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Hermine crosses into Texas

Photo by Nate McCullough

Photo by Nate McCullough

McALLEN, Texas -- Tropical Storm Hermine began to lose its punch as it pushed north Tuesday, after causing landslides in northeast Mexico and leaving one Texas town almost entirely without power.

As when Hurricane Alex lashed the same flood-prone Rio Grande Valley in June, there was a feeling that Hermine could have been worse. There were no reports of serious injuries or major damage early Tuesday, and authorities ordered no evacuations.

Hermine dumped between 5 inches to a foot of rain after crossing into Texas late Monday. The storm made landfall in northeastern Mexico with winds up to 65 mph, arriving near the same spot as Alex, which killed at least 12 people in flooding in Mexico after remnant rains from the storm.

But unlike Alex, which swiped Texas then plunged southwest into Mexico, Hermine was felt in more places.

''This is going to be much more of a memorable storm than Alex,'' National Weather Service meteorologist Joseph Tomaselli said Tuesday.

Hermine left all but one block of Raymondville, about 20 miles off the Texas coast, without electricity and ripped roofs off several buildings. A 5-year-old girl was also cut by broken glass when gusts from the storm threw a trampoline through the window of her family's home, said Robert Supulver of Willacy County's emergency operations center.

''It was a lot of wind, a lot of rain coming real fast,'' Supulver said.

As many as 30,000 homes were without power in the Rio Grande Valley early Tuesday, according to an online outage map of American Electric Power, the area's power utility. A company representative did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Shelters throughout Rio Grande Valley were on standby but mostly kept their doors shut, and offers for sandbags saw relatively few takers.

Flash flood warning remained in effect Tuesday, but officials said first reports only indicated nuisances such as high water on neighborhood streets.

Hermine might have been no Alex in terms of strength, but it wasn't taken lightly: Mexican emergency officials in Tamaulipas worked to evacuate 3,500 people around Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, and schools on both sides of the border canceled classes Tuesday.

By early Tuesday, the center of the storm had crossed the Rio Grande River. The National Hurricane Center said the storm was about 15 miles south-southeast of Falfurrias, Texas, and 65 miles southwest of Corpus Christi. It was moving north-northwest near 17 mph.

A tropical storm warning was in effect from the mouth of the Rio Grande north to Port O'Connor, Texas. Tropical storm warnings that had been issued for Mexico were canceled early Tuesday.

Hours after Hermine made landfall, Coast Guard Ensign Scott Kimball said a fishing vessel had run aground at a jetty near South Padre Island. He did not have any more immediate details.

Hermine was expected to weaken into a tropical depression.