July 23rd, 2008 10:47 EST
US, Mexico hunkering down for Dolly
U.S. weather forecasters say Hurricane Dolly is moving slowly through the Gulf of Mexico toward the the U.S. - Mexico border.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami upgraded the storm to a Category One hurricane Tuesday. Maximum sustained winds are 130-kilometers-per-hour with higher gusts.
Dolly is east-southeast of Brownsville, Texas and is expected to strengthen before making landfall later Wednesday.
But while forecasters do not anticipate that Dolly will become a major hurricane, they are concerned that the storm could drop as much as 38 centimeters of rain as it moves slowly inland, threatening levies and causing serious flooding.
Hurricane warnings are posted for the Texas coast from Brownsville to Corpus Christi and for the northeast coast of Mexico from Rio San Fernando northward to the U.S. - Mexico border.
Tropical storm warnings and a hurricane watch are in effect for surrounding areas.
The storm - the second hurricane of this year`s Atlantic season - has forced the evacuation of about 23,000 people from coastal areas in Mexico.
The U.S. Navy also ordered more than 100 aircraft moved inland from air stations along the Texas coast.
Meanwhile, the Texas National Guard has been called to assist civilian emergency responders there as Dolly threatens the western Gulf coast.
U.S. military officials said in a statement Tuesday that the National Guard is preparing to conduct search and rescue operations, provide transportation and deploy medical teams to support the state`s first responders.
The Guard is also expected to provide security, engineering and communications support if needed.
Forecasters also also monitoring Tropical Storm Genevieve, which is expected to strengthen in the coming days. The storm was last reported to be more than 600 kilometers southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.