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Forecast for Central Texas

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Updated August 10, 2020

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Bob's Blog on Central Texas Weather

Friday, August 7, 2020 3:15 PM

It’s early August and we’ve reached what is typically the hottest point of summer.  It’s at this time when the jet stream lifts far up to the north, causing most weather systems to slow way down.  Ridges of high pressure cover much of the southern U.S., causing a persistent pattern of hot and generally dry weather.

True to form, Friday’s weather maps showed a broad area of high pressure in the middle and upper atmosphere covering the southern U.S., with the ridge being centered over West Texas, just east of Midland.  Fortunately, this ridge is not quite as strong as the ridge that was in place during in the first half of July.  As a result, we’re not seeing the temperatures quite as hot as they were in July.  Sinking air under the ridge is causing a very stable and dry atmosphere.  Weather conditions are sunny, hot and dry.

Forecasts call for the ridge to continue to be our region’s dominant weather feature this weekend, and through all of next week.  The center of the ridge is predicted to remain over West Texas through the middle of the week, then shift west to northern Mexico and southern New Mexico late next week into next weekend.

With the ridge in place, sunny, dry and hot weather conditions will persist across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions through late next week.  In addition, daily high and low temperatures are expected to remain quite consistent.  High temperatures this afternoon through next Friday across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions are predicted to be near 100-103 degrees.  Across the coastal plains, daily high temperatures will be in the mid-90s.

Across the coastal plains region, an isolated rain shower or two will be possible each afternoon through early next week where the strength of the ridge won’t be quite as strong.  Forecasts call for a slight increase in the chance for scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms Wednesday through Friday as the ridge’s influence weakens further.  Rain amounts through late next week are forecast to be low—generally under a quarter inch.

The center of the high pressure ridge is forecast to shift west to the Four Corners region next weekend and continue over that location through the week of  August 17th.  With the center of the ridge further to the west, the ridge’s grip on Texas is predicted to be weaker.  Forecasts call for the development of widely scattered afternoon rain showers and isolated thunderstorms across the coastal plains region, with the activity also extending inland to the Austin/Interstate 35 corridor throughout the week of August 17th.   With the tropical moisture spreading inland from the Gulf, spotty totals of around quarter inch are forecast across Central Texas.  Totals between a quarter and a half inch are forecast across the coastal plains region.

With the ridge losing some of its grip, high temperatures are forecast to lower slightly beginning next weekend, continuing through the week of the 17th.  High temperatures across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions are predicted to generally be near 97-100 degrees.  Across the coastal plains, high temperatures are predicted to be in the low and mid-90s.

No significant change in the temperature or rainfall pattern is predicted through the fourth week of August.

Tropical Weather Outlook

Weather conditions are fairly quiet across the tropical Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

However, National Hurricane Center forecasters are monitoring a tropical wave located in the eastern tropical Atlantic, several hundred miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands.  This system is currently accompanied by minimal shower activity.  Slow development of this system is possible during the next couple of days as it moves slowly westward.  After that time, environmental conditions are expected to become less conducive for development.  NHC forecasters only give this system a 10 percent chance for development over the next 5 days.

Elsewhere, there are no systems in place which pose a threat for development over the next 5 days.


RAMMB-CIRA 08/07/20 1:00 pm CDT

The Perseid Meteor Shower

The Perseid meteor is typically one of the two best displays of “shooting stars” all year. The meteors are caused when little bits of grit, shed by a comet called Swift-Tuttle, slam into our atmosphere at 37 miles per second. Every August, like clockwork, we cross the comet’s orbit and plow right through this dusty debris. The good thing is you don’t need any special equipment to enjoy the Perseids, so this annual sky show makes a wonderful activity for the whole family.

The Perseid meteor shower should be at its strongest Tuesday night, August 11th.  This year, however, the Moon rises around midnight, and its light will likely interfere somewhat during the prime meteor hours, from midnight to dawn.  So you might do best watching before then, from about 11 pm through moonrise.

The best direction to look is wherever your sky is darkest, usually overhead.  The shower’s radiant (the meteors’ perspective point of origin, if you could see them coming from far away in space) is in northern Perseus under Cassiopeia.  But the meteors only become visible when they hit the upper atmosphere, anywhere in your sky.

While the meteor shower will peak on the night of August 11th, you may see the occasional Perseid on any night this weekend or next week.  With a mostly clear sky expected this weekend, give it a shot.  For more information, check out Spaceweather.com

Have a good weekend.

