Category: Tropical weather

A peek ahead at hurricane season

Posted by Eric Berger at 6:52 AM

We’ll get to the forecast in a moment, but first I wanted to discuss the forthcoming Atlantic hurricane season, which begins on June 1. Matt addressed this topic last week, but we’ve continued to receive questions about the upcoming season, largely due to an alarming forecast that has gone viral. I would echo precisely what he said, that you should treat any calls for an extremely active season, at this point, with a very healthy dose of skepticism.

This is especially so for the coming season, because it’s not clear whether an El Niño or a La Niña will develop in the Pacific Ocean (see embedded tweet below from National Hurricane Center forecaster Eric Blake, a friend of the site) this summer. The presence, or absence, of an El Niño is the single greatest predictor of activity during an Atlantic hurricane season.

Because we have no confidence in whether an El Niño, La Niña, or none at all will develop during the months of the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, we can have a corresponding lack of confidence in tropical activity during the season itself. So please, don’t sweat it. Now, onto this week and weekend’s forecast, when we at least have a decent chance of coming close to the mark.

Wednesday

It’s chilly this morning across the region, with lows generally in the mid- to upper-40s except for areas along the coast. With full sunshine we can expect a banner day, with highs in the mid-70s across most of Houston. Then, we’ll see another gorgeous sunset and low temperatures tonight about 10 degrees warmer. This probably will be one of the nicest days of the year in Houston. Savor it.

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Hurricane Nate is moving rapidly toward the northern Gulf of Mexico coast on Saturday morning, likely making landfall tonight in extreme southeastern Louisiana and the Mississippi coast. Probably the biggest concern is the potential for storm surge.

4am CT forecast track for Hurricane Nate. (National Hurricane Center)

Nate shot the gap between the Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba on Friday, allowing its center to remain over water, and it is now taking advantage of low wind shear to intensify. Nate had 85-mph winds as of 7am Saturday morning, and could strengthen further before landfall. Reconnaissance aircraft show Nate to be a lopsided system, with all of its significant winds on the east side of the storm. With that in mind, here is a look at the storm’s principal threats.

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Watching TS Nate, waiting on a cold front

Posted by Eric Berger at 6:35 AM

Houston remains in a warm pattern that’s going to persist for a few more days before some kind of cold front is likely to drag through the area next week. We may also see some showers related to Tropical Storm Nate this weekend, but nothing we should be too concerned about.

Friday

Mostly sunny and hot, with highs in the upper 80s. Not much to say about today, other than it’s going to be a typical, late-summer day for Houston.

Saturday & Nate

Tropical Storm Nate should emerge into the Gulf of Mexico early on Saturday morning and move north fairly rapidly, likely reaching the northern Gulf of Mexico coast by very early on Sunday morning. The high-confidence forecast track from the National Hurricane Center looks like this:

Three-day forecast for TS Nate. (National Hurricane Center)

Along such a track, Houston may see some precipitation from the outer bands of the storm, but this is nothing we’re too concerned about. Likely, it won’t rain for most people, and accumulations seem unlikely to be more than 1 inch for those that do see rain—if that much. Nate should also keep tide levels higher than normal for the next day or two along the upper Texas coast.

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It’s been hot in Houston. Wednesday’s high temperature reached 89 degrees, and the nights remain humid. This late summer-like pattern will remain for about five more days, before a cool front arrives next week, most likely on Tuesday. In this post we’ll also discuss Tropical Depression 16. (Update: This became Tropical Storm Nate in the 7am CT advisory from the National Hurricane Center).

Thursday and Friday

Warm, mostly sunny days linger under the influence of high pressure. We will continue to see high temperatures near 90 degrees, with overnight lows around 70.

Thursday: It’s another warm morning across the entire state of Texas. (Weather Bell)

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday

For the most part, we can expect mostly sunny days, with continued warm weather. However, as the tropical depression—likely Nate by then—moves into the Gulf of Mexico we may see some moisture associated with the storm that produces some rain showers over Houston. I’d bet on hot and sunny, but we’re going to leave open the slight possibility of some rain for now, and issue a forecast with more confidence tomorrow. (Either way, we’re not expecting significant, flooding rainfall).

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