Houston may not be at the heart of Tropical Storm Cindy, but that hasn't stopped The Weather Channel from setting up shop right in the middle of town.
A meteorologist and a camera crew headed to the pavilion in Eleanor Tinsley Park, along Buffalo Bayou and Allen Parkway, Wednesday afternoon and plan to be there until 9 a.m., around the time when the storms will roll in.
Paul Goodloe, an on-screen Weather Channel meteorologist who used to live in Houston, said that while the city may be on the safer side of the storm — if it can be called that — "it's still not out of the woods," he said. Houston is still bound to see some heavy rainfall and thunderstorms overnight and into tomorrow. One to three inches are expected, with gusts of wind between 20 and 30 miles an hour and even up to 40 in some isolated spots. And while that may not sound particularly menacing, Goodloe has lived here long enough to know that rainstorms in Houston have a habit of taking the city by surprise — particularly overnight.
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"In Houston, we know we are no strangers to floods, be it just from regular heavy rainstorm events, definitely from tropical events, or from the remnants of a hurricane — Patricia — that caused massive flooding," Goodloe said. "We might come out here and see an inch or two of rain, the grass gets fed and we move on — but what if?"
Goodloe said that the type of surprise Houston will need to look out for is localized flooding caused by what's called "training" — essentially, a train of thunderstorms.
"With these tropical systems, you cannot pinpoint exactly where you will have training, which is rainstorms coming over the same location hour after hour," he said. "So while Buffalo Bayou only gets a half inch of rain, maybe Brays Bayou gets six inches of rain. So it's a localized event based on random chance of where those storms set up. That's happened several times here in Houston, so it's definitely always our big concern when we have such a huge population in a big metro area."
Goodloe stressed that Houstonians shouldn't take the storm system for granted, and should remain cautious as the system makes its way toward the coast. It's expected to make landfall sometime after midnight and move inland Thursday. Stay dry, y'all.