Tropical Storm Hanna strengthens slightly; Gonzalo looms


Courtesy NOAA

MIAMI (AP) — Tropical Storm Hanna strengthened slightly Friday as it moves toward the Texas coastline, threatening to bring heavy rain, rough waters and strong winds, all while another tropical storm continued to approach the Caribbean.

Hanna was centered about 260 miles (420 kilometers) east of Corpus Christi, Texas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its 10 a.m. CDT advisory. The storm had maximum sustained winds around 45 mph (75 kph) and was moving west-northwest at 9 mph (15 kph).

Hanna was forecast to make landfall Saturday. A tropical storm warning was in effect from the mouth of the Rio Grande to San Luis Pass, Texas. A tropical storm watch that had been in effect from San Luis Pass to High Island, Texas, was discontinued.

Forecasters increased the expected rainfall totals, stating that Hanna could bring 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain and coastal swells that could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Hanna broke the record as the earliest eighth Atlantic named storm, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach. The previous record was Harvey on Aug. 3, 2005, Klotzbach tweeted.

Tropical Storm Gonzalo was also the earliest Atlantic named storm for its place in the alphabet. The previous record was held by Tropical Storm Gert, which formed on July 24, 2005. So far this year, Cristobal, Danielle, Edouard and Fay also set records for being the earliest named Atlantic storm for their alphabetic order.

Gonzalo was moving at 18 mph (30 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center’s Friday morning update. It was centered about 485 miles (780 kilometers) east of the southern Windward Islands.

The Hurricane Center said that those in the Windward Islands should monitor the storm as it is expected to approach the islands late Friday and Saturday. Some strengthening was possible but the storm is expected to weaken as it moves into the Caribbean Sea.

A hurricane watch has been issued for Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A tropical storm warning is in effect for several places, including St. Lucia, Tobago and Grenada. Forecasters said Gonzalo could bring 2 to 5 inches (5 to 13 centimeters) of rain.

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