Tropical Storm Alex could bring heavy rain, tornadoes
June 28, 2010 at 1:28 a.m.
A hurricane watch was issued Monday for Tropical Storm Alex from Baffin Bay in South Texas to La Cruz, Mexico.
Hurricane watches are issued 48 hours or less before storms are forecast to make landfall. Hurricane warnings are issued 36 hours or less in advance of the forecast landfall.
A watch means a storm is possible and a warning means it is likely.
Heavy rain, flooding and tornadoes pose the biggest threat to the Crossroads if Tropical Storm Alex follows its forecasted path, a National Weather Service meteorologist said Monday.
But John Metz, a weather service warning coordination meteorologist, also said it's not out of the question the storm could make a direct strike on the Crossroads.
"It could go left or right of the forecast track," he said. "It's more likely to go right of the forecast track, we believe."
That would bring it closer to the Crossroads.
As of 10 p.m. Monday night, Alex was expected to become a Category 2 hurricane by Tuesday morning.
The National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning for counties along the coast, from Baffin Bay to Port O'Connor, according to Douglas Vogelsang at the weather service. Those areas can expect wind and increasing rain within the next 24 to 36 hours, said Vogelsang.
The weather service expects Alex to hit land about 60 to 70 miles south of Brownsville.
Coastal counties could get 6 to 8 inches of rain, with an estimated 3 to 5 inches falling in Victoria County from Tuesday through Friday.
"It kind of depends on the direction the storm is moving at landfall," Metz said. "If it is moving in more of a northerly direction, that tends to result in more tornadoes."
These storms also typically are more likely to spin up tornadoes during the day than at night.
There was a 30- to 40-percent chance the Crossroads would experience tropical storm force winds of at least 40 mph Wednesday night or Thursday morning. That forecast takes into account such variables as the size of the storm, its track and the possibility of errors in the forecast track.
"The chance of tropical storm force winds across the mid-coast are very high," Metz said.
Deputy Police Chief Roy Boyd with the Victoria Police Department and Chief Deputy Terry Simons with the Victoria County Sheriff's Office said they were monitoring the storm. They also said they were reviewing their hurricane plans, including calling in officers.
"We'll begin putting them on notification and then begin mobilizing them as the storm gets closer," Boyd said. "We'll be ensuring that we have all the proper supplies to see us through, should the storm hit, so we'll be self-sufficient for a period of time after the hurricane."
Simons said the sheriff's office is prepared to evacuate prisoners, if that becomes necessary.
"There is only a certain level of storm that would cause us to need to evacuate," he said. "This storm is not projected to be anywhere near that level."
But the sheriff's office has agreements with other agencies to house the county's prisoners.
Calhoun County officials have been monitoring the storm via conference calls with the National Weather Services, according to County Judge Michael J. Pfeifer.
"We're always prepared for a storm. But right now, it's 'wait and see what happens,' " Pfeifer said.
Calhoun County Emergency Management Coordinator LaDonna Thigpen said officials are running through a checklist to prepare for the storm.
"We're verifying phone numbers, 211 lists, and making sure we have resources available," Thigpen said.
"Right now, we're keeping our fingers crossed it will go below us and in an unpopulated area," Thigpen added.