Weather Week: Rain Remains in the Forecast, But Less of It

Tropical Storm Gordon is expected to gradually strengthen on its way to the northern Gulf Coast.
Tropical Storm Gordon is expected to gradually strengthen on its way to the northern Gulf Coast. Courtesy the National Hurricane Center
Rain descended on Houston over the holiday weekend as a low pressure system just off the coast of Texas spun slowly through the area. Hardest hit were areas along the coastline. Galveston saw widespread flooding and some spots in and near the island received 10 to 12 inches of rain on Sunday and Monday.

Most of the rain began to move out of southeast Texas Monday evening and while showers will linger into Tuesday, we should get a much needed break in the rain as the week continues. The good news is the temperatures were unseasonably cool, not even reaching 80 degrees on Labor Day.

The shortened work week finds quite a bit less rain in the forecast. Like a normal summer in Houston, there will be periods of rain mixed with sun throughout the week, but much less of the heavy stuff. In fact, most of the week will be partly cloudy with a chance of afternoon showers and thunderstorms, like a typical September in Houston.

There isn't a solid indicator of a cool front within the next week, but we are now only about three weeks away from the statistical end to hurricane season for the Texas coastline. And speaking of hurricane season...

Watching the Tropics

The reason forecasters urge people in areas affected by hurricanes to stay vigilant was never better illustrated than over the past week when it took only a few days for the tropical Atlantic to go from fairly quiet to busy as rush hour traffic on the West Loop.

Closest to home is Tropical Storm Gordon, moving west-northwest after passing over the very tip of Florida on Monday. It is being steered by a fairly sturdy high pressure system sitting over the eastern U.S. and is moving rather rapidly as well. The National Hurricane Center is expecting Gordon to strengthen slowly as it approaches the northern Gulf Coast and make landfall somewhere between New Orleans and Pensacola overnight on Tuesday.

Gordon is not expected to be a major hurricane and it is quite small as storms go, but compact storms have a tendency to be unpredictable and it bears watching Tuesday and into Wednesday. Along the Texas coastline, we should feel few effects from the storm — perhaps a lingering shower, but that's about it.

Further out is Tropical Storm Florence, which is in the central Atlantic. While it is a strong storm, it is unlikely to reach hurricane strength over the next few days. Most of the forecast models are calling for it to gradually turn northward and it is not expected to be a threat to land, though the European model has had a few recent runs with a very large hurricane off the east coast in 10 days. Right now, we won't know much about where it is heading for at least a few days and it won't impact us in Texas.

Behind Florence are a series of tropical waves moving off the coast of Africa. Models are calling for gradual strengthening of a couple of them, but even if they were to threaten the United States, they are two weeks from doing so.

There are some hints of a potential tropical disturbance next week in the southern Gulf as well, but nothing of any significance.

The point here being that if you were a little complacent about hurricane season to this point, you can see that there is no reason to remain that way. Don't worry, but be prepared just in case.
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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