Tropical Storm Hanna Headed for Texas Gulf Coast
HOUSTON, TX – Residents along the Texas Gulf Coast on Friday afternoon were bracing for a hit from Tropical Storm Hanna, which was looming about 230 miles east of Corpus Christi. Hanna was packing 50 mph winds and moving west-northwest over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico at a speed of 9 mph. Tropical storm warnings were in effect across a large portion of the Texas Gulf Coast as the storm spun closer to land.
AccuWeather forecasters predict Hanna will make landfall sometime on Saturday. "We expect the system to make landfall as a solid tropical storm along the central Texas coast sometime during the day on Saturday," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said, adding that near Corpus Christi is where the storm will come ashore, possibly about 45 miles south of there in Baffin Bay, Texas.
Sosnowski also cautioned that there's a chance Hanna could strengthen into a hurricane, and become the Atlantic basin's first of the year now that Tropical Storm Gonzalo is encountering conditions unfavorable for much strengthening.
"Considering that water temperatures are well into the 80s along its path, Hanna has a chance of rapidly strengthening prior to landfall on Saturday and could become a hurricane before doing so," Sosnowski said.
"At the very least," Sosnowski added, "Hanna will likely be a strong tropical storm at landfall with wind gusts to at least 70 mph." He said dry air may be drawn in from the west on Saturday for a time "and that could be enough to keep the storm from becoming a hurricane," but pointed out that the actual difference might be a few miles per hour in wind speeds.
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