Good afternoon. We just want to offer an update on the upcoming rain situation for Houston, as it continues to look like a pretty significant event will unfold tonight over the region. If you read our post this morning, we told you that later today and tonight would be the issue. So just because it’s been dry today for most of us, don’t think this event is a bust. Things are going to change quickly tonight.
- Scattered strong to severe storms this afternoon with large hail a possibility.
- Weather deteriorates rapidly after 7 PM this evening, and if you can stay home for the balance of the night, it is advisable.
- 1-4″ of rain on average tonight with some pockets seeing 4-8″ or more.
- Rain may end after 2 AM or so, leading to a dry start to Friday.
- More rain to come tomorrow night and Saturday.
Next few hours/severe weather
There are a handful of downpours across the region today, but thus far, nothing significant has developed. Through about 4-5 PM, we should see this kind of story continue. After 4-5 PM, weather modeling is in good agreement that more numerous storms will begin to pop up. Given that the atmosphere has had all day to destabilize (and it has done so rather considerably), any storms that form late this afternoon will be capable of large hail and strong winds. Isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out either.
The Storm Prediction Center is outlooking Southeast Texas for potentially significant hail this afternoon, should any storms get going. (NOAA)
Severe weather is a distinct possibility anywhere in the area this afternoon and evening, but especially south and west of Houston. In fact, the Storm Prediction Center has us in a “hatched” area for hail risk now, which basically means that significantly large hail is possible.
I have looked at a lot of data today, and it seems to me that consensus favors a steady, significant escalation of rain after about 7 PM tonight. If you don’t need to be out on the roads after 7 PM, we would strongly advise you stay put. If you do have to be out, please make sure you have a safe route to get where you need to go, or stay put until conditions improve. Flash flooding is most dangerous and hardest to see at night. Storms will become more numerous and likely to setup over the heart of the Houston metro area, focusing along or north of I-10 initially, and then drifting slowly south as the night progresses.
The HRRR model depiction of total rainfall tonight implies 1-4″ on average, with “lollipop” totals of 4-8″ or even more in isolated locations. This is just one possible outcome, and should not be taken to be gospel. (Weather Bell)
Rainfall rates of 1 to 4 inches in an hour will be possible anywhere in the Houston area tonight and with storms likely to track repeatedly over certain areas, street flooding is likely in parts of the city and suburbs and bayou or additional river flooding is a very good possibility as well.
The image above shows the HRRR model’s forecast of total rainfall between now and 7 AM Friday. Don’t focus specifically on what it shows for your area, but rather just note the big picture idea it shows for the region: A widespread 1 to 4 inch rain, but “lollipop” totals that are much higher. Those are the areas we are especially concerned with for something worse than just street flooding, and those could be the ones that see as much as 4 to 8 inches or even more. So that is why we are very concerned about tonight. As I said this morning, it will not flood everywhere, but it could flood anywhere in the region. We will know more about which areas those could be later this evening.
A strong boundary or front could cross through the region after about 12-2 AM or so, which should kick most of the rain off to the east, allowing most of us to dry out a bit toward morning, but at that point the damage will have been done.
Beyond tonight, we should still see at least some scattered storms tomorrow, but the focus may be south of Houston. Look for another wave to lift heavy rain and storms through the Houston area tomorrow night and Saturday, with more flooding a possibility. We will worry about that tomorrow. We will have more later this evening, as the rains unfold.