Thirty-three years ago this week, Hurricane Alicia came ashore on Galveston Island causing billions of dollars in damage and killing 21 people. This week's rainfall may not be in the same universe with the destructive power of a hurricane, but it is tropical in nature. Moisture is being pulled up from the Gulf of Mexico and creating steady rain throughout East Texas and Louisiana, the latter of which has seen some of the worst flooding in its history.
For Houston, it's far less serious and doesn't appear to be worsening. Parts of the Houston area have received as much as 10-12 inches of rain over the last 3-4 days but only minor street flooding has been reported. That should continue throughout most of the week as this pattern of wet weather will continue.
By the weekend, forecasters are now calling for a gradual decline in rain chances. It won't go away completely — this is Houston in the late summer, after all — but 60 and 80 percent chances will diminish to 30 and 40 percent by late Friday and into Saturday.
Given the time of year, however, expect there to be a persistent threat of rain for at least the next few weeks. More importantly, this is the time of year when the tropics truly heat up. The National Hurricane Center recently increased its tropical weather forecast for the season, now calling for between 12 and 15 named storms. We have currently had five and the Atlantic Basin is beginning to see a significant uptick in activity as we move into the peak of the season.
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For the Texas coast, our storm chances drop dramatically by the last week of September, but for the next five weeks or so, Houstonians need to be wary of the tropics. As we have seen the last few days, particularly for our neighbors to the east, you don't need a hurricane to have severe weather.