Claudette's path to Texas defies predictions

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- A drifting Tropical Storm Claudette loomed about 300 miles off the Texas coast Monday morning, continuing to defy forecasters' predictions about where and when the storm might make landfall.

Claudette was behaving in a manner "not typical" of a tropical storm in the Gulf, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said. The storm has begun a slow trek toward the north-northwest at about 6 mph, but forecasters have been expecting a more westerly turn for several days.

At 8 a.m. EDT, Claudette's maximum sustained winds were near 65 mph (100 kph), up from 60 mph Sunday evening, and forecasters expected "some strengthening." The center of the storm was about 290 miles (500 km) east-southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, the National Hurricane Center said.

Myers said the storm was now expected to make landfall late Tuesday or early Wednesday, and National Hurricane Center forecasters said warnings may be posted in some of the watch areas later today.

"The storm could still move farther to the north," Myers said. "Obviously these things have a mind of their own sometimes."

Claudette has taken so long to take the expected turn the west, Myers said, "that now I'm beginning to worry a little bit about Houston or even High Island." Both are in the tropical storm watch area.

"It's too early to tell because the storm is not moving very much," he said.

Monday morning, the National Hurricane Center extended a hurricane watch -- already in effect from Brownsville, Texas, to Port O'Connor -- northward to Matagorda. A tropical storm watch was also issued for Matagorda to High Island, Texas.

A hurricane watch remained in effect for the Mexican coast from Brownsville south to Rio San Fernando.

The National Hurricane Center said by the time the storm makes landfall, wind speeds could be close to the 74 mph line dividing a tropical storm from a Category 1 hurricane.