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23 Sep 2004 16:35
Hurricane Ivan is making an encore appearance in the Gulf of Mexico, this time as a tropical storm that could come ashore along the coasts of Texas or Louisiana.
After hitting Florida on September 16 as a hurricane, Ivan weakened and broke apart as it travelled north through the United States, drenching southern and mid-Atlantic states before returning to sea.
Its remnants then swung southward, growing slightly as they travelled over warmer waters.
The regenerated storm was expected to make landfall along the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday night, and could bring 80kph winds and 13cm to 25cm of rain.
Ivan already has kicked seas up several metres, posing a threat to fragile barrier islands and their beaches in both states, and forced some offshore oil and gas crews to head home.
“It looks like from what they told us earlier that probably we’ll see some minor coastal flooding [and] beach erosion sometime tomorrow,” said Tesa Duffey-Wrobleski, Galveston County’s emergency management coordinator.
In Louisiana, Cameron Parish leaders were keeping an eye on the storm but hadn’t issued any evacuation orders yet, said Emergency Preparedness Director Freddie Richard Jnr. The swampy parish is located in the south-west corner of the state.
The National Hurricane Centre issued a tropical storm warning for the Gulf of Mexico shoreline from the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana west to Sargent, Texas.
Forecasters said the centre of the storm was poorly organised.
At noon GMT, Ivan had top sustained winds near 72kph and was about 153km south-east of Cameron, Louisiana.
It was moving north-northwest at about 24kph.
Hurricanes only rarely return to open water, regain strength and threaten land again, said Richard Knabb, a meteorologist with the hurricane centre.
“It doesn’t happen very often,” Knabb said.
The first round of Ivan and its remnants were blamed for at least 52 deaths in the US and 70 in the Caribbean. Much of the destruction was caused by flooding.—Sapa-AP
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