Patricia is no longer a hurricane, but it’s about to wreak havoc in Texas

“Turn around, don’t drown” is the motto in Texas this weekend.
“Turn around, don’t drown” is the motto in Texas this weekend.
Image: AP/Tony Gutierrez
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Hurricane Patricia was one of the strongest storms in recorded history when it approached southwestern Mexico yesterday (Oct. 23), but the tempest weakened dramatically after hitting the coast and sweeping inland.

Early this morning, Patricia was downgraded from a Category 5 hurricane to a tropical storm. By 10 am in Mexico, when people in Jalisco and Colima were emerging from shelters to find only “minimal debris” in the streets, and local airports had resumed flights, the storm was officially a tropical depression.

The low-pressure system dissipated further, but continued delivering torrential rain on vulnerable communities as it traveled over Mexico’s mountains.

Now, weather forecasters are turning their attention to Texas, where the remnants of Patricia are headed and expected to compound the effects of a separate storm system that’s been walloping the state. Flash flooding derailed a freight train 60 miles south of Dallas, where city police report they’ve responded to almost 500 calls for help on the roads today. A portion of an interstate between Dallas and Houston has been closed due to flooding, and residents are bracing for the kind of disaster that was supposed to unfold in Mexico.