Category: Houston weather

Moving on from Imelda

Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:27 AM

Imelda is thankfully in our rear-view mirror now, and we can begin the process of cleaning up from the latest in a slew of problematic flooding events in Southeast Texas in recent years. Eric and I will take some time to process this and recap it for you in some capacity next week. The weather doesn’t stop, so let’s discuss our weekend.

First, let’s talk about residual Imelda-related issues. Most bayous across central, southern, and western Harris County are back in their banks this morning. We do still have flooding issues in eastern Harris County.

  • Greens Bayou is still out of banks downstream of Highway 59 to the Ship Channel. It has crested and should be back in its banks soon at Mount Houston. Greens will continue slowly falling downstream today.
  • Garners Bayou is out of its banks at the Beltway, but is falling.
  • Cedar Bayou has crested at Highway 90 and is falling. It should crest soon at FM 1942.
  • Both the East and West Forks of the San Jacinto River have crested in major flood. They should both be back in moderate flood later today.

The San Jacinto River below Lake Houston will rise and crest in major flood today before slowly dropping back this weekend. (NOAA/NWS)

The San Jacinto River near Sheldon (above) continues to rise and should crest this afternoon before slowly falling this weekend.

Folks living along the Brazos River, you have nothing to worry about, as rains both over you and upriver were not too significant this week.

Those trying to travel to or from Beaumont, note that I-10 is shutdown at the San Jacinto River due to multiple barge strikes. And it sounds like it might be awhile.

I-10 also remains closed in both directions between Winnie and Beaumont due to high water.

Today

Not everyone will see showers or storms today, but they will be around. Any storms today will probably move south to north at a slow, steady clip, so they could put down a quick inch or so of rain. While this won’t lead to widespread problems, there could be a handful of locations today that see some short-fused street flooding or some rises on bayous. Again, we don’t expect anything significant. With a good deal of clouds still, we should see highs in the mid- to upper-80s.

Weekend

Both Saturday and Sunday should see a mix of sun and clouds with just a chance of a shower or storm in a few spots. We’re sort of back to typical late summer this weekend. Look for highs near 90 degrees or in the low-90s and lows in the mid- to upper-70s.

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Houston should see a mostly quiet night, storm-wise

Posted by Eric Berger at 9:32 PM

As anticipated, the greater Houston area radar has quieted down considerably with the loss of daytime heating. And thank goodness for that.

During the overnight hours we can’t rule out development of additional showers and thunderstorms, but we’d expect these to be fairly scattered and are not particularly concerned about additional, prolonged heavy rain. We just do not anticipate anything too organized getting going—although Lord knows Imelda has surprised us. Rain chances are probably a little higher to the east of Interstate 45 tonight, but again we don’t expect accumulations to be more than about a quarter of an inch where rain does fall.

A mostly quiet radar at 9pm CT Thursday is a beautiful thing. (kktv.com)

We are well beyond the worst of Imelda, but we’re likely to see a decent chance of scattered storms on Friday, with chances diminishing further into the weekend. We should see mostly sunny days with highs in the upper 80s on Saturday and Sunday, which sounds pretty darn nice after all we’ve been through. Matt will have a comprehensive update in the morning.

Good afternoon, everyone. Before jumping into the forecast, I just wanted to provide some perspective. Since the National Hurricane Center began naming Atlantic storms in 1950, just two tropical storms have had their names retired: Allison, in 2001; and Erika in 2015. Soon we will have three, with Imelda.

Many readers will certainly remember Allison. It made me want to become a meteorologist. Tropical Storm Erika was a prodigious rainmaker that killed 31 people in Dominica and Haiti. There will be time over the coming days to put Imelda into historical perspective. But here are a few quick thoughts:

  • For parts of Golden Triangle, the rain intensity and impacts were worse than Hurricane Harvey, which is staggering.
  • For that region, Imelda is overall worse than Tropical Storm Allison was for Houston.
  • And in Houston, this Allison-lite. The heaviest rains (25″+) so far have been in relatively rural parts of Montgomery County. Amazingly, there are locations in Harris County under 1 inch for the entire storm.

Thursday evening

You don’t need a meterologist to tell you that the incredibly productive rainfall band that began this morning in Montgomery and Liberty counties has sagged southward, soaked Harris County, and is now mercifully now moved toward the exits. It should (mostly) continue to push slowly out of Fort Bend, Brazoria, and Galveston counties between now and sunset.

Just go away, Imelda. (kktv.com/Space City Weather)

The atmosphere over Houston is pretty worked over. We should generally see diminishing storm coverage heading into sunset, and later this evening although we can’t rule out the re-development of some showers and thunderstorms. For the Houston metro area, we feel pretty good about not seeing another super-organized band of storms like we saw today—or anything approaching it. Areas far north of Houston, and we’re thinking more Walker and San Jacinto counties than Montgomery and Liberty counties, could see some more organized development later tonight.

Friday

Scattered showers will be possible Friday, but these generally should pop up, move through, and be done. They could exacerbate flooding in some areas, but their transience means they should not cause significant problems in and of themselves. Conditions continue to improve over the weekend.

Roads are a mess. Imelda messed with Texas. (Drive Texas)

Alas the damage is done. Anyone traveling today likely had a rough go of things. If you can stay home this evening, please do so. The roads should generally improve for tomorrow morning, but that assumes the forecast behaves tonight. If you experienced flood damage today, I am so sorry. Imelda has sucked and needs to move on.

Note: The site will go down for 10-15 minutes at about 6pm CT Thursday to ensure another outage like Wednesday night does not occur.

Simply put, all heck is breaking loose across the city as a slow-moving band of heavy rainfall slogs through Houston today. Unfortunately, while we knew heavy rainfall was likely in parts of the city today, we did not anticipate an event as significant in scope as this for Thursday. So far we have seen rainfall rates of 4 and 5 inches per hour in parts of the metro area, and it has caused widespread problems for much of Houston. Here’s three separate systems as of noon CT that bear watching.

Houston area radar at noon CT. (kktv.com/Space City Weather)

It is hard to have too much confidence moving forward, but very generally we can expect these storms to sag slowly to the south during the rest of the afternoon. We think rainfall rates have probably peaked as cloud tops associated with the system have started to warm a little bit, indicating less potential to produce the very heaviest rainfall rate. But in a slow-moving storm, 3 inches per hour can flood is more than enough to very quickly cause flooding.

The key message right now is that if you are in a dry location and it is raining heavily at your outside, you should not leave. If you have to drive through heavy rains, or heavily hit areas to get to your destination, stay where you are. Above all, do not drive into high water. A lot of people die that way. This storm will pass. We still have a general expectation that the overall system will weaken during the afternoon hours, and begin to dissipate after sunset.