Tropical Storm Hermine (2010)

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Tropical Storm Hermine
Tropical Storm (SSHWS/NWS)
Tropical Storm Hermine 2010-09-07 1725Z.jpg
Tropical Storm Hermine well inland, while still at tropical storm intensity.
Formed September 3, 2010
Dissipated September 9, 2010
Highest winds 1-minute sustained: 70 mph (110 km/h)
Lowest pressure 989 mbar (hPa); 29.21 inHg
Fatalities 52 direct, 50 indirect (100 more feared dead)
Damage $740 million (2010 USD)
Areas affected Central America, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas
Part of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season and the 2010 Pacific hurricane season

Tropical Storm Hermine brought widespread flooding from Guatemala to Oklahoma in early September 2010. Forming directly from the remnants of Tropical Depression Eleven-E in the Eastern Pacific, Hermine formed from the remaining low-pressure area in the Bay of Campeche on September 5. By September 6, the system intensified into a tropical storm, earning the name Hermine, and quickly intensified as it approached the northern Mexican gulf coast. Shortly before making landfall near Matamoros, Hermine attained its peak intensity with winds of 70 mph (110 km/h). Continuing inland, the storm managed to maintain tropical storm intensity for 16 hours before finally weakening to a tropical depression over central Texas. Turning northeastward, Hermine eventually tracked through Oklahoma before dissipating over southeastern Kansas.

In the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Depression Eleven-E, along with moisture from a monsoonal flow, brought torrential rains to southern Mexico and Guatemala. At least 84 people were killed in the two countries and damage exceeded $500 million. In northern Mexico, the effects of Tropical Storm Hermine were limited. Further north, severe flooding affected large parts of Texas and Oklahoma, killing eight people and leaving at least $240 million in losses.

Meteorological history[edit]

Map plotting the track and intensity of the storm according to the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale

Tropical Storm Hermine was first identified by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) on September 2, 2010 as an area of low pressure over the Gulf of Tehuantepec. Embedded within a monsoonal flow, development of the system into a tropical cyclone was not anticipated but, a burst of convection over the low warranted monitoring.[1] With favorable environmental conditions, such as low wind shear and warm sea surface temperatures, the system was able to maintain a small area of shower and thunderstorms within 70 miles (110 kilometres) of its center.[2] Despite the conditions, the NHC ceased monitoring the system early on September 3.[3] However, the low became better organized and it was given a "medium" chance of becoming a tropical depression within 48 hours later that day.[4] Within hours, the system quickly developed into a tropical depression, the eleventh of the season, while situated roughly 95 mi (155 km) southeast of Salina Cruz, Mexico.[5] Still embedded within the monsoonal trough, the depression tracked slowly towards the northwest. A small system, the depression developed a well-defined center surrounded by convective banding features, indicating that intensification was possible before moving inland.[6]

Further development took place through the morning of September 4. Prior to moving onshore, radar images from Mexico depicted a well-defined center with an eye-like feature, indicating that the system may have attained tropical storm status. Between 0600 and 0700 UTC, the center of Tropical Depression Eleven-E made landfall near Salina Cruz with winds of 35 mph (55 km/h).[7] At this time, the depression attained a minimum barometric pressure of 1005 mbar (hPa; 29.68 inHg).[8] Within hours of moving inland, the system degenerated into a remnant low pressure system, having lost much of its convection. However, tropical cyclone forecast models indicated that a new cyclone could develop in the extreme southwestern Gulf of Mexico.[9]

The mountainous terrain of the region caused the low-level circulation to weaken substantially; however, the system survived the crossing and began regenerating once over the warm waters of the Bay of Campeche on September 5. Following the development of convection and banding features, the low had become sufficiently organized for the National Hurricane Center to declare it a tropical depression, the tenth of the season.[10] A mid-tropospheric ridge over the northern Gulf of Mexico resulted in the depression taking a general north-northwest track,[11] with a forward speed of 14 mph (23 km/h).[10] Early on September 6, roughly 12 hours after being classified a depression, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration buoy near the system recorded tropical-storm-force winds, prompting the NHC to upgrade the depression to Tropical Storm Hermine.[10]

