Updated Friday afternoon, July 24 to revise the forecast strength of Tropical Storm Hanna.
Tropical Storm Hanna is about to become the fourth tropical cyclone to hit the mainland United States this season.
The others were Tropical Storm Bertha in late May, just before the official start of the season on June 1, as well as Tropical Storm Cristobal in early June and Tropical Storm Fay the second week of July.
The system was still a tropical depression Thursday, strengthening to a tropical storm in the wee hours of Friday. As of 5 a.m. EDT Friday, maximum sustained winds were 40 mph, based on measurements taken by the U.S. Air Force hurricane hunters. Hanna was centered 285 miles east of Corpus Christi, Texas, heading toward the west-northwest at 9 mph.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 45 miles from the storm’s center. Early Friday morning, a buoy located east of the center reported a sustained wind of 38 mph and a gust to 52 mph.
Hanna will likely hit the eastern Texas coast sometime Saturday, July 25, and could become a Category 1 hurricane, with sustained winds of 75 mph just prior to impact. Higher gusts are likely.
Tropical storm conditions will begin tonight or early Saturday, followed by Hurricane conditions Saturday afternoon. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued tropical storm warnings and watches, as well as storm surge warnings along the Texas coast, from the Mexico border to just south of Houston. The highest storm surges of approximately 2 to 4 feet will likely crash into Corpus Christi Bay, Arkansas Bay, Baffin Bay, Copano Bay, San Antonio Bay and Matagorda Bay.
Hanna will not cause long-term flooding, but persistent heavy rainfall could lead to areas of flash flooding and roadblocks over the weekend along the coast and in some inland areas. Rainfall totals of up to 15 inches are possible in southern Texas, while parts of the upper Texas coast into southwestern Louisiana could see up to 6 inches. Minor wind damage is also possible.
In a news release Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard urged everyone in the potential impact zone to “be prepared, stay informed and heed storm warnings.”
Hanna will disrupt freight flows for a while on the roads, runways and at ports, but delays should be minor to moderate. Interruptions to local and regional business and supply chain operations should also be short-term.
Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.