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Hurricane Humberto Strikes Texas and Louisiana


Hurricane Humberto came ashore in southeast Texas, bringing heavy rains and high winds to that area and into nearby Louisiana. At least one person in Texas has died as a result of the storm. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, some of the affected areas are still recovering from Hurricane Rita, which struck the same area two years ago.

Weather forecasters had expected Humberto to remain a tropical storm as it came over land, but it took a slight turn away from land Wednesday, allowing it to draw strength from the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

When the hurricane came ashore, it had 136-kilometer per hour winds. It dumped more than 40 centimeters of rain over a wide area of the Gulf coast, including places still not fully recovered from Hurricane Rita, which came ashore near the Texas-Louisiana border September 24, 2005.

In Winnie, Texas, streets are still flooded and utility workers are struggling to restore power in areas where lines were knocked down. Port Arthur, Texas and Lake Charles and Cameron, Louisiana, all places devastated by Rita two years ago, are facing similar problems.

One area spared by Humberto is Galveston, Texas, where City Manager Steve LeBlanc told local TV reporters that the island city is in good shape.


"This one was a quick surprise for us," LeBlanc said. "Of course, we are glad it took a different direction, but we did have some debris today. We had some trees down in the historic area, those have already been cleaned up."

Galveston was the scene of one of the worst hurricane disasters in U.S. history on September 8, 1900, when a storm destroyed most of the city's coastal residences and killed more than 6,000 people. For many decades after that, the city struggled to rebuild and saw much of its port operations and business move inland, mainly to Houston.

But in recent years there has been a building boom on the island, leading to fears that a direct hit from a large hurricane could result in another massive tragedy.

Humberto has been downgraded to a tropical storm and is expected to lose more strength as it continues to move over central Louisiana and into the state of Mississippi in the coming hours. Forecasters are keeping a wary eye on the diminishing storm, however, as there is a remote chance it could move southward again and pick up strength from coastal waters.

Meanwhile, hurricane experts are watching a tropical depression in the western Atlantic that appears to be on a path that would take it into the Caribbean by the end of this week. If it does go that way and then enters the Gulf of Mexico, it could develop into a large storm.

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