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Arlene fizzles; rains soak Texas

Tropical Storm Arlene was downgraded to a tropical depression soon after washing ashore from the Gulf of Mexico early Sunday, but showers continued to drench many parts of coastal Texas.

Beaches on Padre Island and Port Aransas were closed because of high surf. No severe flooding or evacuations were reported, but some rural roads were covered by water.

The Coastal Bend, already rain-soaked during the past two weeks, received more than 5.5 inches from the storm by early Sunday, and forecasters predicted more.

"Although it's inland, it's still going to be slow-moving, and that can always bring the potential for heavy rains in the next few days," said meteorologist Greg Wilk of the National Weather Service in Corpus Christi.

Arlene quickly broke the rainfall record for the date in Corpus Christi, dumping 2.57 inches between midnight and 7:30 a.m. The previous record, set in 1924, was 2.36 inches. Longview got more than 6 inches, and as much as 5 inches fell in areas of southeastern Texas.

Authorities reported minor coastal flooding Sunday as tides, including dangerous rip currents and swells, splashed 3 to 5 feet above normal along parts of the Texas coast.

Tides remained high during the afternoon as the storm hung almost stationary over Kingsville.

Arlene grew out of a tropical depression over the Gulf of Mexico early Saturday, gaining the tropical storm title when its maximum sustained wind speed reached 39 mph. It strengthened only to 40 mph before diminishing after moving over land.

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