Category: Tropical weather

Locally, the weather this week will be pretty standard for mid-August. It’s going to be hot. There will be a few opportunities for storms, but the majority of the week will see the majority of Southeast Texas dry. More on this in a second. First, let’s talk solar eclipse.

Eclipse outlook

We’re one week from one of the most talked about astronomical events in the U.S. in a long time. It’s certainly exciting, and understandably, there’s demand for eclipse weather forecasts. So, we’ll be happy to offer up our opinions here. First, locally, I think we look pretty standard in terms of thunderstorm chances. Odds are it will be partly to mostly sunny with just a few developing showers, mainly south and east of downtown Houston.

The initial outlook for eclipse viewing in Houston looks pretty typical for mid to late August: Sun, some passing clouds, and developing showers southeast of town.

 

The good news is that, assuming standard summer weather here in Houston, you probably won’t have to drive very far to get out of a downpour and into sunshine. All in all, I’m optimistic on our weather for the eclipse right now. We’ll keep you posted.

Some of you may be considering traveling into the path of totality of the eclipse, which stretches from Oregon into Wyoming across Missouri and offshore from South Carolina. We take a crack at things here, using some major cities along the path (Hopkinsville and Carbondale are the approximate locations of the greatest eclipse and longest duration of the eclipse respectively).

It’s a bit early to pin down exactly how things will look, but initially, the greatest chance of disappointment may be on the eastern edge of the eclipse path over the U.S., in South Carolina. This can certainly change, however.

 

Based on a brief look at the weather models for next Monday around the time of the eclipse, the best chance of rain may be in the Carolinas. Models disagree further west (including Nashville, Hopkinsville, Carbondale, and St. Louis), with a chance of rain showers potentially. For now, I’d spin it optimistically. I don’t see any reason to be overly nervous in any given place. I am watching a band of cloud cover showing up on some models from northern Colorado into Wyoming and perhaps the Plains (think Lincoln, NE & Kansas City). Again, it’s quite early for a precise cloud cover forecast, but we wanted to offer up an early opinion for you. Look for further updates this week.

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Just a quick update tonight. As expected, Tropical Storm Cindy appears to be headed toward landfall near the border between Texas and Louisiana. This north-northwest movement has spared the Houston metro area from heavy rainfall this evening, and kept the bulk of precipitation over the Beaumont area, and Louisiana.

Cindy’s rains from Wednesday night onward will threaten East Texas more so than Houston. (Weather Bell)

During the overnight hours it seems likely that some of those rain bands will work their way into Houston, at least on the east side of Interstate 45. But even so I’d expect moderate accumulations, likely no more than 1 to 3 inches, and probably less than that for most people. Because the storm is turning to the north-northwest now, it looks like Houston will also escape sustained winds of tropical storm strength during the overnight hours. I’d expect winds to die down on Thursday afternoon.

After Cindy moves inland on Thursday morning, likely around sunrise, the storm will gradually move north throughout the day, taking the potential for heavy rain with it. I’d expect a chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms to linger, however. We’ll take a comprehensive look at the forecast ahead in a new post tomorrow morning. Until then, breathe a sigh of relief—this bout of tropical mischief has left us largely alone.

Posted at 10:10pm CT on Wednesday by Eric

Just a quick update on Wednesday afternoon to say that our forecast from this morning holds—effects from Tropical Storm Cindy are unlikely to be too significant for the greater Houston area. Mostly, we can expect some heavy rainfall. The only thing that could change this is if the storm follows a westerly track into the Galveston area, but at present that seems to be a low probability.

Rainfall

We’re starting to see some convection firing up on the west and northwest side of Cindy’s center today, but the storm is running out of time to become a real rainmaker for the Houston region as it will near the coast tonight, and move inland by Thursday morning. The water vapor image below shows some of the convection developing out in front of Cindy as the storm moves northwest toward the Texas-Louisiana border.

Water vapor image from early Tuesday afternoon. (US Navy)

Most of the model guidance suggests the Houston region will likely see 1 to 3 inches of rain from Cindy later today, tonight, and on Thursday. Generally, rain chances will be greater to the east of Interstate 45. Given the tropical nature of this system, we can’t rule out some isolated bullseyes of 6 inches, but I think we can confidently say this is likely not going to be a major flooding event for the area.

Average rainfall totals from GFS ensembles for now through Friday. (Weather Bell)

Tides and winds

At present waves are coming up onto Bolivar Peninsula, and seas are rough, but road conditions along the coast are generally manageable. Rip currents are a concern as well. It looks like high tides will reach a maximum of about 4 feet above normal.

In regard to winds, expect some gusts tonight in the upper 20s or low 30s in the city, and possibly in the low 40s along the coast. Sustained winds will be lower.

We’ll keep you posted as conditions change.

Posted by Eric at 1:55pm CT on Wednesday

 

Tropical Storm Cindy began moving again on Tuesday evening, but after strengthening into a 60-mph system it has become a little ragged overnight. Increasing wind shear and dry air have caused the system to look like something less than a tropical storm. This bodes well for the Houston region, as without wrap-around rains the storm seems unlikely to bring the worst—floods and damaging winds—into the area.

Track

Cindy has been moving to the northwest overnight, and models now generally agree that the system will turn north toward the Texas-Louisiana border later today. It should make landfall around midnight tonight, or during the pre-dawn hours Thursday. This would place the greater Houston region on the left side of Cindy tonight and that should make some difference in our weather conditions.

Official forecast track of Tropical Storm Cindy at 4am CT. (National Hurricane Center)

Rainfall

During the last 24 hours Cindy’s northern rain bands have battered the northern Gulf Coast, generally producing 4 to 6 inches of rain across a widespread area along Interstate 10 from Louisiana through the Florida panhandle. More is coming today while the west and southern sides of the storm remain mostly dry. This is due to the asymmetric structure of the storm in which most of the severe weather is north and northeast of the center. Read More…