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Near Texas-Mexico border, all eyes are on Dolly

McALLEN, Texas — Residents along the Texas-Mexico border kept a watchful eye on Tropical Storm Dolly on Monday, stocking up on plywood, generators and flashlights as forecasters predicted the storm would strengthen into a hurricane this week and make landfall.

Hurricane warnings were issued late Monday for parts of the Texas and Mexico coasts, meaning hurricane conditions were expected in those areas by the end of today.

The storm was expected to bring high winds and dump 10 to 20 inches of rain in coastal areas near the U.S.-Mexican border. Emergency officials feared major flooding problems and urged coastal residents to prepare.

Forecasters said Dolly was expected to make landfall late today or early Wednesday as a Category 1 hurricane, which has with sustained winds of 74 mph to 95 mph.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Cristobal, which dumped rain on the coast of the Carolinas, was moving toward the northeast near 13 mph and was no longer an immediate threat to the United States, forecasters said.

In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Genevieve formed off Mexico's coast, but forecasters said the storm was not expected to threaten land. Tropical Storm Fausto also was weakening and moving out to sea.

As Dolly churned, Shell Oil said it was evacuating workers from oil rigs in the western Gulf of Mexico, and the federal government was trying to decide whether it could begin construction on a new border fence, which was to be combined with levee improvements along the Rio Grande in Hidalgo County.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami issued a hurricane warning from Brownsville north to Port O'Connor. A a tropical storm warning was issued from Port O'Connor to the San Luis Pass, a strait south of Galveston.

Mexico announced a hurricane warning from Rio San Fernando north to the U.S. border. A tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch were also in effect from La Pesca to Rio San Fernando.

Texas officials said they wouldn't order evacuations along the coast unless Dolly strengthens to a Category 3, with sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

Gov. Rick Perry activated 1,200 National Guard troops and other emergency crews.

At 11 p.m., the center of Dolly was about 435 miles southeast of Corpus Christi. It was moving toward the west at 17 mph. Maximum sustained winds were 50 mph, and tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 175 miles.

Near Texas-Mexico border, all eyes are on Dolly 07/21/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 4:36pm]
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