Widespread Heavy Rains Predicted Later This Week; Minor Flooding Possible

Expect heavy rains Wednesday night into Thursday – New Year’s Eve morning – as two powerful storm systems collide over Texas this week. One front will dip down from Canada, then another from California will ride up over it producing a variety of threats.

Predicted accumulations for the next 7 days. Chances of rain will increase on Wednesday and peak Wednesday night at 90%. Chances of rain will decrease on Thursday, New Year’s Eve, but peak at 70%.

The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center predicts a marginal risk of severe storms, damaging winds and tornadoes for areas west of I-45. However, the threat from heavy rains will be more widespread. Slow-moving or training showers and thunderstorms will produce 1-2 inches for the entire region and 3-4 inches in isolated locations. One normally conservative forecaster predicts up to 5 inches. North Texas will have it worse.

Impact on Lake Houston Area

In the Houston area, the most rainfall will be east of I-45 and north of I-10 or across the region’s northeast counties.

Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist

Minor Flooding Possible

Most area streams should be able to handle the heavy rains. However, Lindner, says area watersheds could swell. He blames higher than normal run-off due to low evaporation rates and dead/dormant vegetation. The National Weather Service predicts this may result in minor flooding of low lying, poorly-drained areas.

Holiday travel may be impacted if and where accumulations occur. Take note, especially if you’ve been visiting families in north or central Texas.

How Fronts Will Interact

The strong cold front should be off the coast by Thursday morning. However the Pacific front will lift lots of moisture over the incoming cold air mass. The cooling caused by the rising air (advection) will trigger precipitation. Lindner says areas from northwest of a line between Columbus to Huntsville may see rain mixed with sleet/snow.

Space City Weather predicts potential for heavy storms on Wednesday and Wednesday night with much of the area receiving 2 to 3 inches of rainfall. “We cannot entirely rule out this precipitation turning into a wintry mix north of Houston later on Thursday,” says the popular, normally conservative service. They say they can’t rule out a few isolated areas with 5 inches. They also note that forecast certainty will improve by Tuesday, as higher-resolution models come into play.

NWS predicts cooler and drier conditions Friday through the first weekend of the new year.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 12/28/2020

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