Officials worry about river levees as Hurricane Dolly approaches

Tuesday, July 22nd 2008, 5:04 pm
By: News 9

McALLEN, Texas (AP) -- A hurricane is headed toward Texas.

Dolly spun into a Category 1 hurricane today, on a path toward the heavily populated Rio Grande Valley. Officials fear heavy rains could cause massive flooding and levee breaks.

Dolly was upgraded from a tropical storm this afternoon with sustained winds near 75 miles per hour. Some strengthening is forecast before landfall tomorrow.

Governor Rick Perry has issued a disaster declaration for 14 South Texas counties in advance of Dolly's arrival.

Texas officials are urging residents to move away from the Rio Grande levees. Cameron County authorities say that if Dolly continues to follow the same path as 1967's Hurricane Beulah, quote, "the levees are not going to hold that much water."

Forecasters predicted Dolly would dump 15 to 20 inches of rain and bring coastal storm surge flooding of 4 to 6 feet above normal high tide levels.

Lines grew at centers giving out sandbags in the Rio Grande Valley. In Hidalgo County, officials put out a call for volunteers to man five shelters that it planned to open for residents fleeing coastal counties.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)