Humberto Weakens After Blasting Texas

Barbara Schley hugs her neighbor Jack Payton whose High Island home was destroyed by Hurricane Humberto Thursday, Sept. 13, 2007, in High Island. Texas. AP Photo/Melissa Phillip

Hurricane Humberto, an extremely rare rapidly formed storm, sneaked up on southeast Texas overnight, crashing ashore Thursday with heavy rains and 80-mph winds, killing at least one person.

According to Bridge City Police, an east Texas man in his mid-70s was killed when his carport fell on top of him, reports CBS Affiliate KFDM.

Officers say the man had gone outside to look for possible damage to his home, when the carport collapsed.

Authorities are not yet releasing the identity of the man.

It was the first hurricane - albeit a relatively tame Category 1
to hit the United States since Hurricane Wilma slammed into Florida in October 2005.

Few storms on record built intensity faster than Humberto. A half-hour before landfall, it grew into a hurricane, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.

At 3 a.m., Jack Payton and his wife started praying.

"I was in bed and I felt the house moving back, and I said, I'm moving backwards," Jack Payton of High Island, Texas, told CBS News.

The entire house slid 7 feet from the slab.

"I just felt it move back real slow. It quit. And all of a sudden - bam - and then I hear the roof go. That was it," added Payton.

Humberto did not exist until late Wednesday afternoon, and was not even a tropical storm until almost midday, strengthening from a tropical depression with 35-mph winds to a hurricane with 85-mph winds in just 18 hours, senior hurricane specialist James Franklin said at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

"To put this development in perspective - no tropical cyclone in the historical record has ever reached this intensity at a faster rate near landfall. It would be nice to know, someday, why this happened," Franklin said.

Humberto made landfall near the same spot Hurricane Rita did in 2005, and areas of southwest Louisiana not fully recovered from Rita were bracing for more misery.

The storm struck about 5 miles east of High Island, near the eastern tip of the Texas coast, then weakened and bore into central Louisiana, forecasters said.

Power was knocked out for most of Beaumont and Port Arthur and about 100,000 customers were without power in the wake of the storm, Entergy Texas spokeswoman Debi Derrick said.

"We do hope to have customers' service restored, but it may be a couple of days for some," she said.

National Weather Service Image Of Humberto
One location blacked out was Jefferson County's Emergency Operations Center in Beaumont, where wind speeds of 75 to 80 mph were noted, said Michael White, Jefferson County's assistant emergency management coordinator. Officials were forced to track the storm with laptops, he said.

Valero Energy Corp.said a power outage shut down its 325,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Port Arthur, and Shell Oil Co. said the 265,500 barrel per day Motiva Port Arthur Refinery was similarly affected.

A hurricane warning is in effect from east of High Island to Cameron, Louisiana, while a tropical storm warning covers a section of Louisiana coast east of there. The storm had been expected to stay a tropical storm but energized into a Category 1 hurricane after midnight.
  • CBSNews

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