BROWNSVILLE — Heavy rains are expected to continue to impact the Rio Grande Valley today, as Tropical Storm Fernand continues to head toward Mexico.
The National Weather Service in Brownsville reported there’s an 80 percent chance of heavy rain for the Valley today, an 80 percent chance of heavy rain tonight and a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms on Thursday.
According to the NWS, the main impacts across Deep South Texas, including the Valley, will be localized flooding, especially on the Lower Valley, gusty winds from thunderstorm bands and rough surf, tidal run-up to the dunes and dangerous rip currents at area beaches.
There is a 1 in 10 to 2 in 10 chance for sustained tropical storm for winds primarily for Cameron County and tropical storm force gusts possible in rain squalls moving onshore through this afternoon, the NWS reports.
The city of Harlingen will distribute sandbags beginning at 8 a.m. today. Residents can pick up the sandbags at the Public Works Facility located at 404 South 54th Street. Harlingen residents are allowed six bags each and businesses will be given 12 bags.
Residents and business owners will be required to show an ID with a Harlingen address and a water bill indicating they have garbage service with the City.
The bags will be available from 8 am to 6 p.m. The bags are filled and residents will simply drive through for pickup.
The city of San Benito began giving away sandbags yesterday at the City Shop located at 925 W. Stenger St.
They will resume distributing the bags beginning from 6:30 a.m. to noon today. Residents are limited to three bags each. A water bill will be required as proof of residency.
Cameron County will begin distributing sandbags to county residents at 8 a.m. today.
The sandbags will be handed out at its precinct warehouse barns in Brownsville, Olmito, San Benito and La Feria.
Residents will be allowed six bags per home and businesses will be allowed six bags as well.
“Because we anticipate some rain in the area, Cameron County is taking necessary precautions to be prepared,” County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. said. “Our crews are preparing and are ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice if necessary.”
Sandbags will be available at the following locations: Precinct 1, 2050 S. Browne Ave., in Brownsville, Precinct 2, 7092 Old Alice Road,in Olmito, Precinct 3, FM 510 and San Jose Ranch, in San Benito, and Precinct 4, 26641 White Ranch Road, in La Feria.
In addition to preparing sandbags, Trevino said crews are also preparing water pumps should they need to be deployed in affected areas of the county.
Tropical Storm Fernand formed in the Gulf of Mexico early yesterday afternoon just hours after it had become a tropical depression.
As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center says the storm was about 245 miles east north east of Tampico, Mexico, with winds at 40 miles an hour and moving west at 7 mph. The motion toward the west or west-northwest is forecasted for Wednesday. Landfall is expected about 120 miles south of the RGV late Wednesday afternoon or early evening.
Fernand prompted Trevino to order temporary closing of the county beach access No. 5, county beach access No. 6 and Boca Chica Beach until further notice because of the predictions of high tides that would make for undrivable conditions. The rest of the county beach access areas, including Isla Blanca County Park and Andy Bowie Park, on South Padre Island, would remain open until further notice.
The NWS said the impacts of the storm on the beaches include high risk of rip currents, rough surf, and water running up to most of the dunes.
Some areas in Brownsville, South Padre Island and Harlingen could receive anywhere from 4 to 6 inches of rain in areas with poor drainage.
The upper part of Cameron County, Willacy County and the eastern parts of Hidalgo County are expected to receive three to four inches. The far western parts of the Valley may see one to two inches of rain.
The NWS said the best chances for flooding are Tuesday night through Wednesday afternoon.
On the Island, intense rip currents are expected at the Isla Blanca Jetties. It is possible the water will reach the dunes during high tide early Wednesday morning.