Tag: flooding

A calm and pleasant holiday weekend

Posted by Matt Lanza at 7:11 AM

We have registered many complaints from readers (and, frankly, ourselves) through much of 2018 regarding the timing of dreary weather on weekends. Well, here you go: A good one!

Today & Saturday

March will go out like a lamb, as today and tomorrow look truly splendid. Expect sunshine both days. We’ll warm today into the upper 70s, before cooling back on average into the upper 50s tonight (warmer at the coast and cooler inland). Look for us to top off around 80 degrees on Saturday.

Easter Sunday

No changes to our going forecast here. We should see onshore flow resume, which should allow for a subtle increase in humidity levels. But it will be partly to mostly sunny much of the day, with temperatures warming from the lower 60s into the lower 80s. Rain chances remain near zero. Enjoy it!

Next week

Monday should start the transition back toward active weather. We should see more clouds than sun and a minor chance of showers. It will be a muggy morning Monday (mid or upper 60s), warming back to around 80 degrees Monday afternoon. Details in the forecast seem to break down on Tuesday and Wednesday. We’ll probably get another round of showers and thunderstorms, though it should pale in comparison to what we saw on this past Wednesday night.

Total rainfall through next week is on the lower side at this point, but we’ll continue to watch for a chance of storms Tuesday and/or Wednesday. (Pivotal Weather)

Still, a bit more rain will be on the way. Tuesday night into Wednesday morning looks like the focus of things today, but that could change. We’ll freshen this forecast up on Monday when some of the details come into better focus.

Read More…

Flash flood watch Wednesday: What you need to know

Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:52 PM

Good evening all. We wanted to give you an evening update on the incoming rain event for Wednesday. Truthfully, not much has changed from Eric’s synopsis and outlook this morning. But we want to freshen up some thoughts around timing, amounts, severe weather, and so forth.

Quick Summary

  • Flash Flood Watch begins at 1 AM Wednesday north & west of Houston and 7 AM in Houston and points south & east.
  • Heavier rains stay north & west of Houston later tonight and Wednesday morning. Isolated strong to severe storms are possible tomorrow afternoon, especially along and southeast of US-59/I-69. Widespread heavy rain and storms moves through with the front later Wednesday evening.
  • We still believe 1-3″ of rain on average will fall with a few pockets of 3-5″ or a little more not out of the question.
  • Street flooding is the primary form of flooding we are concerning ourselves with. Though bayous and creeks could rise, they should be able to handle tomorrow’s rains.

Flash Flood Watch

The National Weather Service has posted a Flash Flood Watch for almost the entire region (Edit to add: As of 8 PM, only Jackson & Matagorda Counties are excluded from the watch). The watch begins at 1 AM for areas north and west of Houston and at 7 AM for Houston and points south and east.

A large area of flash flood watches extends from just west of Houston all the way into the Mississippi Valley. (Pivotal Weather/NWS)


This is the one that I think might throw some folks for a loop. Much of Wednesday in Houston will actually be a lot like today. We do expect heavier rains in the morning northwest of the Houston metro area (up toward College Station, perhaps drifting as far south and east as Sealy through The Woodlands, which is why the flash flood watch begins at 1 AM there and not in Houston). But isolated showers and maybe a downpour with heavier rain well northwest should be the M.O. through early afternoon Wednesday.

We then have two parts to the stormy weather show. Part one is from early afternoon through early evening, when we’ll watch for scattered strong to severe thunderstorms. Not everyone will see rain, but if you do, it could be heavy. More on the severe weather threat below. Part two will be the main event tomorrow night. The cold front will be ushered slowly southeast from about 10 PM through 3-4 AM Thursday by a vigorous upper level disturbance. Look for the majority of tomorrow’s rain to fall from early evening into the early overnight.

Read More…

Houston beyond Hurricane Harvey

Posted by Matt Lanza at 10:00 AM

On Tuesday evening, just as the Astros took the field for game one in Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of attending a Baker Institute event at Rice University featuring Dr. Jim Blackburn. “Beyond Hurricane Harvey” was a discussion and Q&A with Blackburn, who is the co-director of the Severe Storms Prevention, Education, and Evacuation from Disaster (SSPEED) Center at Rice. During Tuesday’s event, Blackburn basically laid out his vision for how we need to discuss and tackle Houston’s flooding problem from this point forward. Many of these ideas were incorporated by Harris County Judge Ed Emmett in the plan that he unveiled on Wednesday. Nevertheless, here is a summary  and some of my takeaways from Tuesday’s event.