Bob

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Updated Outlook Calls for an “Extremely Active” Hurricane Season to Come.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 2:02 PM

The heart of the hurricane season is just around the corner and according to a leading hurricane expert, we haven’t seen anything yet.  On Wednesday, meteorologist Phil Klotzbach and his forecast team at Colorado State University released an updated prediction for this year’s Atlantic hurricane season.

“We have increased our forecast and now call for an extremely active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season,” Klotzbach said.

In all, Klotzbach and his team predict a total of 24 named storms in 2020. This includes the nine named storms that have already formed: Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna and Isaias.  Of those, the team expects 12 to become hurricanes (including the two hurricanes that have already formed, Hanna and Isaias).  The team predicts 2020 hurricane activity will be about 190% of average according to the new forecast.  By comparison, 2019’s hurricane activity was about 120% of average and it was classified as a hyperactive season.

Twelve hurricanes is the most the forecast team has ever predicted in its August forecast.  This updated outlook is an increase from the early July seasonal forecast which predicted 20 named storms, nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes.

Klotzbach stated there are three main reasons for his “extremely active” forecast.  First, sea surface temperatures averaged across the tropical Atlantic are much warmer than normal and warmer waters mean more fuel for storms.

Another reason for the very active seasonal forecast are observations showing vertical wind shear across the Atlantic is well below average.  Having less shear generally aids in tropical storm development and intensification.

Finally, neutral ENSO conditions currently in place across the Pacific may transition to weak La Niña conditions by later this summer.  According to Klotzbach, La Niñas often increase hurricane numbers in the Atlantic.

Klotzbach’s updated outlook also stated an above-normal probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States coastline and in the Caribbean.

NOAA and the National Hurricane Center will release their updated outlook for the hurricane season Thursday.

Observations Wednesday afternoon showed weather conditions were generally quiet across the tropical Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.  NHC forecasters are watching a small but well-defined low pressure system located a few hundred miles southwest of Bermuda. This system is producing an area of disorganized showers and a few thunderstorms.  Although the low has remained nearly stationary today, NHC forecasters call for the low to drift west-southwestward during the next couple of days.  Any development of this disturbance should be slow to occur due to dry air and increasing upper-level winds by the weekend.  NHC forecasters giving this system just a ten percent chance for development over the next five days.


RAMMB-CIRA 08/05/2020 1:10 pm CDT

Bob

 

A Persistent August Heat Wave Taking Shape

Monday, August 3, 2020 2:16 PM

There will be a slight chance for scattered thunderstorms this afternoon and Tuesday before a dry and hot weather pattern settles in for spell.  Monday’s weather maps showed an unusually strong trough of low pressure in the upper atmosphere stretching from southeastern Canada to southern Louisiana.  The familiar ridge of high pressures was located over the Desert Southwest.  The maps showed a small wave of low pressure in the upper atmosphere located over the Permian Basin region of West Texas that is moving to the southeast.  This system has helped produce an area of showers and thunderstorms over the area between Del Rio, San Angelo and Abilene Monday morning.  High–resolution forecasts solutions call for this area of rain and thunderstorms to spread southeast across the Hill Country this afternoon, with the activity reaching the Austin/Interstate 35 corridor in the late afternoon and early evening.  The probability for rain will be near 40 percent across the Hill Country and near 30 percent across the Austin/Central Texas region.  While most of today’s thunderstorms are forecast to remain below severe threshold, a couple of the storms may produce strong and potentially damaging winds.  Most, if not all of this activity is forecast to diminish after sunset.  For locations that happen to see rain, totals should average between 0.25 and 0.5 inches, with isolated totals of 1-2 inches possible.  Across the coastal plains region, there will be a slight chance for isolated to scattered rain showers and thunderstorms across the area this afternoon and early evening.  Spotty totals to quarter inch will be possible.  High temperatures this afternoon will include the mid to upper 90s across the Hill Country, the upper 90s to low 100s across Central Texas and the mid-90s towards the coast.

The outlook for Tuesday calls for a generally sunny and hot day.  However, a few isolated afternoon showers and thunderstorms will be possible across the region due to lingering moisture and instability.  The chance for rain at any given location will only be 20 percent.  Temperatures will be quite hot with readings reaching near 100-102 degrees across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions and the middle 90s across the coastal plains.

