The bad news: Anemic Don didn’t manage to bring any rain to parched Port Aransas, where drought conditions have persisted for months.
The good news: The tropical storm never achieved hurricane strength, and it didn’t seem to hurt tourism during the weekend.
Don limped ashore about 40 miles south of Corpus Christi on the evening of Friday, July 29. For a time, while it was in the Gulf of Mexico, the storm packed maximum sustained winds of up to 50 mph, but by the time Don headed inland near Baffin Bay, it had sustained winds of only 35 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
For a while there, forecasters thought the storm might bring three to five inches of rain to the Coastal Bend. But, when all was said and done, Port Aransas got no precipitation from Don.
Still, the storm served as a decent tropical weather drill for Port Aransas city officials.
“We treated it as an exercise. The city manager and police chief and I were monitoring the weather service conference calls like we would for any storm that is threatening,” said Mayor Keith McMullin.
“It was a good practice for us, and eventually, we dodged another one,” McMullin said.
City officials only went so far as to move portable restrooms and garbage cans away from their normal beach locations in case of a high tide.
Randy Sijansky, a consultant hired by the Port Aransas City Council several weeks ago, remains in the process of conducting an evaluation of the town’s hurricane preparedness, McMullin said. If Tropical Storm Don had become a greater threat, city officials were prepared to call on Sijansky to actively help the town prepare for a strike by the storm, the mayor said.
Port Aransas got plenty of visitor traffic during the weekend of July 30-31, despite the threat a few days earlier that Don might descend on the area.
The 12 condominiums and other lodging businesses operated by CCMS Resorts started got some cancellations during the week, said Jim Triplett, managing director.
But, by the end of the week, reservations were picking up again, he said.
“We actually realized a very good weekend, even after those cancellations,” Triplett said, adding that “most all” CCMS properties filled up. Seven of the CCMS properties lie in Port Aransas, and the rest stand a bit farther down State Hwy. 361 – the Island Road.
Thinking the seas might be rough, the folks operating Fisherman’s Wharf postponed a five-hour Wharf Cat fishing trip that normally would have taken place Saturday morning, said Jan Burns, manager.
But boats departed regularly for the rest of the weekend after that, and scads of anglers took advantage of the opportunities, Burns said.
“We recovered just about everyone we lost on that one morning trip,” Burns said. “I was shocked, but it was wonderful. We had a great weekend.”
Questions? Comments? Contact Dan Parker at (361) 749- 5131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.