The heat is on for Houston. Sunday’s official high temperature reached 96 degrees, and we’re going to have a couple of more days in the mid-90s, with isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms, before our weather may change significantly by Wednesday due to a tropical system. Or not. Here’s the latest on what we know about Invest 93L, the system moving toward the southern Gulf of Mexico.
The storm remains very large and disorganized, producing fairly heavy rains on its eastern side. The best estimate as of Monday morning is that its center is now moving across the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, and will emerge into the southern Gulf of Mexico later today.
A hurricane hunter is scheduled to investigate the system this afternoon to better characterize its organization, and the National Hurricane Center still rates it as a 90 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm this week.. But as we’ve been suggesting, it’s unlikely to find overly favorable conditions to strengthen in the Gulf of Mexico, so the primary threat from the system will be heavy rains.
Before we get too deep into the likely track for Invest 93L I wanted to take a moment to explain why the global models have been struggling to get a handle on this system over the last few days. There are three major patterns in the mid- and upper-levels of the atmosphere that will guide the storm this week, including a high pressure system over the western United States, a large trough of low pressure over the Great Lakes area, and high pressure over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean (see map below). The models must correctly predict the evolution of all three to determine the track of the tropical system.
It does seem as though we’re finally seeing some better agreement on what is likely to happen. The models generally agree that Invest 93L will move toward Texas or Louisiana this week, and likely make “landfall” in one of those two states by around Thursday morning.
What’s important to remember is that nearly all of the rainfall associated with this tropical system is located on the right, or east side of the system. It will likely lead to a significant rain and flooding event somewhere on the Gulf coast. So if it comes ashore in Galveston, Louisiana is going to get drenched, but Houston isn’t going to see much rainfall. If it comes in further down the Texas coast, near Corpus Christi, then Houston could see 4 to 8 inches of rain, with tides a few feet higher than normal.
So here’s your forecast: We’re either going to be very dry or very wet during the second half of the work week. I’m sorry, it’s all dependent upon the track of this system, and we’re not going to have a good handle on that for another day or so, if and when 93L becomes better organized and develops a tighter center of circulation.
Posted at 7am CT on Monday by Eric