Tropical Storm Edouard moves on land along Texas coast

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Florida said a change in direction of Tropical Storm Edouard took the storm east of Galveston, Texas and away from a direct path across Houston.

The storm never reached hurricane status as its maximum sustained winds were clocked at 65mph. Sustained winds of 74mph are considered to be hurricane strength.

Tropical Storm Edouard over the Gulf of Mexico.
Image: NASA.

Tourist Beth Bronson, visiting Galveston from Allen, Texas near Dallas was hoping to ride the storm out.

"We spend money to come here with our families. It's an inexpensive place to stay," Bronson, 49, told TIME Magazine. "If they were to say evacuate, then yeah we would do it. But otherwise no."

Earlier today, tropical storm warnings and hurricane watches were issued for places including Grand Isle, Louisiana and as far west as Sargent, Texas. However, tropical storm warnings and hurricane watches were allowed to be discontinued by the NHC for all areas south of Sargent earlier Tuesday.

Texas Governor, Rick Perry, issued a disaster declaration today for 17 counties in Texas, allowing the state to activate 1,200 Texas National Guard troops, six UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and numerous other emergency organizations. In Louisiana, Governor Bobby Jindal declared a statewide emergency declaration. There up to 3,000 residents in low-lying coastal areas were told to evacuate. Also, in the western part of the state, people living in mobile homes or FEMA trailers along the coast were advised to leave.

Tropical Storm Edouard, the fifth tropical storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, also forced gas and oil companies in the Gulf of Mexico to close up and evacuate workers. According to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, over 20 of the 717 production platforms and 6 of 125 rigs were shut down.

The two major airports in Houston, Texas, William P. Hobby Airport and George Bush Intercontinental Airport, were delayed Tuesday morning between 30 minutes to 5 hours.

No deaths or major damage have been reported. The storm is expected to become a tropical depression by Wednesday.