Tropical Storm Harold is closing in on landfall in South Texas, where it’s bringing heavy rain, gusty winds and some coastal flooding.
Harold is the ninth storm of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, over three weeks ahead of the average season pace, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was also the fourth tropical storm to form since this past weekend, following Emily, Franklin and Gert. This is the fastest time on record four Atlantic named storms formed, according to tropical scientist Phil Klotzbach.
Fortunately, Harold won’t last long. Here is what you need to know.
Here’s where Harold is right now: The image below shows the current radar and satellite for the storm. You can see bands of rain near and to the west of the center pushing inland over parts of South Texas and northeast Mexico.
The center of the storm was about 35 miles northeast of Port Mansfield, Texas, as of 9 a.m. CDT. Maximum sustained winds are 50 mph.
Landfall of Harold’s center should happen sometime before midday.
Warnings and watches are in effect: Tropical storm warnings are in effect for areas near the Texas coast from the border with Mexico to Port O’Connor. That includes Corpus Christi and South Padre Island.
This means tropical storm conditions (40+ mph winds) are expected in these areas today.
A tropical storm watch is also in effect north of Port O’Connor to Sargent, Texas. This does not include Galveston, nor the Houston metro area.
The main impacts will be heavy rain and gusty winds. Rainfall from Harold will last through Tuesday night across South Texas and northern Mexico. Some areas could pick up 3 to 5 inches of rainfall, with locally higher amounts up to 7 inches possible.
That could lead to local flash flooding. Over northern Mexico, generally north of Monterrey, locally heavier amounts could lead to dangerous landslides in mountainous terrain.
Most of Texas remains in drought following a summer that has featured more domes of high pressure than raindrops in the Lone Star State. While Deep South Texas will see soaking rain, much of the rest of the state, as well as areas of Louisiana, may see little to no drought-relieving rain from Harold, including the Houston metro area.
Otherwise, some storm surge flooding of 3 feet or less is possible from Sargent to the Mexico border, and tropical storm-force winds capable of some tree damage and a few power outages are possible in the tropical storm warned area.