Throughout September 5 and 6, Hermine quickly developed, featuring very deep convection around its center.[10] Shortly before making landfall in northern Mexico, the storm developed a central dense overcast as it continued to intensify.[12] Around 0200 UTC on September 7, the center of Hermine crossed the Mexican coastline near the city of Matamoros. Upon moving inland, Hermine attained its peak intensity just below hurricane status; sustained winds reached 70 mph (110 km/h) and the barometric pressure decreased to 989 mbar (hPa; 29.21 inHg). As a result of the strengthening at landfall, Hermine was able to maintain tropical storm status for another 16 hours, by which time it was situated over central Texas. Moving along the western edge of the ridge, the depression turned towards the northeast, while continuing to weaken. Late on September 9, Hermine degenerated into a remnant low over northern Oklahoma, before dissipating over Kansas early on the next day.[10]


Rainfall from Tropical Depression Eleven-E and Tropical Storm Hermine in Mexico and the United States

Upon the declaration of Tropical Depression Eleven-E on September 3, the Government of Mexico issued a tropical storm warning from Boca De Pijijiapan westward to Puerto Ángel.[5][13] Once the depression moved inland on September 4, the warning was discontinued.[14]

Several hours prior to the classification of Tropical Storm Hermine on September 6, a tropical storm warning was issued for the entire coastline of Tamaulipas, Mexico. By 0900 UTC, the warning was modified to include areas north of the Texas-Mexico border through Baffin Bay, Texas. This was again modified to encompass areas between La Cruz, Mexico and Port O'Connor, Texas. Additionally, a hurricane watch was issued from the mouth of the San Fernando River in Mexico to Baffin Bay, Texas. Early on September 7, as the storm made landfall, the hurricane watch was canceled and the tropical storm warning was discontinued for areas south of Bahia Algodones, Mexico. Throughout the remainder of the day, warnings were gradually discontinued; however, they remained in place until Hermine weakened to a tropical depression as tropical-storm-force winds extended unusually far east of the center.[10]

Prior to Hermine's landfall, officials in Mexico issued evacuations orders for parts of northern Tamaulipas. An estimated 3,500 people heeded these warnings.[15] In Texas, the State Operations Center held a conference in relation to Tropical Storm Hermine to discuss emergency plans. Six flood rescue teams were placed on standby; Mass Care and American Red Cross were prepared to set up shelters; ten Texas Military high profile vehicles along with UH60 and CH47 helicopters were on standby for potential flood relief efforts.[16] By the afternoon of September 6, much of southern Texas was under a flash flood watch due to the threat of torrential downpours.[17] Tornado watches extended from the coastline to northern Texas along the right side of the storm.[18] As Hermine produced heavy rains from Texas to Missouri, the National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for many areas.[19] At one point, the entire state of Oklahoma was placed under a flash flood watch and most of the southeastern counties were under warnings.[20]


Central America[edit]

Tropical Depression Eleven-E off the coast of Mexico on September 3

Across Guatemala, heavy rains associated with a monsoonal flow and Tropical Depression Eleven-E triggered numerous landslides across the country. Along the Inter-American Highway, 41 people were killed after consecutive landslides buried a bus and rescue workers trying to pull survivors out of the trapped vehicle.[21] The initial landslide killed 12 people in the bus. Hundreds of rescuers came to the site to try to save as many people as possible; however, a second landslide struck the same spot, burying hundreds of people. According to press reports, at least 41 people died along the highway and more than 100 others are believed to be dead. Throughout the country, officials stated that 30 landslides took place. One of these killed four more people after destroying their home in Quetzaltenango.[22] Throughout the country, damage was estimated at $500 million.[23]

Heavy rains in Costa Rica associated with the system triggered a landslide that killed three people and displaced hundreds.[24]


Heavy impact was reported in southern Mexico, and several rivers overflowed their banks in the coast Oaxaca and thus a red (high) alert was issued.[25] A total of 50,000 people were affected from the depression in Mexico.[26] At least 46 people are known to have been killed throughout Oaxaca.[27]

