WeatherMap

Welcome to the new SportsMap weather update

National Hurricane Center

So I know what you are thinking. "Oh sh**, the weather nerd is back – now what is it." I wouldn't blame you for thinking that, but this time my presence on SportsMap is a bit more benign (for now). Instead, this is the first post in what will become a regular bit on SportsMap where I hope to give you a little weather information every couple of days while you stop by to get your daily fix of Rockets drama, Texans ineptitude, or Astros baseball. My hope is that every few days I can be a source of drama-free and easily digestible weather information for you. I'm not going sit here and tell you a hurricane is coming four weeks out or that a regular thunderstorm is the apocalypse. I'm not getting paid enough (or rather at all) to make up stories like that. I hope you stick around and find what I plan to do here useful. Now with that intro out of the way lets get to the weather:

If you have paid attention to any local news over the weekend you probably heard about the possibility of some action in the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, its true, but hold your horses. I'll get there in a minute.

Lets start with the story for the next couple of days - the heat. Today, tomorrow, and Wednesday all look to be typical July days. An area of high pressure has situated itself overhead and that basically means the oven is turned up to broil. For the next 3 days skies will be mostly sunny and temperatures will climb into the upper 90's each afternoon. This is Houston, so what would the heat be without oppressive on top of it. The heat index or rather the "feels like" temperature will be between 105-110 degrees each of these days. Cooling rain showers are highly unlikely during this period but not completely impossible. If you happen to get one consider yourself lucky - maybe go buy a lottery ticket or something. If you work outside you know the drill by now, this will be one of the hottest stretches of days we have seen so far this year.

Ok, now on to the tropical update, eye on the gulf, gulf watch, gulf tracker 3000, or whatever your favorite news station calls their segment on tropical weather. Over the next few days a storm system currently over the southeast US will dive south into the Gulf near the Florida panhandle. This is where the high level of certainty ends with this feature. Over the past couple of days computer models have really struggled with what happens to this system in terms of how it develops and where it goes. The National Hurricane Center gives this system a 60% chance of developing into at least a tropical depression over the next 5 days (see image at the top of this post). Currently it does not look to be a huge concern for us as the thinking is that the system will stay east of the Houston area. It is still far enough in the future though that I can't say our chances of seeing any action from this are absolutely zero, but we have a good amount of time to watch it. I'd say that right now somewhere between New Orleans and Pensacola, Florida has the highest odds of seeing impacts from this system. No matter where it goes though it does not look to be a very strong system once it gets there. Once the forecast becomes a bit clearer you can bet I will be back to let you know.

You can find me on Twitter @stephenuzick

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After a short turnaround, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to their Mecca at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the famed Coca-Cola 600. Of all the races in NASCAR, after Daytona this race may be the most important race on the schedule. The tradition started back in 1959 when former driver and hall of famer Curtis Turner teamed up with Burton Smith to build the track and upon its completion, they decided to make the first race at the new track on the same day as the Indy 500. In an effort to draw fans, they made the race 100 miles longer and from there the rest was history. This year's rendition will be somber though as no fans will be permitted to enter due to Covid-19, but even in this time of unrest it will be a relief to continue to see our heroes take on NASCAR's longest race.

For the first time, NASCAR pulled off it's first midweek race and it was a doozy. For most of the race there was a wide range of characters who were up front. Clint Bowyer set the tone early as he went on to win the first two stages but after getting caught in traffic he fell back. To make matters worse, Bowyer was involved in an accident that ended any chance of victory. While it wasn't the outcome he would have hoped for, to see how well he ran is a sign of good things to come for the Kansas native. I look forward to seeing how he rebounds.

With Bowyer out of it, the attention shifted to Chase Elliott. All night it seemed like he had the second best car and looked to be on his way to another victory but after the caution for Bowyer, Elliott lost a ton of track position after a bad pit-stop. This left the sports most popular driver stuck in traffic, but he was able to make his way back to second. In the final laps, he was easily the best car and appeared to be on his way past Denny Hamlin to take the victory but Kyle Busch had other ideas. The defending champion made a sudden right hand turn and veered into Elliott sending him head on into the wall.

It was safe to say that Elliott was not pleased as he gave Busch the one finger salute as he drove by under caution. The race was not able to resume as Mother Nature intervened giving Hamlin his second win of the season. Many fans and experts alike were critical of Busch's stunt, Jeff Gordon was quoted as saying "Not sure what that was all about." When the race was over, Busch was confronted by Elliott's Crew Chief Alan Gufston. When it was said and done security had to be called to separate the two. While it might not have been intentional, Busch has opened up a can of worms in the future for retaliation. It will be fun to watch what happens next.

Overall, the response to NASCAR's midweek race was overwhelmingly positive as it was the third highest watched event on television. As NASCAR continues to be fluid, more and more people are becoming interested. NASCAR journalist and reporter Adam Stern tweeted that more than thirty percent of the viewers of Sunday's race were new viewers. Even though we may not always agree with the way NASCAR does things, I have to say they have done an outstanding job at putting this schedule together. I hope that in the future, NASCAR continues this new tradition.

Moving on to Charlotte, The driver I have winning this weekend is Chase Elliott. In every race this season, Chase has been a force to be reckoned but has simply run into circumstances he can't control. At Vegas before the shutdown, he seemed to have the race in hand until a flat tire ended any chances of victory. Two weeks later at Phoenix, he led ninety-three laps until fading to a seventh place finish and with a new-found fire lit under him after Darlington, Elliott will be like a bull in the china shop come Sunday. While he has been great at every track he has run at, he has been especially fast at Charlotte. He currently has a 10.60 average finish there and has consistently led laps. This week, I think Elliott will get redemption and claim his sixth career victory in one of NASCAR's crown jewels. Look for him to take his #9 Napa Camaro to victory lane.

(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com the best website for all NASCAR stats)

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