Tropical Storm Harold formed early Tuesday and began to lash the south Texas coast with heavy winds and rain ahead of a projected landfall Tuesday. A tropical storm watch was in effect early Tuesday from the Rio Grande to Port Arthur.
The National Hurricane Center is also monitoring Tropical Storm Franklin in the Caribbean and two other systems in the Atlantic Ocean, one of which had been tropical storm Emily earlier this week, and one of which is moving northwest off the Cabo Verde Islands. Tropical storm Gert has weakened into a post-tropical remnant.
Franklin will veer north toward Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and has prompted tropical storm warnings for their entire southern coasts. The National Hurricane Center also warned of potential flooding there, and in Puerto Rico. Once Franklin is back over water, the system could become the second Atlantic hurricane of the season.
Tropical Storm Harold
As of 11 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday, Harold made landfall on Padre Island, Texas with winds reaching 50 mph. Heavy rain and tropical-storm-force winds up to 45 mph are expected for the next several hours, into Tuesday afternoon. Potential flooding and possible tornadoes are also possible.
The storm will continue westward, and inland, traveling at 21 mph. Flash flooding will be possible Tuesday and Wednesday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from the center. At the time of landfall, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration measured gusts to 59 mph at Padre Island. Later, an observation in Falfurrias, Texas, 30 miles inland from the coast, measured sustained winds of 35 mph with a gust to 60 mph.
KRIS 6 News reported power outages across south Texas.
The storm will produce rainfall ranging from 3 to 7 inches in parts of Texas and Mexico. The NHC also warned of inland flooding and flash flooding in the mountainous terrain of Mexico, in watersheds that flow into the Rio Grande River on the U.S.-Mexico border.
If storm surge coincides with high tide, water could reach 1 to 3 feet about ground in some areas. Large swells could cause life-threatening rip current conditions.
Tropical Storm Franklin
As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, Tropical Storm Franklin was located about 230 miles south-southwest of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, with maximum sustained winds at 50 mph and tropical-storm-force winds up to 70 miles from its center. Though the storm was crawling westward at 7 mph, it is expected to turn north Tuesday with its center reaching the southern coast of Haiti and the Dominican Republic by early Wednesday.
Franklin likely will hit Haiti and the Dominican Republic as a tropical storm, with tropical-storm force winds arriving by around 8 p.m. Tuesday. They system could become a hurricane Sunday after it moves northeast past the island and out to sea, according to hurricane center estimates. Its eventual path during the weekend remains uncertain.
Tropical storm warnings were issued for the southern coasts of both Haiti and the Dominican Republic, with expected storm surge of 1-3 feet. A tropical storm watch was in effect for the north coast of the Dominican Republic and areas of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The system could bring up to 15 inches of rain to Haiti and the Dominican Republic and up to 6 inches to Puerto Rico, according to the latest estimates. The hurricane center warned of potential flash and urban flooding.
Post-tropical remnant Gert
Gert formed early Monday, hours after two other tropical storms — Franklin and Emily formed Sunday.
However, by Monday evening, Gert had weakened from a tropical storm to a tropical depression, and by 11 a.m. Tuesday, the system had declined to a post-tropical remnant with maintaining maximum sustained winds of 30 mph. The NHC said that the storm, which was located 230 miles east-southeast of the Caribbean, would continue to slowly drift west and weaken over the next few days.
African coastal system
The disturbance a few hundred miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands off Africa’s west coast is likely to become a tropical depression later this week as it moves west-northwest to northwest across the eastern tropical Atlantic.
As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, it was given a 10% chance of developing within 48 hours and 40% within seven days, down slightly from previous forecasts.
The former Tropical Storm Emily was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone Monday morning. Emily’s remnants were over the central tropical Atlantic early Tuesday, and forecasters said conditions could be favorable for some redevelopment later this week or weekend, though the odds are low, at 30% within seven days.
None of the systems is currently expected to reach South Florida, said National Weather Service meteorologist George Rizzuto, though such forecasts can change.
“At this time we’re not seeing any signs that any of these are going to be able to make it all the way to us,” Rizzuto said.
The National Hurricane Center has been predicting an “above-normal” 2023 hurricane season as a result of ongoing record-breaking sea surface temperatures that continue to fight off the tempering effects of El Niño.
While sea surface temperatures have remained hot for longer than anticipated, El Niño’s effects, which typically reduce hurricane chances, have emerged more slowly.
The next named storm to form would be Idalia.
The NHC, which operates under the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, has forecast 14 to 21 named storms, including 6 to 11 hurricanes, and two to five major hurricanes.