homes has already been reported in these regions. Harlingen, located 25 miles inland and 20 miles north of Brownsville, is getting a portion of the southern eyewall, and will suffer more damage than Brownsville. There are a few tiny towns on Laguna Madre, the sound behind Padre Island, that received the full force of Dolly. These towns, Port Mansfield and Arroyo City, will receive heavy wind damage and some storm surge damage. . . .

Floods remain a huge concern from Dolly. Rainfall amounts of five inches per hour were observed along the coast, with total rainfall amounts in excess of 14 inches. The real concern is how much rain will fall inland over the Rio Grande River watershed. In 1967, Hurricane Beulah, a huge and powerful Category 3 hurricane, dumped up to 27 inches of rain inland, triggering major flooding throughout South Texas and Northeast Mexico. Beulah did over $1 billion in damage to Texas, according to Wikipedia.