Tropical system could bring flooding rain to our area

WeatherMap: Another heavy rain event is here

Pivotal Weather

When it comes to Houston weather nothing is gradual. Over the past couple of months we have slipped into a drought after a very wet past couple of years. Well this week that changes as Houston goes from drought to potentially flood in just a couple of days. In anticipation of this event the National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch from 1 PM today until 1 PM Wednesday, though in all likelihood this will be extended through Thursday.

The Set Up: An area of low pressure has set up in the Gulf of Mexico south east of Matagorda and will be sending extremely high levels of atmospheric moisture into our area over the next couple of days. The system could organize enough to become a tropical depression or tropical storm before moving in around Matagorda tonight, but that will be of little significance. The problem will be that this system will be moving very slowly between now and Thursday putting us under the gun for heavy rain.


Very high atmospheric moisture levels moving into the area over the next 72 hoursWeathermodels.com


How Much Rain: Computer models seem to be coming into better agreement that between Matagorda and Beaumont widespread amount of 5-8 inches of rain will be possible. The fly in the ointment is that there will likely be isolated jackpot zones that could see 10-15 inches of rain. Now if all of this rain were to be evenly disbursed over the next 72 hours there probably wouldn't be major impacts as the ground has been so dry. However, that is not going to happen. As is often the case with these tropical air masses, rain will come in very heavy bursts that can dump 3, 4, or 5 inches of rain in very short order. Right now street flooding in usual trouble spot looks quite possible, but more significant impacts, while not certain right now, are not off the table.

Best reasonable guess at rainfall totals through Friday morning. There could be spots that get higher amounts.Pivotal Weather

When: Rain is already coming down this morning which will serve help saturate the ground. The rain today shouldn't be too much of an issue. While there could be some heavy showers at times it should remain manageable. The time frame for more significant impacts looks to be between tomorrow morning and Thursday afternoon. During this time waves of heavy rain will move through piling up good accumulations in short periods of time. Depending on where the center of this system tracks Wednesday night into Thursday morning may need to be watched for what is called a core rain event. This is when very heavy rainfall concentrates around the center of low pressure at night due in part to temperature changed in the atmosphere after the sun goes down. This isn't a guarantee but is something that I am watching out for.

Where: This is the million dollar question. There is a good idea of the broad area of concern which I have highlighted in the map below.


Area of concern for heavy rain highlighted in orange box.

However, it is nearly impossible to forecast exactly which neighborhoods will see the heaviest rains. Unfortunately these events involve a good bit of "now-casting" where we have to watch how things develop to know which spots may be hit hardest. The key in these situations is to prepare as though you may be in one of the bulls-eyes and hope that you aren't. Any one location's odds of getting 15+ inches of rain from this system is low, but no where within the area of concern has a 0% chance.

The frustrating part of these storms is that there is high variability in what impacts will be. I am confident everyone will get at least a healthy amount of rain which should at the very least be beneficial for our parched yards. I am also confident that someone will get too much rain over the next 72 hours, but again, I just can't tell you who it will be. Right now the best thing to do is to be prepared for heavy rain and possible flooding impacts between late tonight and Thursday afternoon. I will be back later tonight or tomorrow morning with an update.

As always you can find me on Twitter @stephenuzick

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and blogger. Check out her new blog, HTown Run Tourist. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @HTownRunTourist. Facebook @jovanabernathy. Join her facebook group: H-Town Run Tourist

Six years ago, I got this great idea to become a tourist of Houston on foot. I had no idea what I was doing or where it was going. All I knew was to put on my running shoes, walk out the door, and just go. Go learn, go talk, go ask without judgements. What I found is that Houston was full of diversity. We all knew that. However, let yourself be immersed in it. Look and listen to the sounds of different languages being spoken around you. Smell the scents of the different cuisines. You would think you were in a foreign country. This made me more curious.

As I explored the emotion of curiosity, it led me to change my behavior. Where I might have rushed to this place and to the next, I took it slower. Where, usually, I would have just assumed that I already knew, I found myself asking more questions. When I asked more questions, I had to acknowledge that I did not already know, so I practiced listening. As I listened more, I felt compelled to show more appreciation to the person who interrupted their busy day to educate me. This made me feel grateful.

I took that gratitude and wanted to share with others. It blew my mind when people would say that they hated Houston. It was boring. The people are mean and it was ugly. And even more shocking was Houston is not walkable. Instead of getting offended, I decided to do my part in brightening up the day of the Houstonians who were stuck in a rut. Who saw and did the same things day after day. I didn't judge because I knew they could get out of that rut by simply deciding that today they do something different. I braced myself for rejection, but put myself out there to share the wonderful things that I had learned about Houston. Given the chance, the vast majority, was ready to learn a different way. This made me proud.

It is true that 2020 has been full of disasters. These are opportunities if we choose to see them that way. If anything that COVID-19 taught me the answer was not MORE, but it is LESS. We have the tendency to take on too much, we had the unique opportunity to take on less. Thus, instead of going to exhaustion, we had the opportunity to rest.

Then, the tragedy of the death of Houston's own George Floyd happened. It could not have happened at a worse time. My heart goes out to his family. Some might use it as an opportunity to work out their own frustrations by causing more problems with violence and looting. My hope is that whatever happens will be an expression of appropriate sadness, but with Houston's best attributes; curiosity, gratitude, and pride. Instead of LESS it is time for MORE. MORE curiosity. To see if Houston's law enforcement cares about the well-being of Houston's black community and make changes in protocols. MORE gratitude. For the opportunity to express the frustration in a peaceful way. MORE pride. To not destroy this city and give it over to violence possibly doing more damage to the economics of business owners. We can see this as the opportunity to take time to heal.

Houston has changed. As I restart my exploration, I'm not looking for LESS. I'm looking for MORE this time. I'm looking with MORE curiosity. Because I know that we have even MORE to show each other. I'm looking with MORE gratitude because we have endured so much already and there are better times ahead. And, I'm looking with MORE pride because just as we did it before, we still have it in us to do it again. I have one request: if you see me in the streets, promise me that you will say hello.

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