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Goodbye, Humberto

Now-Hurricane Humberto took a right turn last night and hit Beaumont and Louisiana instead of Houston.

Hurricane Humberto blasted Beaumont with wind gusts up to 84 miles an hour this morning after forming suddenly and making landfall in Southeast Texas at about 2 a.m. this morning.

The hurry-up hurricane brought 16 inches of rain to the Bolivar Peninsula in Galveston County just before landfall about 5 miles east of High Island, the National Weather Service reported.

Along with the deluge, Humberto pounded the Chambers and Jefferson county coasts with hurricane-force of winds at 4 a.m. today as the storm made its way through East Texas and into eastern Louisiana.

Besides Beaumont in Jefferson County the storm was beating up Orange County before sunrise today.


The Category 1 storm came ashore in a sparsely populated area at Sea Rim State Park near High Island, with wind gusts measuring up to 62 mph, meteorologist Jim Sweeney said. Then it headed for Beaumont and other densely populated areas, some of whose residents still are recovering from Hurricane Rita damage

“It’s a very compact storm,” Sweeney said. The strongest winds are very close to the center of circulation. The hurricane force winds only go about 15 miles.”

Houston-area residents were spared 10 inches or more of rain that the weather service predicted for Harris and other coastal counties as the storm turned and strengthened, forecasters said. All tropical weather warnings for Harris and surrounding counties were lifted but a flash-flood warning remains in effect for Chambers County today.

Indeed, the storm, which began as a tropical depression Wednesday morning about 100 miles southeast of Galveston and was quickly declared a tropical storm, had only “minimal” effects in Harris, Galveston and Brazoria and nearby counties, forecaster Michael Blood said today.

“It jogged off to the north-northeast,” Blood said. “Most of the heavy rainfall was offshore.”

On Galveston Island, the storm dropped only about 4.5 inches of rain from early Wednesday to this morning, Blood said.


Sustained winds of 70 to 80 mph are expected until 6 a.m. today in Sabine Pass, Port Arthur, Groves and western Cameron Parish near Johnson Bayou and Constance Beach, the weather service said.

Humberto’s eastward turn late Wednesday more than likely spared Houston from major flooding, said Blood.

The tropical storm warning for Harris, Brazoria, Fort Bend and Matagorda counties was lifted shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Rainfall in Harris County is forecast to average less than an inch today, though some isolated southeast portions of the county could see as much as two inches.

Once again, good for us, not so good for someone else. SciGuy has more, including this reminder:

We have learned a couple of things today. First, Humberto provides a good reminder that tropical systems often will do what they want, not what we think they will do. Our ability to forecast hurricanes leaves room for desire, and new research into these powerful systems should be amply funded. Second, any tropical system that makes it into the Gulf has a chance to strengthen rapidly.

Both lessons are important for emergency managers and the general public alike.

Indeed. Humberto came on very quickly, and could have done a lot of damage here under only slightly different circumstances. Make sure you’re always ready to prepare for a hurricane, because one can show up sooner than you think.

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One Comment

  1. I thought the National Weather Service’s comment below was a bit eerie… (Tropical Storm Humberto Discussion Number 6, Statement as of 11:00 am EDT on September 13, 2007)

    Based on operational estimates…Humberto strengthened from a 30 kt
    depression at 15z yesterday to a 75 kt hurricane at 09z this morning …an increase of 45 kt in 18 hours. To put this development in perspective …no tropical cyclone in the historical
    record has ever reached this intensity at a faster rate near landfall. It would be nice to know…someday…why this happened.