Storms pass through with drier air coming tonight; also a word about the “Loop Current”

Good morning. If you’re a light sleeper like me, you probably had a rude awakening during the wee hours of Wednesday morning. The good news is that the strong storms have passed. And while there may be some scattered showers this afternoon, we can look forward to an absolutely splendid springtime reprieve during the next day or two, with lows dropping into the low 60s tonight and drier air on Thursday. Summer will be fully upon us by the weekend, so enjoy this.

Loop Current concerns?

Before leaping into the forecast, I also want to say a few words about the Loop Current. In recent days I’ve seen a lot of coverage of this phenomenon across various media, and as best I can tell it all stems from an article published by respected meteorologist Jeff Masters eight days ago. Jeff’s article is fine, and describes a well known (to meteorologists, at least) phenomenon known as the Loop Current. This is essentially a sub-surface “river” that carries warmer water from the Caribbean Sea into the Gulf of Mexico. It is almost always present. Once or twice a year a circulation, or “eddy,” of warmer water will break off from the bulging Loop Current and drift into the central or western Gulf of Mexico.

Loop Current representation as of May 23, 2022. (US Navy Research Laboratory)

The key thing to understand is that when hurricanes cross the ocean, they churn up cooler water from below, which acts as a brake on strengthening. But when a storm passes over the Loop Current, or an eddy, the water below is warmer, thus supporting rapid intensification of a hurricane. Jeff’s report basically says that the Loop Current is fairly prominent this year and an eddy may break off later this summer. If that happens, it would be one factor supporting the intensification of Gulf hurricanes. While that may sound scary, it’s important to reiterate that the Loop Current is present virtually every hurricane season, often with an eddy. So while it’s a factor to consider, it’s not something that will necessarily juice the Atlantic season. And it’s not in any way abnormal. Overall, forecasters already expect a busier than normal season, but perhaps not excessively so. We’ll find out soon enough.

Wednesday

With the bulk of the storms moving off to the east, the Houston region should see a cloudy and fairly cool day. Most of the region will probably top out in the 70s today, something which may not happen again until October or even November. So that’s pretty remarkable. The big question is whether a secondary line of showers will fire up as the cold front itself passes through this afternoon. I’m leaning toward no, but it is possible that areas along and south of Interstate 10 may see some additional light to moderate rain later this afternoon as the front pushes through. After this we’ll see rapid clearing of skies this evening, which will allow temperatures to drop into the low 60s on Thursday morning. Winds will be out of the north at 5 to 10 mph.

Low temperature forecast for Thursday morning. (Weather Bell)

Thursday

What a day for late May. Expect highs in mid- to upper-80s with sunny skies to go along with light southwest winds. There should be enough dry air for a pleasant Thursday evening, but overnight lows will probably be about 5 degrees warmer than Wednesday night. Spring will definitively end after Thursday night, but I for one am appreciating the much needed rain and brief taste of cooler weather before the inevitable onset of summer in Houston.

Friday

Look for sunny skies, highs around 90 degrees, and light southwesterly winds.

Memorial Day Weekend

The holiday weekend will see sunny skies, highs around 90 degrees, and plenty of humidity. It certainly could be hotter for Memorial Day weekend. Overnight lows will be in the mid-70s, generally.

Next week

Overall I don’t expect much of a pattern change next week. Some slight rain chances return to the forecast by Tuesday or Wednesday. We’re also watching the possibility of a tropical disturbance forming in the southern Gulf of Mexico about a week from now, but there’s no indication it will have a meaningful impact on Texas. So, really, no worries at this time.

12 thoughts on “Storms pass through with drier air coming tonight; also a word about the “Loop Current””

  1. Thanks for your explanation of the Loop Current. I remember first hearing of it starting with Katrina. It will be soon hurricane season and our gaurd will be up here in Texas.
    I enjoy your matter of fact, clear cut forecast and weather explanation. I know of some that “over hype” these events, for various reasons. You are a calm voice in the “storm”. Keep on the great work.
    Gods blessings be with you,
    JMalac

  2. Working in the offshore oil and gas industry, I’m very familiar with the loop current, as well as the eddies. It’s impressive when you are offshore and the loop is running under your structure at 2 knots, and you see that you are leaving a wake. It’s yet another example of how impressive nature can be.

  3. I always appreciate learning something new from your posts. Thanks for the explanation on loop currents. Just get us through this hurricane season!

  4. This site used to be just the voice of reason while everyone else was running around like chicken little Screaming the sky is falling. You have drifted away from the old sane you into the chicken little camp. It’s disappointing to me because I don’t need to be scared about weather I just need to know what’s going to happen. So while I appreciate the loop current whatever the hell that is conversation I just want to know is it gonna rain or not, do I need to seek shelter from hurricane or a tornado or not. So I would appreciate a return to Sanity rather than a drift towards following the mainstream media’s insanity.

  5. One more time, I cannot thank you enough for your level headed coverage. This time am speaking about the Loop current explanation which I found concise and understandable. Thanks for the clarification. Your explanation was excellent and exactly what we needed to hear.
    Thanks, thanks.

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