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Page last updated at 23:01 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 00:01 UK

Tropical Storm Edouard hits Texas

Resident of Galveston
Galveston and surrounding areas escaped the worst of the storm

A powerful tropical storm has hit the upper coast of Texas, bringing heavy rains and winds of up to (65mph) 100km/h, US weather forecasters said.

Tropical Storm Edouard made landfall between Galveston and Louisiana, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

The near-hurricane strength storm weakened as it moved inland, with flooding the primary concern.

The governor of Texas declared 17 counties disaster areas, while a state of emergency was declared in Louisiana.

The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression as it moved north-west overland, the NHC said.

About 6,000 residents of two communities in western Louisiana had been asked to evacuate low-lying coastal areas.

"Texas is grateful that this storm did not escalate to hurricane strength before making landfall on our shores," Texas Governor Rick Perry said.

Evacuations

The mayor of Galveston did not order an evacuation but sent in about 1,200 National Guard troops.

Edouard is the fifth tropical storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season.

Map

Tropical Storm Edouard was just short of hurricane strength when it came ashore between High Island and Sabine Pass, weather forecasters said.

A storm is considered to be a hurricane once its winds reach an average speed of at least 74mph (119 km/h), according to the NHC.

It had formed near a major oil and gas producing area of the northern Gulf of Mexico, causing disruption.

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port has stopped offloading tankers and two oil firms evacuated workers from platforms.

Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell said they were removing employees from rigs as a precaution, but both insisted that production had not been affected.

The Houston Ship Channel was also closed.

Heavy rain near Houston
Edouard is the second tropical storm to hit the Gulf states in two weeks

A storm surge of 2-4ft (0.6-1.2m) was expected in coastal areas between Grand Isle, Louisiana, and Sargent, Texas, the NHC said.

Rainfall of up to 5in (12.7cm) was predicted in Louisiana, and up to 10in (25.4cm) in Texas.

It is the second bout of severe weather to batter the Gulf's coastline in a month.

On 24 July, a state of disaster was declared in 14 Texas counties when Hurricane Dolly lashed the state's coast with winds of 100mph (161km/h).

The Gulf of Mexico supplies about 25% of the US's crude oil.


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SEE ALSO
Storm relief sends oil below $120
04 Aug 08 |  Business
Tropical storm lashes Gulf Coast
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In pictures: Dolly hits Gulf Coast
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01 Jun 05 |  Science/Nature
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'Fewer hurricanes' as world warms
18 May 08 |  Science/Nature

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