Throughout Monday afternoon and evening, the vertical wind shear over Claudette weakened as forecast and as a result, she was able to better organize and intensify. At 05Z today she was upgraded to a hurricane, and the Houston NEXRAD clearly showed an eye and eyewall in the storm, which aircraft recon confirmed. This makes her the first July hurricane since Bill '97. Another interesting statistic that Phil Klotzbach (CSU) pointed out to me is that Claudette is one of the longest-lived named storms in July ever. This afternoon at 21Z, she will be tied for 2nd place with Dorothy '66, and if she lasts until Wednesday at 15Z she will tie Bonnie '96 for 1st place. The last US hurricane landfall was Lili '02. At 15Z today, Hurricane Claudette was located at 28.5N 96.1W and tracking WNW at 9kts. Instenisty is 70kts and 981mb, with a 30 nautical mile wide eye. This will put landfall near Port O'Connor, TX at about noon local time. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for much of the TX coast, and some optional evacuations have already taken place. The storm surge is about 8' above normal tides, and places along her path can expect about 8" of rain. Coastal and inland flooding will be the primary threat. She will weaken rapidly once the eyewall makes landfall, as that cuts off the fuel source for the hurricane's engine. You can monitor the eyewall making landfall at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/radar/latest/DS.p19r0/si.kcrp.shtml
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