Sunny, dry and hot weather conditions are forecast Wednesday, continuing through the upcoming weekend as the ridge of high pressure over the Desert Southwest slowly spreads east over Texas. In fact, the center of the high pressure ridge is forecast to set up over Northwest Texas this weekend.  With the high pressure ridge in place, it is going to be quite hot!  Daily high temperatures across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions are forecast to be near 100-103 degrees.

The outlook for next week calls for more of the same as Texas remains under the grips of the broad, stagnant high-pressure ridge.  High temperatures are predicted to be near 101-103 degrees across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions and in the mid to upper 90s across the coastal plains region.

Long-range forecasts indicate the ridge may shift a little more to the west the weekend of August 15th.  This might allow an area of moisture to spread inland, causing some isolated to scattered rain showers across the coastal plains region and possibly as far inland as Interstate 35.  High temperatures look to drop about 2-3 degrees at that time.

Tropical Weather Update

…Isaias is expected to make landfall tonight as a hurricane along the Carolina coast.  Strong winds and heavy rainfall is likely from the eastern Carolinas to the Mid Atlantic coast tonight and Tuesday…

At 100 pm CDT, the center of Tropical Storm Isaias was located by an Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft and NOAA Doppler weather radars about 115 miles south of near Charleston, South Carolina.  Isaias was moving toward the north near 13 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue this afternoon.  A turn toward the north-northeast along with a slight increase in forward speed is expected by early this evening, followed by a faster motion tonight and Tuesday.  On the forecast track, the center of Isaias will pass well east of the Georgia coast through this afternoon.   The center of Isaias will then approach the coasts of northeastern South Carolina and southern North Carolina within the hurricane warning area this evening.  The center will then move inland over eastern North Carolina tonight, and move along the coast of the mid-Atlantic states on Tuesday and into the northeastern United States Tuesday night.


RAMMB-CIRA 08-03-2020 2:20 pm CDT

Data from the reconnaissance aircraft and NOAA Doppler weather radars indicate that maximum sustained winds remain near 70 mph with higher gusts.  Some strengthening is forecast this afternoon or early evening, and Isaias is expected to regain hurricane strength just before the cyclone reaches the coast of northeastern South Carolina or southern North Carolina tonight.  Only slow weakening is anticipated after Isaias makes landfall in the Carolinas and moves across the U.S. mid-Atlantic region tonight and Tuesday.

National Hurricane Center forecasters are also closely watching the area a few hundred miles south of Bermuda where a  surface trough of low pressure is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms.  Marginal environmental conditions could allow for some slow development of this system during the next few days, with a tropical depression possibly forming later this week.  This system is forecast to move northwestward at about 15 mph over the southwestern Atlantic today and Tuesday, then stall several hundred miles southwest of Bermuda by the middle to latter part of the week.

NHC forecasters are giving this system a 60 percent chance for development over the next 5 days.

July Climate Wrap Up

Data shows the month of July was much warmer and drier than normal across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions.  Temperatures generally averaged 2-4 degrees above normal and rainfall average 1-2 inches below normal.  Rainfall was above normal across Matagorda and southern Wharton Counties due to Hurricane Hanna.  Rainfall was also above normal across Schleicher and Sutton Counties in the western Edwards Plateau.

In Austin, Camp Mabry recorded an average monthly temperature of 88.9 degrees, which was 3.9 degrees above normal.  The average high temperature for the month was 100.3 degrees!  July 2020 ranks as the 3rd hottest July on record behind 2009 and 2011.  Rainfall measured 0.65 inches, which was 1.23 inches below normal.  July 2020 ranks as the 37th driest July on record.

Austin-Bergstrom recorded an average monthly temperature of 86.5 degrees, which was 3.1 degrees above normal.  The average high temperature for the month was 97.6 degrees.  July 2020 ranks as the 13th warmest July on record.  Rainfall totaled 1.18 inches, which was 1.26 inches below normal.

Wednesday, August 5th marks the midpoint of astronomical summer.

Spot the International Space Station Each Evening this Week

There will be opportunities to see the International Space Station each evening this week.  Wednesday looks to a particularly good pass around 9:15 pm when the ISS will be traveling high above the horizon.  Find out the times and directions to look for your particular location at  https://spotthestation.nasa.gov

Bob

A Slight Chance for Showers through Early Next Week but the Heat Continues.

