Heavy rain moving through the area. Stay alert for flooding issues.

Wednesday morning weather update

College of DuPage

I'm back with another weather update as this rainy mess associated with a tropical disturbance moves through the area. As expected the rain really ramped up over the metro area right around rush hour (hooray) and will likely be sticking around for a few more hours - probably until at least lunch time. Overnight the Weather Prediction Center (the part of the National Weather Service that monitors excessive rainfall and flooding threats) upgraded the excessive rainfall risk for Southeast Texas to a High Risk. This type of risk level is not issued very frequently which indicates the weather service is very concerned with the potential for flash flooding in the area.

Houston area under High Risk for excessive rainfall according to National Weather ServiceNOAA/NWS/WPC

Thus far the rain has been mostly manageable in the city but very heavy rain and flooding has been reported southwest of town down the 59 corridor near between Wharton and Richmond. The band of heavy rain causing problems southwest of town has been struggling to move much this morning, which is why flooding has become a problem in that area. As I write this a Flash Flood Warning has been issued for areas southwest of Houston until 12:45 this afternoon.

National Weather Service Houston

The general consensus is that this area of heavy rain will eventually swing to the northeast towards the Houston area and points southeast. Recent radar trends do not have me totally convinced it will make it all the way into the greater metro area before weakening, but that is not to say it won't. Computer models have been less than stellar today, but they have been painting coastal areas with 6-10 inches of rain through late this afternoon.With these water-loaded tropical air masses it is often difficult to predict when and where a heavy dump of rain will set up. These heavy storm cells can very quickly flood streets with rainfall rates of 3-5 inches per hour having already been observed. So while it may be ok where you are presently, if one of these cells moves over you water may rise very fast.

Radar animation over the past hour and a halfGR Level 3 Radar

Overall I would say the threat is lowering for areas north and east of 59 but points near 59 and to the south and east need to continue to be prepared for heavy rain through at least mid-day.

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

The headline induced heart palpations in drive-thru burger fans across Texas and neighboring states … "Texas-based Whataburger sells to new owner amid expansion plans." While that sounds unsettling, the real concern is:

What does this mean to Whataburger's everyday (sometimes twice-a-day) customer in Texas?

In the immediate future — like tomorrow, next week, next year — probably very little. But in the long run, all bets are off. Most likely, there will be significant changes at your local Whataburger over the next three to five years.

Whataburger is now owned by a private equity company (Chicago's BDT Capital Partners), which may not know a Chop House Cheddar Burger from a Whatacatch Sandwich — and doesn't understand that when you're stuck in morning traffic on I-45, nothing beats a Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit.

That investment company bought Whataburger for only one reason: to make money. Shocking, that's what investment companies do. They are not fast food philanthropists. They're financial killers who want to see a return on their investment.

What's next?

So don't be surprised if they take Whataburger national. That's my big takeaway. It may mean Whataburger may have less Texas on its menu in the future.

The new owners are buying a very successful or stagnant company, depending on how you crunch the numbers. According to QSR Magazine, the bible of the fast food industry, Whataburger is only the No. 22 fast food chain in the U.S. — with total sales of $2.2 billion for its 821 restaurants across 10 states.

But, more important, Whataburger has the second highest sales per store, $2.7 million. That beats the average McDonald's, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy's, etc. — the whole bunch of national biggies. Only Chick-fil-A has higher sales per store, a printing press $4 million.

What a deal?

If Whataburger is so successful on a per-store basis, why did the owners sell? Two factors, one probably, one definitely. In Godfather terms, the investment company probably made them an offer they couldn't refuse. While Whataburger has phenomenal sales per unit, it was growing at a very slow rate — only 15 new restaurants in 2017. That same year, Chick-fil-A opened 140 new restaurants. Taco Bell opened 168 new units. Domino's expanded by 216 locations. Popeyes popped the lid on 147 places.

Continue reading on CultureMap to learn about how the rising price of beef could impact burger chains.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome