Tropical Storm Cristobal continued to strengthen over the weekend as it headed north through the Bahamas. While it is expected to grow gradually into a hurricane, it will not be a threat to the U.S. Nevertheless, it killed three in the Caribbean with torrential rains and the flooding that accompanied them. As those of us who lived through Tropical Storm Allison remember, it doesn't have to reach hurricane strength to cause devastation.
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While Cristobal may not pose a threat to our area of the Gulf, or the U.S. in general, there continue to be reasons to remain concerned about tropical weather throughout the Atlantic Basin. A new disturbance designated Invest 97L has moved west of the Cape Verde Islands out into the Atlantic. It is not expected to develop for several days but could once it gets closer to the Caribbean, much like Cristobal.
For now, forecast models have 97L moving north of the Lesser Antilles, but we are a ways off to make those predictions. Behind 97L, another very strong disturbance should be moving off the coast of Africa sometime this week and bears watching, particularly given the fact that we are right in the heart of hurricane season and will reach its peak in the next couple of weeks.
Meanwhile back in Houston, we are baking under the sweltering heat of summer. The months of August and September represent the hottest months of the year for us along the Gulf Coast and last week was no exception. Still, we have yet to reach 100 degrees (official Houston temperature) this year, which is pretty remarkable.
Fortunately, as we get past the middle of September, we will begin to see the first cool fronts of the year push through the region effectively ending both the worst of summer and hurricane season...at least for us. Until then, we'll have to deal with the heat and keep an eye on the tropics.