Weather

Dear Houston: About The Tropical Weather Coming This Weekend...

The National Hurricane Center gives this disturbance a 20 percent chance to develop into a tropical depression over the next five days.
The National Hurricane Center gives this disturbance a 20 percent chance to develop into a tropical depression over the next five days. Screenshot - the National Hurricane Center
We mentioned it in our weekly weather update, but thought it deserved a little more discussion here given some of the more recently updated forecasts. No need to bog down in a bunch of technical, weather nerdery. Let's instead focus on what is forecast and what is likely to happen between now and next Tuesday by answering a few questions.

What is happening?

The National Hurricane Center is monitoring a tropical wave that is crossing the Yucatan Peninsula (or is forecast to do so) and moving into the Gulf of Mexico. This wave has been forecast on numerous computer models since late last week. The most dire predictions last week showed a hurricane hitting the upper Texas coast, while most others showed little to no development of any system at all. Models have now come into slightly better agreement that we'll probably get some kind of tropical disturbance between Mexico and Louisiana, but it isn't likely to be an organized system.

So, no hurricane?


It's highly unlikely at this point. In fact, it is unlikely even a tropical depression will form.

But it could be a hurricane, right?

It is technically possible, but the chances are extremely slim at this point as it won't spend a lot of time over water and there are other mitigating factors in the Gulf that should inhibit rapid growth of a system like this one. No one expects this storm to create any serious wind-related threats.

Where will whatever it is hit?


In the case of a broadly disorganized system as this, it really doesn't matter where the center of circulation makes landfall. In fact, they may have a hard time finding the center of circulation if it remains disorganized. But, because it is such a big mess, it will likely spread rainfall across a very wide area.

How much rain will we get?

At this point, no one is sure, but it seems likely we'll get a good soaking. The National Weather Service is calling for anywhere from 2 to 4 inches of rain between Saturday and Tuesday, though some isolated areas could get more than that.

Will it be enough to cause flooding?

Flash flooding, yes. Widespread flooding on the order of what we saw with Hurricane Harvey, Tropical Storm Alison or even the Tax Day floods of a couple years ago, no. We're talking about a messy, raining weekend with periods of thunderstorms that could result in some flash flooding and minor street flooding, but nothing substantial. Tides may also be high in places, so if you are in a low lying area where high tides impact you, it would be good to keep an eye on things. But, for the moment, we don't expect this to be much more than a steady rainmaker.

When will it hit?

Rainfall is expected to begin as early as Friday with some widely scattered storms, but most of the rainfall will be concentrated around Father's Day (ugh) and Monday of next week. It could be a wet beginning to the work week.

Don't we need the rain though?

Yes, we actually do. It's been a while since we've had any widespread, soaking rainfall and these types of disturbances are common for us in the summer. The good news is your grass will probably look killer by midweek next week.
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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