Friday, July 31, 2020 2:16 PM

A rare, weak cold front is predicted to sink south through our region this afternoon and tonight, providing a focus for the development of scattered rain showers and thunderstorms.  Friday morning’s weather maps showed the persistent ridge of high pressure in the upper atmosphere has shifted away from Texas and the south central U.S to the western US.  This has allowed an unusually strong trough of low pressure to develop south into Texas out of southern Canada.  A cold front associated with the trough pushed into Texas Thursday night.  As of early Friday afternoon, the cold front stretched from Longview, to Temple to near Fort Stockton.  While certainly not a “blue norther”, the air behind today’s cold front is drier and just slightly cooler.  Forecasts call for the front to reach the Austin/Interstate 35 corridor region around mid-afternoon Friday and the Interstate 10 corridor Friday evening.  The front is predicted to stall across the coastal plains region Saturday, then weaken and wash out on Sunday.

As temperatures warm into the 90s this afternoon, scattered rain showers and thunderstorms are forecast to develop along and to the south of the cold front.  The probability for rain will be near 40-50 percent across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions and be less than 20 percent across the coastal plains.  Today’s atmosphere will be structured in such a way that some of the developing storms may become strong to marginally severe.  Today’s primary severe weather threat will be strong, potentially damaging winds.  The Storm Prediction Center has placed the area north of Interstate 10 under a Marginal Risk for severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening.

Widespread rainfall is not expected.  However, spotty totals of 0.25 to 0.50 inches are forecast across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions through midnight.  Isolated totals of 1-2 inches will be possible.  High temperatures this afternoon will be in mid and upper 90s.  Lows Saturday morning will include the low 70s across the Hill Country with middle 70s at most other locations.

On Saturday, the chance for rain and scattered thunderstorms will shift to the coastal plains region, in the vicinity of the stationary front.  The probability for rain will be near 30-40 percent.  Spotty totals of 0.25-0.50 inches are forecast.  Further inland, there will be just a slight chance for a few scattered rain showers across Central Texas through the afternoon.  Little to no rain is forecast across the Hill Country.  Expect a mostly sunny to partly cloudy sky.  High temperatures are forecast to be in the mid and upper 90s, with lower 90s expected towards the coast.

Sunday’s weather is shaping up to be mostly sunny.  There will be a slight chance for a few spotty rain showers across the coastal plains while most other areas will remain dry.  High temperatures are predicted to be in the upper 90s.

Forecasts call for a second cold front to sink south out of North Texas Monday, pulling up stationary across Central Texas Monday afternoon into Tuesday.  This next front is expected to cause a slight chance for rain showers and thunderstorms across the region both days.  For locations that do happen to see rain, totals should average around a quarter inch or less.  Otherwise, weather conditions will be mostly sunny to partly cloudy and hot.  High temperatures both days will be near 98-100 degrees, with mid-90s expected towards the coast.

Sunny, dry and hot weather is forecast Wednesday through next weekend as the trough of low pressure exits east and the ridge of high pressure over the Southwest begins to spread back over Texas.  Fortunately, the ridge is predicted to only be moderately strong, so extreme temperatures are not expected.  A few isolated rain showers will be possible towards the coast, but areal coverage will be less than 20 percent.  Daily high temperatures are forecast to be close to 100 degrees, with middle 90s expected towards the coast.

The outlook for the week of August 10th calls for little change as the center of the high pressure ridge remains parked over New Mexico.  Sunny, hot and dry weather will continue with daily high temperatures staying close to 100 degrees.

Tropical Weather Outlook

As of 1 pm Friday, the center of Hurricane Isaias was located by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft and Bahamas radar about 245 miles southeast of Nassau, Bahamas.  Isaias was moving toward the northwest near 16 mph, and a general northwestward motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected for the day or so followed by a turn toward the north-northwest.  On the forecast track, the center of Isaias will continue to move near or over the Southeastern Bahamas today.  Isaias is forecast to be near the Central Bahamas tonight, and move near or over the Northwestern Bahamas Saturday and near the east coast of the Florida peninsula Saturday afternoon through Sunday.

Data from the reconnaissance aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 75 mph with higher gusts.  Strengthening is expected later today and tonight, and Isaias is forecast to remain a hurricane for the next few days.

Isaias poses no threat to the Gulf of Mexico.

National Hurricane Center forecasters are keeping an eye on a tropical wave in the west-central tropical Atlantic, located about 950 miles east of  the Lesser Antilles.  This system is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms as it moves to the west.  Some slow development of this system is possible while it turns northwestward over the western Atlantic by early next week.  NHC forecasters are giving the wave a 30 percent chance for development over the next 5 days.

