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Harold downgraded to tropical depression after making landfall in Texas

Harold, which made landfall on Texas' Padre Island in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday as a tropical storm, has been downgraded to a tropical depression, the National Hurricane Center reported early Tuesday evening. 

Despite weakening, Harold was still forecast to bring heavy rains and powerful winds to southern Texas and northern Mexico as it moved inland.

Harold was the second named storm to hit the U.S. this week after Tropical Storm Hilary made landfall in Mexico on Sunday and moved north, bringing record-breaking rainfall to Southern California.

In the Gulf, the system that became Harold developed Monday morning and strengthened throughout the day before growing from a tropical depression into a tropical storm around 1 a.m. CDT Tuesday. 

As of 5 p.m. CDT, the tropical depression was located about 15 miles east of Laredo, Texas, according to the hurricane center. It had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and was heading west-northwest at 21 mph.

The storm was expected to continue weakening as it moved inland before dissipating on Wednesday, the hurricane center said.  

An infrared satellite image shows Tropical Storm Harold hitting Texas at 10:10 a.m. CDT on Aug. 22, 2023.
An infrared satellite image shows Tropical Storm Harold hitting Texas at 10:10 a.m. CDT on Aug. 22, 2023. NOAA/NESDIS/STAR GOES-East

A tropical storm warning which had been in place from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Port O'Connor, Texas, was canceled, the hurricane center said. All tropical storm watches were also canceled. 

As Harold made landfall, Corpus Christi, located near Padre Island, saw powerful winds of up to 50 mph and drenching rain that flooded roads near the Texas State Aquarium.

More than 8,700 homes and businesses were without power Tuesday evening in the Corpus Christi area, according to utility provider AEP Texas.

Harold was expected to drop 2 to 4 inches of rainfall across South Texas, with as many as 6 inches of rain in some places through early Wednesday, the hurricane center said, while the northern Mexico states of Coahuila and Nuevo Leon could see anywhere up  to 10 inches of rain. 

"Scattered instances of flash flooding will be possible," the hurricane center said.

President Biden confirmed in a statement Tuesday afternoon that he had directed "FEMA pre-deployed personnel to Texas to assist state and local officials and to coordinate on any requests for resources should federal assistance be required. FEMA has also made preparations to surge personnel and resources, if needed. I urge people in the storm's path to follow state and local guidance."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also urged people in the path of the storm to check road conditions before driving.  

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