A storm is coming

WeatherMap: Afternoon Imelda update

Pivotal Weather

Well since this morning our tropical blob grew up into Tropical Storm Imelda, which lasted all of about an hour over the water before moving inland near Freeport. Right now the center of the storm is in Brazoria county, moving generally northward into Harris county.


College of DuPage

Rain bands will continue to move in over the area for the next few hours further saturating the grounds. Given the storm's position and speed I am becoming a little more wary of what is called a "core rain event." I mentioned this in my post this morning and it is basically where heavy rain consolidates around the center of a tropical low after sunset, and right now the center looks to move directly over Houston this evening. While I am NOT saying the entire city will see flooding tonight, I think that at the very least some street flooding is looking increasingly likely tonight into the wee hours of tomorrow morning. The models have held firm on 8-10 inch rainfall amounts around Houston and east towards Beaumont between now and Thursday evening but are still dropping 15-20 inch bombs on isolated areas. I feel like a broken record saying this now, but we just can't tell you exactly where those isolated spots will be. My best guess is somewhere near I-10 plus or minus a few miles to the north or south between Katy and Beaumont.


European model for total rain through Thursday afternoon.

I struggled with whether to include the above computer model image but I decided it was worth it to show the potential area of concern and also to show how sharp the gradient will be between a good lawn watering and something more disruptive.

As I said this morning, any one spot in the area has a relatively low chance of seeing those 15-20 inch amounts, however no spot as a 0% chance. I know it is frustrating to not have definitive answers but these systems are notoriously difficult to forecast when it comes to pin pointing bulls eyes.

As the center of circulation drifts north of town I believe we will see a bit of a break tomorrow morning into tomorrow afternoon. After that models are showing another band of heavy rain developing across the area later on Wednesday, but let's get through tonight before getting into that.

You can find me on Twitter @stephenuzick

Pay attention to the weather if you are out and about

WeatherMap: Severe storms Friday Night

National Weather Service

It has been a long while since we have had any significant weather to deal with in our part of Texas - really since Imelda back in September. However the atmosphere will become less benign in the next 24 hours giving us our first taste of severe weather (not including flooding) since last May. I won't get into the nitty-gritty of why storms are going to happen, however it is worth noting that the type of dynamic atmospheric set up being foretasted would be noteworthy even in "severe weather season" (ie the spring), no less in January. Will this be the apocalypse? No. However, it has been a long time since we have seen storms as strong as the ones being forecasted, and the timing (Friday night) makes it significant as it will be dark and people are more likely to be out and about. So lets get to it:

What: A strong storm system will be making its way across Texas on Friday with the atmosphere being primed out ahead of it with strong winds off the Gulf pumping ample warmth and moisture into the area. As this storm system approaches storms there will likely be two phases of storms we need to watch out for.

Phase 1 will be individual storms that manage to form during the late afternoon or early evening on Friday. While the odds of this happening are less than the storms in Phase 2, impacts could be just as, if not more, severe *if* it happens. These Phase 1 storms would be what are called discreet supercells. These are storms that exist on their own, not part of a larger line or blob. It is with these storms that large hail and a strong tornado is *possible*. Again, while there is good certainty that if they can develop they could be significant, there is a high level of uncertainty that they will develop. It is the storms in Phase 2 that will likely affect everyone. So lets move on to those:

Phase 2 storms will come in the form of an intense squall line moving from west to east across the area. The hail potential in these storms will be limited, however there is a rather significant risk of high winds (70-80 MPH+) and isolated tornadoes (weaker than what you would see from Phase 1 storms, but a tornado none the less). Also, the lightning will probably be spectacular. Let me speak to the Phase 2 tornado threat for a moment. Often with an intense line of storms small "kinks" can develop in the line causing rotation and a tornado. Usually the resulting tornado is very short lived (sometimes so fast it appears and disappear before the radar can spot it) and "relatively" weak, meaning weaker than its great plains cousins. However these types of tornadoes still pose a danger particularly to those caught outside or in a car. Make sure you have a way to receive warnings (ie. your phone), especially if you plan to be out Friday night.



Model simulated radar for Midnight Friday nightWeathermodels.com


When: Phase 1 storms, if they develop, would be some time during the late afternoon or early evening, but would be widely scattered. Phase 2 should push into the area as an intense line of storms somewhere between 11 PM and 2 AM

Where: Phase 1 would likely affect those further north and east. Phase 2 storms will get everyone. Again, it is not guaranteed that the part of the line that moves over your exact location will have damaging winds or a tornado, but no one is completely safe from that either.

While rain may be hard enough to cause very isolated spots of high water, the storms will be moving far to quickly to cause any real flood issues. After the storms move through this weekend looks great.

If anything changes I will be back with an update - and as always you can find me on Twitter @stephenuzick

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