This Will Probably Miss Houston, But Keep Eyes on Gulf

Updated Tuesday @ 1:25 p.m.: At 1 p.m. Houston time this afternoon, the National Hurricane Center upgraded the chances of tropical formation for a disturbance that could move into the Gulf tomorrow.

As of 7 a.m. Houston time this morning, the National Hurricane Center issued this advice about a trough of low pressure that is producing showers and thunderstorms over the southern Yucatan peninsula, Belize, and northern Guatemala.

“By late Wednesday, the disturbance is forecast to emerge over the Bay of Campeche and gradually turn northward. Environmental conditions could become a little more conducive for some development towards the end of the week when the system is located over the western Gulf of Mexico.”

Formation chances through 48 hours are now rated…low…near 10 percent. Formation chance through 5 days…medium…40 percent.

Advice from Harris County Flood Control

Jeff Lindner, Harris County Flood Control’s meteorologist, had this to say about the disturbance.

Global forecast models have been suggesting that the large area of disturbed weather over central America will drift WNW into the southern Bay of Campeche by the middle of this week and then NW toward the SW Gulf of Mexico by late this week. Recent trends suggest upper level conditions may become favorable for the formation of a tropical system over the SW Gulf of Mexico late this week into this weekend.

Influence of Upper Level Currents

Lindner continued. “An amplifying upper level trough will be approaching TX by late this weekend into early next week and this feature should force any tropical system that forms toward the N and then toward the NE.”

“Latest guidance continues to indicate a tropical system moving across the west-central then north-central Gulf of Mexico this weekend.

It would be extremely rare for a tropical system to impact the state of TX this late in the hurricane season and the upcoming upper air pattern by this weekend favors a turn of any western Gulf of Mexico system toward the NE toward the central or eastern US Gulf coast.”

Local Forecast: Up to 3 Inches Possible

Lindner had this to say about the forecast for the Houston Area. “A cold front will move into the area tonight and this boundary along with pooled high moisture levels will support a good chance of rainfall over the area tonight into early Wednesday. Lines of showers and thunderstorms will be possible along the frontal boundary with rainfall amounts of 1-2 inches and isolated totals up to 3 inches possible. A cooler and drier air mass will move into the region on Wednesday and linger into the later part of the week before moisture begins to return on Friday into the weekend.”

“It is now somewhat uncertain as to how much moisture will move into the area this weekend with the increasing potential for a western Gulf of Mexico tropical system moving across the central Gulf. This feature may take much of the moisture to our east.” 

This far in front of a storm, it’s hard to give exact predictions with much confidence. The best advice: raise your alert level and keep your eyes on the Gulf.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/15/2019

777 Days after Hurricane Harvey and 26 after Imelda