The system produced locally heavy rains in Veracruz, with a peak measurement of 13.6 in (350 mm) in Alvarado. In northern Mexico, rainfall over 3 in (76 mm) was confined to coastal areas. Throughout northern Tamaulipas tropical-storm-force winds downed trees, power lines and damaged several structures. Sustained winds of 53 mph (85 km/h) and gusts of 67 mph (108 km/h) were recorded in Matamoros.[10] At least 20 homes were damaged throughout the city; no loss of life or injuries took place.[15]

United States[edit]

Throughout Hermine's track in the United States, the storm produced heavy rainfall, especially along the east side of the system. After weakening to a depression, Hermine produced torrential downpours over the Texas hill country, peaking at 16.37 in (416 mm) in Georgetown. Additional heavy rains fell in Oklahoma, Arkansas and as far east as Kentucky.[28] In these states, rainfall peak at 13.42 in (341 mm), 9.81 in (249 mm) and 6.7 in (170 mm) respectively.[29][30] Scattered areas of moderate to heavy rain also felled in Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois and Mississippi.[28]

In all, the storm resulted in eight fatalities, seven in Texas and one in Oklahoma,[31] as well as an estimated $240 million in damage.[10][10][32]


Radar loop of Tropical Storm Hermine moving through southern Texas on September 7

In Texas, strong winds were recorded in Harlingen where sustained winds reached 59 mph (95 km/h) and gusted to 73 mph (117 km/h). Elsewhere in Texas, large portions of the state east of where Hermine's center tracked recorded gale-force-winds.[10] Along the coast, the system also brought a storm surge, peaking at 3.4 ft (1.0 m) in Port Aransas.[10] Damage over the lower Rio Grande Valley was generally minor. Some trees and power lines were knocked down as a result of the high winds, resulting in power outages over the area. About 30,000 customers lost power at one time or another during the storm in the region. The hardest hit were in Cameron and Willacy Counties.[33] In central Texas, an estimated 100,000 residences were left without power, mainly in Bexar County, due to downed trees. According to surveys of the region, roughly 300 trees were downed by the storm. In Georgetown, where the heaviest rain fell, RV parks and nearby Interstate 35 were flooded, prompting a few evacuations.[34]

Throughout the state, hundreds high water rescues had to be made by rescue teams. Some areas recorded flood waters up to 5 ft (1.5 m) deep.[19] In Johnson County, more than 60 water rescues were made after flash flooding inundated numerous homes. According to fire Chief Richard Van Winkle of the Alvarado fire department, "This is about as bad as I've seen it".[20] In the town, one person was killed after he drove his car into a flooded street and was swept away.[20] In Arlington, 90 people had to be evacuated from an apartment building after a nearby creek flooded, leaving some of the rooms under 8 ft (2.4 m) of water. The creek also swept through a nearby neighborhood with enough force to uproot trees in its path. In Bell County, severe flooding resulted in one fatality after a 19-year-old girl drowned when her car was swept off a flooded road.[35]

Wind damage from Tropical Storm Hermine in Kingsville, Texas

Several tornadoes were spawned throughout Texas and Oklahoma as a result of Hermine.[34] A brief EF0 tornado, which resulted in little damage, was confirmed near Moulton, Texas.[36] In Colbert, a strong tornado destroyed one home and injured a truck driver after knocking his vehicle on its side. Another tornado struck Dallas just west of North Westmoreland Road near La Reunion Parkway, damaging several structures.[19] This tornado was later rated EF2 with estimated winds of 115 mph (185 km/h). This was the strongest tornado to strike Dallas since an F4 in 1974. Throughout northern Texas, six tornadoes were confirmed and several more likely touched down elsewhere in the state.[37]

According to the Red Cross, a total of 843 homes were affected by the storm throughout Texas; 68 were destroyed, 231 sustained major damage and 283 received minor damage.[38] Another flood-related fatality took place in Johnson County.[39] In Jamaica Beach, Texas, one woman drowned in a rip current related to the oncoming Hermine and others needed to be rescued.[40]


