Weather Weekend: Rain Continues as We Watch Florence from Afar

Hurricane Florence could meander along the east coast, battering the Carolinas for days with catastrophic rainfall, storm surge and high winds.
Hurricane Florence could meander along the east coast, battering the Carolinas for days with catastrophic rainfall, storm surge and high winds. Courtesy the National Hurricane Center
It's been a great week, if you like rain. If you are near the coast, you better really like it because much of the upper Texas coastline has gotten quite a lot of rain throughout the week. Unfortunately, that trend will continue right through the weekend.

The farther south you are, the more rain you got this week. Rainfall totals over the last week range from more than 10 inches closer to the coast to less than an inch in the northern and western parts of Harris County. The ground is saturated in areas south of Houston so any more rain will result in additional flash flooding, particularly on streets.

Thursday should be the one day where we may see a bit of sunshine, particularly north of Interstate 10. It will be hot and humid, per usual. By Friday, there will be a disturbance moving across the southern Gulf of Mexico, which we discussed at length here on Tuesday. Forecasts remain in good agreement that the disturbance is unlikely to develop into anything more than a depression or very modest tropical storm.

The track brings it on shore well south of Houston, probably just south of Corpus Christi. Because the storm is likely to be disorganized, rainfall should spread well north, but it isn't going to stick around. Areas closer to the coast like Galveston, will get the worst of it, but it shouldn't be any worse than what we've seen this week.

So, Friday and Saturday will be soggy again, but not quite as bad as last weekend. The good news is things should begin to clear up and dry out starting Sunday. There is even a decent possibility of the first real cool front of the year late next week, but let's not jinx it.

Watching the Tropics

First, let's get the stuff close to us out of the way. Forecast models are not calling for significant development of the disturbance in the Gulf, as mentioned above. So, no worries there.

Behind that is Tropical Storm Isaac, downgraded from a hurricane yesterday. It should move westward into the Caribbean, but there are signs it could redevelop just south of Hispaniola, but only one of the reliable models is calling for any significant development and both models are split over where it will go (one, south into Central America, one north toward Florida). It's pretty much a wait and see on that, but it doesn't appear likely it will approach Texas.

Finally, there is Hurricane Florence. This is obviously no threat to us here in Houston, but watching the forecasts and seeing the satellite images are a sobering reminder of 2017 and Hurricane Harvey. For the Carolinas, this could actually be worse because it would combine a massive sustained rainfall event with a catastrophic storm surge and wind damage that could, for some spots, last several days. It is not hyperbole to say this could be an unprecedented disaster for the U.S. East Coast. We all watch in wonder of Mother Nature and in hope for those in the path of the storm that they remain safe.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke