MCALLEN, Texas -- Sunshine and warm temperatures returned to rain-starved South Texas after Tropical Storm Don fizzled across the region before dawn Saturday, the National Weather Service said.
Don left less than an inch of rain across much of the lower Rio Grande Valley as it made landfall Friday night near Baffin Bay, a sparsely populated area of ranch lands about 40 miles south of Corpus Christi.
"No one really thought it would shrivel up and die so quickly," said Barry Goldsmith, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Brownsville.
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The much needed rainfall, most of which fell south of the storm's center, was not enough to break a drought that has dogged the region for months.
The tropical storm failed to strengthen as it battled pockets of dry air and wind shear as it approached the Texas coast -- factors that keep storms from growing, Goldsmith said.
By late on Friday evening, meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center had downgraded Don to a tropical depression.
"Once it came to the coast, it pretty much got destroyed," Goldsmith said.
U.S. offshore oil and natural gas producers re-staffed platforms in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday after evacuating some of them earlier in the week due to concerns over the storm.
The weakened storm and minimal rainfall was good news for cotton farmers in the middle of harvesting their crop, but elsewhere around the state farmers and ranchers have been devastated by the drought conditions.
"Tropical Storm Don didn't even put a dent in the drought across much of south Texas," said Rob Hart, National Weather Service meteorologist in Corpus Christi.
Texas remains stricken with varied drought conditions, from abnormally dry along the Rio Grande to exceptionally dry -- the most severe rating -- further north, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Nearly 75 percent of Texas is categorized as exceptionally dry, AccuWeather.com meteorologists said.
"With no significant rainmakers in the forecast for south Texas, we don't see any significant relief in sight at this time," said Hart.