Tracking the rain

WeatherMap Imelda update: The storm went easy on us last night, but we are only at halftime

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Good morning everyone. By and large the Houston metro area made it through last night unscathed. While I know people are already starting to label this storm a bust, we are really only at halftime here. Last night the storm progressed further inland than originally expected which is what raised my concern for heavy rain last night. Thankfully that did not develop over the city and most spots ended the day yesterday with very manageable rainfall totals in the 2-4 inch range. Further south though coastal areas of Brazoria and Matagorda counties got absolutely hammered. Spots near Freeport for example picked up 15-20 inches of rain yesterday. So with the first half in the books lets take a look at where things go from here.

From the time concern really began to rise regarding this storm back on Monday the Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning period was really the period we were most worried about. This morning the center of the storm has broadened as it "unwinds" now that it is over land, however this does not mean the rainfall potential decreases. On radar we can see that the center is near The Woodlands and strong bands of storms extend well to the south along the coast and curve back up into the Beaumont area.


10 AM radarCollege of DuPage

Over the course of the day today and into tonight I expect coverage of heavy rain to move further inland as the center continues pulling off to the north. Two of the high resolution short range models we use have continued to show an intense band of storms developing along the I-10 corridor between Houston and Beaumont late this afternoon and into tonight. We will have to watch how this develops as the afternoon commute could be impacted.

One model's simulated radar Wednesday morning thru Thursday lunch time.Weathermodels.com


Another model's simulated radar for Wednesday morning thru Thursday evening.


Foretasted accumulations through Thursday evening from the model in the image above


If this band does indeed develop and parks itself over the wrong place flooding will be a concern. With these models try not to focus on pinpoint locations, rather look at the general idea that another round of heavy rain is still in the cards. While it does appear that the most likely location for for bombs of very high accumulations has shifted a bit to the east, say east of HWY 59, it is not time to let or guard down yet.

I know people are itching to say this storm amounted to nothing but hype, but it would be unwise to declare it dead yet. This area has a history of storms that bring a light first punch only to return with a knockout blow a day or two later. While I am in no way comparing the impacts of this storm to Harvey or Allison it is important to remember that both of those storms had people declaring them busts halfway through before the second round came. If by Thursday night all is well, I will personally declare Imelda a bust, but we are not there yet.


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NASCAR heads to Thunder Valley on Sunday for the Food City 500. This will be the first short track race of the season as the guys will make a quick turnaround after running their second race at Charlotte on Thursday. This track is easily one of the most intense and high intensity type racetracks on the schedule. It's a 0.5 mile one groove race track with twenty-six degrees of banking in the corners. Its layout is similar to the nearby Nashville Fairgrounds.

This track is known for its close quarter beatin' and bangin' type racing, so there's a good chance that somewhere along the line someone will put the bumper to someone else which could cause upset drivers at the end of the race. The one thing I am looking forward to during this race is the return of the 750 horsepower package. Over the last couple of years this has provided the best finishes of the season including a fantastic battle between Denny Hamlin and Matt DiBenedetto last fall. Should Mother Nature cooperate this race will definitely be a good one.

On Wednesday when we were all ready to go racing, Mother Nature had other ideas as the race was postponed to Thursday. When the green flag flew, it appeared as if Joey Logano would be the car to beat as he went on to take the first stage of the race. But after that, he faded to fourth after Alex Bowman and Kevin Harvick took over the top two spots. They would battle it out until the late stages of the race when Bowman smacked the wall in turn four ending his chances of victory.

Later, when it seemed like Kevin Harvick was able to get away with twenty-eight to go, Chase Elliott took over the lead and never looked back as he went on to take the victory. It was finally sweet redemption for NASCAR's most popular driver. After the heartbreak of the 600 and Darlington, lady luck finally smiled upon the #9 Camaro. With the victory, Chase and his team proved that they are a force to be reckoned with all throughout the 2020 season.

While Elliott might have taken most of the spotlight, a driver that had a great result was Ricky Stenhouse Jr as he went on to finish 4th. When the teams got to Daytona, things seemed promising for the Mississippi driver as he won the pole for the 500 and seemed to be in contention, but late in the race things went haywire after crashing entering pit-road ending his chances. As the season went on the struggles continued. His average finish over the last five races would be 22nd including a disastrous lap one crash in the return race at Darlington.

Overall, while it wasn't a winning result, Ricky's #47 Krogers Camaro showed great progress as he was able to drive all the way to the top three at one point and looked to have a car to contend with Elliott and Harvick for a while. It is good to see this driver run well considering how much criticism he has received over the last couple of years. I look for him to follow up at Bristol with another good run.

The driver I think will win this weekend is Matt DiBenedetto. Now I am sure you may think I am going on a limb here but let's not forget, Dibenedetto had this race won in the fall until he collided with the lapped car of Ryan Newman. He comes to this track in a great situation and has been running extremely well this year as he finished 2nd at Las Vegas and is currently in the playoffs. As we all know, he has come from the small teams like the now defunct BK Racing. He has made the steep climb to where he is now and this week, I think he will give this historic team their 100th career victory and punch their ticket to the playoffs.

(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 websites for all NASCAR stats)

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