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Tropical Storm Don packs little punch

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Tropical Storm Don comes ashore
  • Wind speeds are below forecasts
  • The expected track of the storm is farther south than predicted
  • The storm could bring up to seven inches of rain to some areas

(CNN) -- Tropical Storm Don came ashore Friday evening, bringing a belt of much-needed rain but not enough to slake the thirst of parched Texas counties farther inland and not enough to carry much of a threat, officials said.

"I don't see anyone panicking or boarding up," said David Villareal, who operates David's Fishing Lodge in Port Mansfield. It is a departure point for those hoping to catch speckled trout and redfish in Laguna Madre, the bay between the mainland and Padre Island.

By 8:30 p.m. (9:30 p.m. ET), the storm crossed Baffin Bay and the Padre Island National Seashore, between Corpus Christi and Brownsville.

"We're seeing a very large area of light to moderate rainfall," said meteorologist Joseph Tomaselli of the National Weather Service's Brownsville office. "We're not seeing as much wind as forecast."

The system appeared to be rapidly weakening, he added.

The promise of rain for a larger portion of the state dimmed as the storm marched farther south than predicted. It also failed to strengthen before landfall.

Don, well shy of hurricane force-winds of 74 mph, was expected to weaken significantly, the National Hurricane Center said. While heavy rain was predicted for coastal areas Friday night and Saturday, the National Weather Service predicted no more than a 40% chance of scattered storms farther inland.

For example, the chance of rain was 20% in San Antonio, San Angelo and Abilene.

A narrow band west of the landfall could see between 5 inches and 7 inches of rain, but the predicted track shows the storm drenching primarily mountains in a slice of southern Texas and northern Mexico, then quickly dissipating by Sunday.

At 7 p.m. (8 p.m. ET), Don had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and higher gusts as it churned toward the west-northwest at 16 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical storm force winds extended outward up to 105 miles, mainly to the north and east of the center.

Any rain would be a welcome relief for many Texas farmers, who are suffering from the third-worst drought in recorded history, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

CNN's Dave Hennen, Phil Gast, Chelsea Bailey and Molly Green contributed to this report.