Tuesday night’s event was held at the Rice University Baker Institute by their young professionals group. (Matt Lanza)

As a quick note, Blackburn has published two papers in the wake of Harvey. Much of what he covered Tuesday night is covered in these papers too. The first addresses initial policy ideas after Harvey. The second describes the public/private non-profit entity described below. Both are very informative and useful reads, and I would encourage our readers to get involved in this. As I said in my own Harvey post-mortem: It is now time for a new generation of Houstonians to work out new solutions to this complex problem.

Turning point: Blackburn opened by calling Harvey a turning point in Houston’s history. This is basically our moment to get this right. We all know we live in a city that is prone to flooding. We can never stop that from happening, but we can manage it in ways that will reduce the financial and human toll that has accompanied recent flooding events. Houston has an opportunity now to become the world leaders at weather and climate resiliency. While showing a chart of hurricane tracks impacting the Texas coast, Blackburn related the story of Indianola and Galveston. Indianola was wiped out by a hurricane in 1886, and we know the story of Galveston after 1900. Blackburn believes that Houston’s future as a leading American and global city may hinge on what we are able to accomplish over the next several months. If we bungle the response to this disaster, we could be looking at a steady economic decline in our region.

Blackburn referred to this situation as a new “Jesse Jones moment” for Houston. Speed couldn’t be emphasized enough. We need to get these solutions moving now, while the wounds from Harvey (and previous events) are still fresh and raw. The longer we wait, the less likely we’ll accomplish meaningful action. Amusingly, Blackburn shared the “Off the Charts” report published by Harris County Flood Control after Tropical Storm Allison in 2001.

We were in the same boat 16 years ago, but we still have a long way to go. (HCFCD)

Here we are again. We need a vision, a plan (we seem to have those moving forward), and now we need to mobilize the public and persuade our elected leaders to take action immediately. Blackburn was asked whether Houston’s infamous lack of zoning contributed to the problems from Harvey. He made the point that it was not a major cause, but what is a problem is the typical, almost “closed door” nature of Harris County government. Lots of items get addressed really quickly without much discussion at various county meetings. The population of this area is also somewhat agnostic toward government participation. We’re not engaged enough. For problems as big as this, everyone needs to be firing on all cylinders, taking politicians to task, asking questions, demanding transparency. It’s easy to be cynical, but in this situation, it’s important not to be. Read More…

Good morning. Heartbroken and sick over some of the news and stories this morning. Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected. Unfortunately we need to talk about the weather, as this will continue.

Off the top, we can’t tell you much more than to follow instructions of local government, NWS Houston, and Harris County Flood Control. Stay tuned to a media outlet using radio/TV.

A Civil Emergency Message has been posted regarding folks trapped in their homes.

Via NWS Houston and Jeff Lindner: Residents trying to escape rising floodwaters should go on their roof, do NOT go into the attic. Also if calling 911, stay on the phone until it is answered.

I am directly copying Eric’s words from overnight here:

“Speaking of that, for the first time ever, the National Weather Service just issued what it is calling a “Flash Flood Emergency for Catastrophic Life Threatening Flooding.” And not to sound too flippant, but that sounds really bad. You should probably heed their advice—WHICH IS SIMPLY DO NOT TRAVEL. DO NOT IMPEDE WATER RESCUES IN PROGRESS.

Is that clear enough?

(National Weather Service)

If you home has flooded, then we are truly sorry. No words from us can begin to address that problem. But we can say that millions of people have been through this before, and it can be done. Some good, basic advice, can be found here. And although this handbook from FEMA is dated, it provides detailed steps to take care of yourself, your family, and your property in the aftermath of a flooding event.”

Weather going forward

As of 6:30 AM rains continue to fall heavily, at a rate of 1-3″ per hour in spots.

No words. It continues. (College of DuPage)


Over the next 12-18 hours, expect this cycle to continue. Waves of rain, heavy at times. There will probably be breaks. What this does is both limit how bayous can drain and worsens flooding in spots. It’s bad and it’s going to likely stay bad through the day. Some folks may see another 6-12″ of rain today and tonight.

Rain will continue in similar fashion on Monday as Harvey drifts south and then begins to make the turn back north. The setup begins to change a bit on Tuesday, but at this point I still think periods of heavy rain are likely. Harvey should finally move far enough north on Wednesday to not shut off the rain, but reduce it to manageable levels.

In addition to the rain, Tornado Warnings continue cropping up from time to time. This threat will continue through the day today, with hopes that it will be at a slower pace than the last two days.

We’ll have another update around 9 AM or so. Please be safe.

Posted at 6:40 AM Sunday by Matt