Attention, residents of Jim Hogg County! A major storm roaring out of the Gulf of Mexico is about the take your 10-gallon hats and fling them up into sky like so many skeet pigeons. Strap 'em down, boys!
And while you're at it, strap down those mobile homes and shrubbery as well. When Tropical Storm Don's winds begin to crank up after midnight tonight, the National Weather Service is warning that
MINOR DAMAGE MAY OCCUR TO OLDER MOBILE HOMES. RESIDENTS SHOULD MOVE LOOSE ITEMS INDOORS... SUCH AS GARBAGE CANS AND OUTDOOR FURNITURE...AS THEY WILL BE BLOWN AROUND. NEWLY PLANTED OR YOUNG TREES AND SHRUBS MAY BE UPROOTED IF NOT SECURED PROPERLY. ISOLATED POWER OUTAGES WILL BE POSSIBLE.
Don's twirly center is located right now 120 miles east/northeast of Brownsville, Texas, which itself is about 160 miles south of Corpus Christi. While not of hurricane strength, Don does have winds spinning at nearly 50 m.p.h., enough to create a minor risk of tornadoes, as well as a significant payload of precipitation. Some areas south of the tropical storm could get up to 7 inches of rain this weekend, enough to cause roadway flooding. That's probably a good thing in the long run for Texas, where three quarters of the state is in the worst stage of drought.
This is the fourth tropical storm for 2011's hurricane season, which is expected to be a frenzied one. Watch Don whistle over the Gulf toward the mainland in ABC7's hurricane cam. Below is the latest image of the storm taken today by NASA's Terra satellite: