One person was killed as Tropical Depression Dolly dumped rain over Texas and Mexico on Thursday after pummeling the coast as a hurricane and stirring up floods.
The Gulf of Mexico’s first hurricane of the year ripped off rooftops, shattered windows, toppled trees and power lines and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in estimated damage.
But it failed to cause any breach in south Texas levees, as some authorities had feared.
In southeastern Texas, more than 180,000 homes were without power late on Thursday, the Brownsville Herald newspaper reported.
In Mexico, Dolly caused extensive flooding in the border city of Matamoros, where tens of thousands of people lacked electricity and drinking water. One person was fatally electrocuted, officials said.
Also near the US border, Dolly’s winds damaged Nuevo Lardo’s main water treatment plant, leaving half of its 500,000 inhabitants without drinking water.
The storm’s sustained winds deflated to 40kph by 3am GMT, hours after it was downgraded to a tropical depression, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Dolly was nevertheless expected to leave 200mm to 300mm of rain over parts of south Texas and northeast Mexico, the center said, adding that the rain was “very likely to cause widespread flooding.”
“Dolly is expected to move west-northwest along the Texas-Mexico border,” it warned. “Additional 8cm to 13cm rainfall amounts are possible over south Texas and northeastern Mexico over the next 24 hours. The higher terrain of northeastern Mexico could receive heavier totals. This event will likely cause widespread flooding.”
Dolly slammed into the Texas-Mexico border region on Wednesday as a Category 2 hurricane with 160kph winds.
The storm dumped heavy rain, toppled trees and downed power lines. A 17-year-old boy broke several bones when the gusts knocked him out of a seven-story building, US media reported.
Texas Governor Rick Perry declared a disaster situation in 15 counties across the southern portion of the state, deploying hundreds of National Guard troops and other emergency crews, local media said.
The river level in Brownsville, Texas, rose steadily, but the older levees in the Rio Grande Valley withstood the waters, after some officials had voiced concern that the levees could be overwhelmed.
“Everything is in good shape. We are not experiencing flood conditions in the Rio Grande today,” said Sally Spener, spokeswoman for the International Boundary and Water Commission.
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