Tropical system may bring heavy rain to Texas next week

Some readers may note that the National Hurricane Center has begun tracking an upper-level low pressure system over the eastern Gulf of Mexico (note, this is distinct from Tropical Storm Humberto). This is because the forecast models have gotten a little bit more excited about the possibility of this system evolving from a low pressure system in the upper levels of the atmosphere into a low pressure circulation at the surface.

National Hurricane Center tracking map for 7am CT Saturday.

The hurricane center gives this feature a 30 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression or storm as it moves westward toward the lower or central Texas coast, probably coming ashore on Monday or Tuesday.

I’m sure there will be a lot of hoopla about this system over the next couple of days, and some of that is justifiable because one never likes to see low pressure over the Gulf of Mexico in mid-September. With that being said, this one has a long way to go before becoming organized. All of the best global models keep it at tropical depression status right now. So while we cannot rule anything out. I am reasonably confident that we are not looking at a situation in which a hurricane approaches Texas early next week.

Satellite image of the Gulf system on Saturday morning. (NOAA)

However, even disorganized tropical systems can produce heavy rainfall, and that will be a threat along the Texas coast beginning on Monday. How much of a threat remains to be seen, as there is a considerable spread in the model forecasts. The European model paints a bullseye of 4-6 inches around Matagorda Bay and Victoria, with lesser amounts north and south of there, including for the Houston region. The GFS model keeps totals mostly confined to 2 to 3 inches along most of the Texas coast. Another model we’ve been following more, the Germany-based ICON forecast system, keeps the heaviest rain offshore but does bring 4 to 6 inches into Harris County during the middle of next week.

Cumulative precipitation forecast for next week from the GFS model. (Weather Bell)

The bottom line is that we are not overly concerned about development of this system into something that threatens Texas from a wind or surge perspective. However, we are watching for the potential for heavy rain during the Monday through Wednesday period next week. We’ll be watching it closely and updating accordingly.

10 thoughts on “Tropical system may bring heavy rain to Texas next week

  1. Cliff Tyllick

    “The European model paints a bullseye of 4-6 inches around Matagorda Bay and Victoria…”

    At first I didn’t take that to mean 4-6 inches of rain.

    My immediate thought: “Wow! A 4- to 6-inch-wide bullseye! I knew those models had gotten good, but I didn’t know they were that good!” 😏

    I’d better get my coffee… time to kick-start the brain.

  2. Monty

    Thanks guys. I guess stranger things have happened but one can never rule out anything the GOMEX throws your direction. Need to check out ICON. You can never have enough guidance. We’ll take anything this system wants to throw our way. Being NW of Houston though…I’ll stay on the less optimistic side until models agree a little more. Thanks always for a great synopsis!!

  3. Bret

    Thank you for all of your matter-of-fact guidance on these tropical systems. I just can’t stand watching the talking heads of our local TV stations, wildly flinging their arms across the screen and showing the most drastic model runs. I appreciate your work.

  4. Cathy

    Never too early to be prepared. These systems are wylie at this time of the year. Thanks for the detailed just-the-facts-jack info.

  5. Diane Althage Petrofsky

    Thank you so much for your to the point and simple explanations always. And when you sound an alarm I listen because you don’t alarm people just to scare them.

  6. Frank

    You guys are bad-ass. Period. Thanks for a much-needed intelligent weather analysis/presentation. Weather long and prosper.

  7. Mary Norman

    Thank you for your detailed and educational reports. We do nor live in an area that floods (north of Houston) and right now we could use some rain, but we worry about the folks living down south. We lived in LA during the 60s, north of NOLA, and will always remember Hilda and Betsy and the destruction of the Mississippi Gulf Coast by the monster Camilla. After the storm, there were only slabs left in Gulfport Miss. which up to that point had had a flourishing hotel industry. Again, thanks.

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