Posted by Eric Berger at 8:33 AM
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.
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.
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.
Posted by Eric Berger at 6:54 AM
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).
Posted by Eric Berger at 2:38 PM
This morning we touched upon the likelihood of a tropical system coming into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend, and now that the National Hurricane Center has declared this a tropical depression there has been heightened focus on the system. As the depression is currently under low wind shear and over warm water (nearly 85 degrees), we can expect this to become Tropical Storm Nate soon. Before we discuss the track and intensity forecast for this storm, I want to be clear that at this time we really do not view this system as a significant threat to Texas.
Likely track of the tropical system between Wednesday afternoon and Saturday. (NOAA/Space City Weather)
The system will interact with Nicaragua over the next 24 hours as it moves north, and perhaps Honduras and Belize, bringing significant rains to those locations. There is general agreement that it will get pulled into the Gulf of Mexico by Friday night or Saturday morning, perhaps passing over northeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, or moving through the straits between the Yucatan and Cuba.
After that time there’s some uncertainty. The GFS model (12z run) wants to keep the system on a north-northwest track, and bring it into Louisiana (or possibly even eastern Texas). Here’s a map showing the ensemble forecast for the “center” of the tropical system on Sunday morning:
12z GFS model forecast for the tropical system. (Weather Bell)
You might look at this and be somewhat alarmed, given the proximity to Texas. However the GFS doesn’t seem to be handling the overall pattern very well, and you would think that if this storm followed such a track it would become quite a bit stronger than what is shown here. Therefore, I would discount the GFS model at this time.