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Victoria sees first rainfall in nearly a month

By BY SONNY LONG - SLONG@VICAD.COM
Aug. 25, 2011 at 3:25 a.m.

Carol Ayala, left, and Bobbie Bates used garbage bags to try to stay dry as they traveled down Main Street in front of Long Leaf Café as a rainstorm hit Victoria Thursday afternoon.

The first measurable rain in the Crossroads area in almost a month sparked a series of weather-related emergencies including two fires in Victoria and the destruction of a beach house in Calhoun County.

Straight line winds toppled the house in Alamo Beach.

"It looked like a double wide trailer that they had built some structure around," said Port Lavaca Fire Chief Anthony Calagna. "It had been leaning for years and it just leaned further over."

The fire chief said no one appeared to be home at the time and there were no injuries.

National Weather Service meteorologist Zach Finch said reports of a tornado in Calhoun County were unconfirmed.

In Victoria, the storm that blew through the area about 1:45 p.m. Thursday brought winds that knocked down a power line causing a house fire on Park Avenue and a lightning strike that sparked a grass fire on Old Goliad Road.

POWER OUTAGES

Power outages were widespread in Victoria, said Elgin Janssen, AEP spokesman.

"Most were the result of 40-plus mph winds. One major outage in Victoria affecting several hundred customers in the southern area of the city. I believe that outage was cleared about 4 p.m., Janssen said.

Mark Lane, general foreman for Victoria Electric Cooperative, said about five electric poles in Inez and in Magnolia Beach were damaged during the storm.

"About 489 people were estimated to have been without power in Inez and about 700 more in Magnolia," Lane said.

Most power was restored by the late afternoon.

"It hit fast, but we got everybody back up pretty quick," said Lane.

WHY THE STORM?

An upper level disturbance combined with the warm conditions to cause the storm, said Finch.

"That combination causes down drafts," said the meteorologist. "It moved in from the northeast and there was enough rotation to cause thunderstorms."

Finch said the National Weather Service had reports of wind gusts up to 60 mph during the storm.

Victoria received .45 of an inch of rain, the first measurable precipitation since July 27 when .43 of an inch was recorded.

There is no rain in the forecast for the weekend.

The storm ended Victoria's record streak of consecutive 100-degree days at 25. The high was 99, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures are expected to soar this weekend with a high of 106 predicted for Saturday and 107 for Sunday, Finch said.

Advocate reporter Dianna Wray contributed to this story.

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