Monday, June 15, 2015

Tropical Rains for Texas...Minimal Impacts Locally

By Jay Grymes & Steve Caparotta

June 15th WAFB First Alert Quickcast:
- much attention on the western Gulf and Invest 91L

- much attention on the western Gulf and Invest 91L
- declining rain chances locally over the next few days

Yes, a good deal of attention this weekend and today was focused -- and remains focused -- on the tropical disturbance in the western Gulf - Invest 91L.  Assessment of Hurricane Hunter data earlier in the day by the national Hurricane Center (NHC) pros indicated that the disturbance has yet to achieve the complete structure to be classified as a tropical cyclone (either a tropical depression or a tropical storm) - - however, there is little doubt that the system is awfully close as of this afternoon. 

Why not a tropical storm as yet?  The NHC stated that a clearly-defined low-pressure center has yet to sufficiently consolidate to earn cyclone classification, although there is ample evidence of tropical-storm force winds in the region.  Another Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to visit the disturbance this evening, and we suspect that it will collect the evidence needed for upgrade to Tropical Storm Bill. 

Virtually every major tropical forecasting model takes this system into the Texas Coast and then northward into the Southern Plains -- bad news for the already-flooded Red River region but good news for the Bayou State.  Parts of Louisiana could receive some east-side wrap-around rainbands from the tropical system over the several days but it appears as though the main storm energy misses us.

Note that there are Coast Flood Advisories - - and Warnings - - either already in effect or anticipated for Louisiana, but most of this is a result of the steady southeasterly winds that have been impacting the region and are expected to continue.  However, winds along the central and western Louisiana coast are likely to show additional increases due to the larger-scale flow around the tropical system as it continues along a northwesterly track into Texas.

For most of us, however, we can expect a turn to a slightly drier regime over the next couple of days or so.  High pressure ridging, centered over the southeastern U.S. will serve as a modest inhibitor for our afternoon thundershowers -- not fully shutting off the afternoon rains but keeping them in the 20% to 30% range for our viewing area for the next three days.

The “muggies” will stay with us all week long.  While we may see a little less in the form of rain coverage, moist Gulf air will remain in place all week long.  Look for afternoon highs in the 90°s each day, with morning starts in the low to mid 70°s for most WAFB neighborhoods - - and upper 70°s at sunrise for the more southern parishes.

So here we are, only two weeks into the Hurricane Season and we could have our second ‘named’ storm?  What happened to the forecast for below-average storm numbers?  It’s still on the table, but we admit that the average date of the second ‘named’ storm in the Atlantic is August 1st!

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