Category: Texas weather

It was a wet, soggy night in Houston. Several bayous briefly topped their banks, including White Oak near downtown. Several dozen streets flooded. But all in all, for a rain storm that generally dumped 5 to 10 inches across the Houston metro area, most people managed to come through really well.

Only light to moderate rain is falling on Houston this morning as of 10 a.m., and this should come to an end from west to east between noon and about 6 p.m.

As the rains have ebbed this morning the number of road closures has fallen to seven, so it should generally be safe to be out and about later today if necessary.

Although rains during the last two days have been a major inconvenience for map people, that have sapped a severe drought that had been developing over much of Texas. (NOAA)

Although rains during the last two days have been a major inconvenience for map people, that have sapped a severe drought that had been developing over much of Texas. (NOAA)

 

For the Houston metro area the most significant issues are along the coast, where the remnants of Patricia are kicking up high strong rip tides and pushing water over low-lying areas such as Bolivar Peninsula. Winds are strong too, gusting to over 45 mph along the coast in places like Galveston. Read More…

Moderate to heavy rains are falling tonight as moisture streams into Houston.  As Patricia’s remnants have moved across Mexico and into the western Gulf of Mexico this evening we have also seen increasing wind gusts, already over 30 mph in Galveston.

The big question, of course, is how much more rain the region will get tonight. Already, since about noon today, most of the Houston metro area has received 3 to 5 inches of rain. We’ve managed that OK, for the most part, because our very dry soils soaked that rain up, and rainfall rates weren’t exceptionally high — generally below 1 inch per hour.

But now the soils are soaked, bayous are beginning to rise, and the rain’s still coming. (Much of the metro area is presently under a flash flood watch.) I posted a similar image to the one below on social media earlier, and it highlights why meteorologists remain quite concerned about overnight rains.

(Intellicast)

(Intellicast)

 

There’s a lot going on here. The low pressure system off Brownsville is the remnants of Patricia, now back over the Gulf. It’s not expected to develop as it follows a trough of low pressure and moves up the coast. But to be a potent rainmaker it needn’t develop. As the system moves north-northeast it should help feed moisture (rain) into the upper Texas coast, including the Houston region.

At the same time the radar to the southwest of Houston — i.e. Corpus Christi — is dry. This is because dry air associated with a front is trying to move east, as well. This dry air will help to end rain showers tomorrow in Houston. But it could play some role tonight in weakening activity.

In the end my best guess is that we’ll see an additional 3 to 7 inches of rain over much of Harris and Fort Bend County, and coastal counties including Brazoria, Galveston and Chambers during the next 12 hours or so. If this rain comes all in a bunch, during a few hour period, it will overwhelm some bayous and exacerbate current high water problems on roadways.

White Oak Bayou in the Heights at about 10 p.m. (Jeff Lindner/HCFCD)

White Oak Bayou in the Heights at about 10 p.m. (Jeff Lindner/HCFCD)

 

It is going to be a close call tonight, and I will be up to track it. My next post will come around midnight or shortly after.

Posted at 10 p.m. CT

The first significant rains have moved into Houston this afternoon and early evening as 1 to 3 inches have generally fallen across the area during the last six hours.

Rain accumulations from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday. (HCOEM)

Rain accumulations from 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday. (HCOEM)

 

Houston’s bayous have thus far handled the inflow of rain, no doubt aided by the fact that the region’s parched soils have sucked up some of the water and rainfall rates generally have been less than 1 inch an hour.

If the rains hold steady like this there will be few problems. But will they hold steady or increase in intensity? The answer is that, for some areas, tonight will bring mostly steady rains. But for other areas things will get much more intense. Read More…

Patricia has weakened into a tropical depression over central Mexico this afternoon, and it’s continuing to move north-northeast toward Texas. Although its circulation has diminished dramatically, its remnants will combine with an upper-level disturbance moving into Texas from the northwest, and also draw moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

It looks something like this on the surface wind map:

Surface winds at noon. (earth.nullschool.net)

Surface winds at noon. (earth.nullschool.net)

 

This will lead to a substantial rain event for Texas, including the upper Texas coast. The principal threat remains heavy rain, and more specifically very intense hourly rain rates that exceed the capability of roads and bayous to carry the water away.

Read More…