It may not have a name but a tropical disturbance will bring heavy rain this week

Heavy rain on the way (again)

National Weather Service Houston

So here we are a whole four days into hurricane season and we are already talking about a tropical thing in the Gulf of Mexico. The blob currently designated as Invest 91L (an Invest is an area of interest the National Hurrican Center is watching for potential development) at one point looked as though it had a chance to develop into some kind of organized system now looks like it will remain an amorphous blob. However don't let its nameless status fool you. 91L is going to be a player in our weather as it will bring heavy rain over the course of the next couple of days. So what is the story? Lets dive in...

WHY: A large area of low pressure has been in the southern Gulf of Mexico for a couple of days now slowly drifting toward the east Mexican coast far south of Brownsville. While at one time it looked like this system could develop enough to acquire the characteristics of a minimal named tropical storm (minimum winds of 39 MPH) it now appears time is running out for that to happen. To use a analogy - the system has been like a car sputtering its engine over the past few days never really able to get going. Now that it is approaching the coast it has run out of roadway to get the wheels turning. However, even though the engine may not be running very well there is still a ton of fuel (moisture) in the tank. That fuel is leaking out and being pushed our way. While this may not be the most scientifically accurate analogy I think it sums up the situation in a mostly understandable way.

Over the next two days a couple of features in the upper atmosphere, one to our west and one to out east, are going to create a windfield that will funnel the moisture from 91L into Southeast Texas.


Model showing movement of atmospheric moisture (called precipitable water moving into Southeast Texas between today and late Wednesday night. Redder colors indicate higher moisture.Weathermodels.com

The area of low pressure that is 91L combined with an area of low pressure off to our northwest will help provide the lift necessary to turn all of this moisture into rain. With that being the set up here is what you can expect.

WHEN: Rain showers could start as soon as this evening or late tonight and will continue throughout the day on Wednesday and probably into Wednesday night. By mid day Thursday things should be quieting down. Timing of the heaviest rains is going to be difficult to pin down but right now it looks like Wednesday morning is the currently the favored time (unfortunately for rush-hour), however this could easily change.

WHERE: All of the area will probably see rain from this event but amounts will be less further inland and increase as you get closer to the coast. These tropical air masses are notorious for dropping high accumulation bulls-eyes in isolated spots but those exact locations are nearly impossible to predict. If I were placing a wager I'd say the heaviest rain from this event will be most likely somewhere close to and south of the HWY 59 corridor.


Heaviest rain probably somewhere along and south of the red line

HOW MUCH: There has been some disagreement among the various computer models about how much rain we can expect out of this system. Some are showing as little as 2-3 inches while others are showing 5-7 inches with scattered bulls-eyes of 9-12 inches.


GFS (American) model of foretasted rainfall totals through Thursday evening.Weathermodels.com


European model showing foretasted rainfall totals though Thursday evening.Weathermodels.com


NAM (North American Model) showing foretasted rainfall totals through mid-day ThursdayWeathermodels.com

Usually when there is a big split in the models we like to hedge and forecast somewhere in the middle. However with a very moist tropical air mass like the one coming in, my personal thought is that the totals will be a little higher than what the middle ground would suggest. In my estimation 4-6 inches seems like a good guess south of 59 with 2-3 inches north of 59. But if you happen to get caught under a particularly heavy storm those totals could well be exceeded. While rain totals are the sexy stat around here these days, this is going to be another event where the rainfall rate is going to be the real issue. Rain will not be constantly falling for 36 hours, instead there will bands of rain that come through with breaks in between. However within those bands we may see multiple inches fall in a short period of time. As a general rule most of our streets are designed to handle 1-2 inches of rain per hour. However this system has the potential to produce rainfall rates of 3-4 inches per hour. Again not everyone will see that kind of rain dump, but someone probably will, we just cant say who exactly. With those kind of rainfall rates street flooding could be come an issue. I do not anticipate this being a major damaging flood event but I think street flooding is possible if not likely in some areas so you should just be mindful of that fact and plan accordingly, especially if the timing happens to coincide with rush hour. I know "Turn around don't drown" has become a tired phrase around here, but seriously don't drive through water, more often than not it is higher than you think it is.

I will be back with an update tomorrow morning. In the mean time feel free to find me on Twitter @stephenuzick for more weather stuff or if you have any questions.

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This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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