After moving through Texas, the remnants of Hermine produced widespread rainfall, locally heavy, in Oklahoma which triggered significant flooding.[19] One person was killed in the state as result of Hermine's passage.[10] Nearly all of Sequoyah County was left underwater, resulting in severe infrastructural damage. Nearly 30 mi (48 km) were washed away by the floods. Preliminary estimates placed damage in the county were $2.5 million.[41] Scattered power outages took place in the state, mainly attributed to tornadoes, with the Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company reporting roughly 5,000 outages. The National Weather Service confirmed three tornadoes in relation to Hermine, one of which struck Lone Grove, a town devastated by an EF4 tornado in February 2009.[42] During the morning of September 9, a second round of rain fell across eastern portions of the state, resulting in additional flooding. Along U.S. Route 69, a portion of the roadway was covered with several feet of water. Other state highways were flooded as well; however, most of the water receded that afternoon.[43]



In response to the substantial loss of life along Inter-American Highway, Guatemalan President Álvaro Colom declared a state of emergency for the country.[44] On September 6, President Colom declared a national day of mourning for victims of the storm.[22]

United States[edit]

As reports of widespread flooding came out of Texas, evacuation orders were issued for some of the hardest hit areas and seven shelters were opened in four counties. The Salvation Army set up mobile feeding units along the Interstate 35 corridor to support flood response operations.[45] In the wake of the severe flooding caused by Tropical Storm Hermine, Texas governor Rick Perry declared 40 affected counties as disaster areas and requested that 13 of these be federal disaster areas. Just two days after the storm's passage, insurance claims had reached $75 million and were expected to exceed $100 million.[46] In early October, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied governor Perry's requests for the 13 counties, stating that damage was not substantial enough to warrant federal aid.[47] However, it was argued that since most of the hardest hit communities were rural areas with limited resources, they would need assistance recovering.[48] On October 12, governor Rick Perry filed a formal appeal to President Barack Obama to reconsider the denial of public assistance. Following further damage assessments, governor Perry also stated that at least $13 million was needed to repair losses.[49] Following this appeal, FEMA again denied federal assistance.[48] On November 10, The U.S. Small Business Administration passed a disaster declaration for 18 counties in Texas, allowing residents to apply for low-interest loans.[50]

On September 10, Oklahoma governor Brad Henry declared a state of emergency for 13 counties and later requested federal assistance for Sequoyah County.[51] However, the request for federal aid was later denied by FEMA.[41]

See also[edit]


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  3. ^ Dan Mundell (September 3, 2010). "Tropical Weather Discussion for the Eastern Pacific Ocean". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  4. ^ Michael Formosa (September 3, 2010). "Tropical Weather Discussion for the Eastern Pacific Ocean". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
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  6. ^ Robbie Berg and Michael Brennan (September 3, 2010). "Tropical Depression Eleven-E Discussion One". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  7. ^ Todd L. Kimberlain (September 4, 2010). "Tropical Depression Eleven-E Discussion Three". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
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  12. ^ Eric S. Blake and Michael Brennan (September 6, 2010). "Tropical Storm Hermine Discussion Five". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved November 23, 2010. 
  13. ^ Staff Writer (9-4-2010). "Tropical Depression Eleven-E forms southeast of Salina Cruz, Mexico". Channel 6 news. Retrieved 9-7-2010.  Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)
  14. ^ Todd L. Kimberlain (September 4, 2010). "Tropical Depression Eleven-E Public Advisory Three-A". National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 6, 2010. 
  15. ^ a b Paul J. Weber (September 6, 2010). "Hermine gives south Texas another tropical lashing". Mercury News. Retrieved November 23, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Tropical Storm Hermine Situation Report One" (PDF). State of Texas, State Operations Center. September 6, 2010. Retrieved November 23, 2010. 
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  26. ^ Staff Writer (6-3-2010). "Tropical Depression 11-E makes landfall in southern Mexico". Retrieved 6-5-2010.  Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)
  27. ^ (Spanish)
  28. ^ a b David M. Roth (2010). "Tropical Depression 11E/T. S. Hermine - September 3–11, 2010". Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. Retrieved November 23, 2010. 
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External links[edit]