I wanted to take a few minutes this morning to explain what happened with our forecasts for potentially very heavy rain on Friday night and Saturday, why we made the decisions we did, and then talk about what’s ahead for Houston in what will remain a wet pattern for a few more days.
For a couple of days Matt and I have been talking about the potential for very heavy rain in Houston this weekend, especially Friday night and Saturday morning. We weren’t alone, of course. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch. A lot of people were concerned. But I can only speak for our forecasts.
By early Friday afternoon we were pretty concerned, and wrote so here. Several high resolution forecast models were showing the potential for very heavy rains and severe storms later that evening and during the overnight hours.
These model forecasts were predicated on a capping inversion, an area of warmer air above the surface that prevents surface moisture from rising, breaking down. This didn’t seem like an unreasonable expectation, but unfortunately we don’t have good, timely data on the “cap.” The best information we have comes from “soundings,” essentially weather balloons sent into the upper atmosphere twice a day. But there are no Houston soundings. For Houston, the closest sounding locations are in Lake Charles, La. and Corpus Christi. A 7pm CT sounding from Lake Charles showed there was a stronger cap in place than the models were predicting.