Tropical storm Hanna expected to hit southern Texas coast as a hurricane

Galveston Island Beach Patrol lifeguard Matthew Herdrich walks along rocks as waves kicked up by Tropical Storm Hanna wash over them.
Galveston Island Beach Patrol lifeguard Matthew Herdrich walks along rocks as waves kicked up by Tropical Storm Hanna wash over them.   -  Copyright  Jennifer Reynolds/The Galveston County Daily News via AP
By Associated Press

Tropical storm Hanna could become the first hurricane of the 2020 season, which usually starts in mid-August, say experts.

Tropical Storm Hanna has strengthened and is expected to hit the southern Texas coast as a hurricane on Saturday afternoon or early evening, forecasters have said, all while another tropical storm approached the Caribbean.

Hanna was centred about 270 kilometres east-southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, the US National Hurricane Center said on Friday night. The storm had maximum sustained winds around 65 mph (100 kph) and was moving west at 8 mph (13 kph).

A hurricane warning is in effect for Port Mansfield to Mesquite Bay, a span that includes Corpus Christi. A storm surge warning is in effect for Baffin Bay to Sargent. A tropical storm warning is in effect from Barra el Mezquital, Mexico, to Port Mansfield, Texas, and from Mesquite Bay to High Island, Texas.

Forecasters said Hanna could bring 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 centimeters) of rain through Sunday night — with isolated totals of 15 inches (38 centimetres) — in addition to 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 August 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 west at 17 mph (30 kph) while its maximum sustained winds weakened to 40 mph (65 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center's Friday night update. It was centered about 285 miles (460 kilometres) east of Trinidad.

Officials said that those in the Windward Islands should monitor the storm as it is expected to approach the islands on Saturday. Some strengthening was possible but the storm is expected to weaken as it moves into the Caribbean Sea.

A tropical storm warning has been issued for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Tobago and Grenada and its dependencies. Forecasters said Gonzalo could bring 1 to 3 inches (3 to 8 centimetres) of rain, with isolated totals of 5 inches (13 centimetres) of rain.

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