Category: Tropical weather

A hurricane may move into the Gulf this weekend

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.

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After a stormy Tuesday, the rains should be over for now, as high pressure builds over Houston and somewhat drier air works its way into the region. For us, the next two big events to watch for are a tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico, and a much-anticipated cold front next week. Let’s discuss.

Wednesday through Friday

Building high pressure should lead to mostly sunny skies—look for highs in the upper 80s—along with warm nights with lows around 70 degrees. Aside from the late-summer like feel to the weather, we should have no concerns.

Saturday and Sunday

For now, the weekend simply looks pretty hot, with partly to mostly sunny skies and highs near 90 degrees. Lows should only fall to around 70 degrees. The good news is that after this weekend I’d say there’s only about a 50 percent chance of seeing another 90-degree day this year, so the end of summer really is nigh.

Saturday’s high temperatures could be one of the year’s last 90-degree days. (National Weather Service)

The caveat to this weekend’s forecast is the tropical system likely to form in the Gulf of Mexico, which could bring us some increased moisture and rain chances by Sunday—although for now I’d bet against that.

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The Texas hurricane season is probably over

Posted by Eric Berger at 6:50 AM

Every year I struggle with whether to write this post—because there’s always a chance it will be wrong. However, the fact is after this date the chance of a hurricane striking Texas is vanishingly low, about 1-in-50 for any given year. I’ll discuss this more below, after the forecast.

Monday through Wednesday

Houston’s late summer-like pattern will persist over the area for the next few days, with hot days and highs of around 90 degrees, steamy nights in the 70s, and scattered showers. A few thunderstorms could be pretty strong, but most of Houston will see moderate, little, or no rainfall over the next three days. Area-wide accumulations will probably be measured in tenths of an inch, if that.

Thursday and Friday

Warmer weather will hang around as a cold front backs into the area from the northeast. These northeasterly winds should arrive by sometime on Friday, but we may not feel the drier or moderately cooler air until Friday night or Saturday morning. Until then we can expect more warm days and muggy nights, with slight rain chances.

Dewpoints early on Saturday morning show drier air “backdooring” into Houston. (Weather Bell)

Saturday and Sunday

Houston is going to have a great weekend to end September and begin October. It’s not going to be cold by any stretch, but the air will be drier and that will make a big difference. Expect mostly sunny skies with highs most likely in the mid-80s. Overnight temperatures should fall to the mid-60s for inland areas, with warmer conditions near the coast.

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Welcome to the weekend! Some rain chances will return to Houston later on Sunday, and most days next week. But it’s nothing we’re concerned about. In response to a number of questions about the tropics, however, we wanted to provide an update on all of the activity out there. We have a lot of it in the Atlantic.

As we get deeper into September, the Atlantic tropics remain active. (NOAA/Space City Weather)

Hurricane Jose

This storm, which has been waggling around the tropical Atlantic for days, finally is beginning to follow a track—and this track may eventually lead to some tropical effects for the East coast. Here’s a look at the European model ensemble forecast for the center of Jose on Wednesday morning, which shows a fairly large tropical storm or hurricane moving up the east coast, but offshore, early next week.

European model Hurricane Jose position forecast for Wednesday morning. (Weather Bell)

Most of the model guidance suggests the storm will turn northeast by around Tuesday or Wednesday, and this would keep the center away from Long Island and Boston, Mass. Right now for those locations I’d expect some gusty conditions and swells, but nothing too significant. Some areas of Boston and Cape Cod could see 2 to 4 inches of rain, but again, nothing too extreme.

If the track for Jose moves west and brings the center to shore, and the storm becomes stronger than forecast, its effects could become more concerning.

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