NHC forecasters are also monitoring an area of showers and thunderstorms that remain separated from the center of a small area of low pressure located in the far eastern tropical Atlantic, a couple of hundred miles east of the Cabo Verde Islands.  The system is moving northward toward less favorable environmental conditions, and significant development of this system appears unlikely.  NHC forecasters are giving this system just a 20 percent chance for development over the next 5 days.

Elsewhere, tropical cyclone development is not expected over the next 5 days.

Catch Mars in the Late Evening Sky

Brilliant Jupiter and Saturday are now quite visible in the eastern evening sky.  But now, the planet Mars rises in the eastern sky around 11 pm CST.  It will be quite bright (magnitude –1.2).  It will appear yellow-orange in the constellation Pisces, like a far-off bonfire.   Where will it come up?  Watch the eastern horizon below the Great Square of Pegasus.  By dawn Mars shines grandly high and bright in the southern sky.

In a telescope this week Mars grows from 14½ to 15½ arcseconds in apparent diameter, as big as it appears at some oppositions!  But we’re still speeding toward it along Earth’s faster orbit around the Sun, and we have a long way to go. Around this year’s opposition in early October, Mars will be 22.6 arcseconds wide!

Have a good weekend.

Bob

 

Just a Slight Chance for Rain this Week. Hot Temperatures to Close Out the Month.

Monday, July 27, 2020 2:15 PM

Hurricane Hanna made landfall Saturday afternoon as a category one hurricane along the lower Texas coast, at the Padre Island National Seashore, about 50 miles south of Corpus Christi.  Highest sustained winds at landfall were 90 mph.  A wind gust to 68 mph was measured at Corpus Christi and gust to 81 mph was measured at Baffin Bay Padre Island.  Interestingly, Austin-Bergstrom Airport recorded a wind gust to 59 mph Saturday afternoon when a thunderstorm associated with the hurricane passed over the airport.  Hanna produced torrential rains of 10-15 inches across the Lower Rio Grande Valley and adjacent areas of northeastern Mexico.  As of Monday morning, Hanna was still designated as a tropical depression and was located over northeastern Mexico, to the southwest of Monterey.   The system was moving to the west at 5 mph and is predicted to bring additional heavy rain to northern Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley this afternoon and Tuesday.

Across Central Texas, the Hill Country and the middle Texas coast, rainfall from Hanna ended up being much lower than was originally forecast.  Doppler radar estimates and gauge reports showed most totals since Friday were generally less than a quarter inch across the Hill Country.  Across Central Texas, totals ranged anywhere from a tenth of an inch to 1.5 inches.  And across the coastal plains region, totals generally ranged between 1 and 2.5 inches.  LCRA’s highest 72-hour gauge total was 3.65 inches near Garwood, in southeastern Colorado County.

NWS Radar Estimate of Rain Falling Between 7 am Friday and 7 am Monday:

Monday’s analysis indicated the atmosphere over Central Texas was still quite moist in the wake of Hanna.  In the upper atmosphere, a weak ridge of high pressure was located over Far West Texas and the Desert Southwest.  A small area of low pressure was in place over western Louisiana, drifting to the southwest.  Circulation around the low is forecast to pull additional tropical moisture into Central Texas this afternoon through Wednesday.  With warming afternoon temperatures,  scattered rain showers and thunderstorms are predicted to develop across the entire region.  The highest probability for showers will be across the coastal region, where the probability for rain will be near 60 percent this afternoon and Tuesday and near 40 percent Wednesday.  Across Central Texas, the probability for rain will be near 30 percent this afternoon and Tuesday and just 20 percent Wednesday.  The probability for rain across the Hill Country will be 20 percent all 3 days.

Rain amounts through Thursday morning are forecast to average between 0.5 and 0.75 inches across the coastal plains region and around a quarter inch or less across Central Texas and the Hill Country.

High temperatures Monday through Wednesday are forecast to generally be in the mid and upper 90s.  Highs near 90-92 degrees are predicted for the coast region.

Mostly sunny and generally dry weather is forecast across the region Thursday and Friday as moisture levels decrease.  Lingering  moisture may cause a few stray showers across the coastal plains region, but most other locations should stay dry.  High temperatures Thursday and Friday will be in the upper 90s.

A slightly unsettled weather pattern is forecast to develop across our region this weekend, continuing through the first half of next week, when an unusually strong trough of low pressure develops south from southern Canada to the lower Mississippi River Valley.  At the same time, the ridge of high of high pressure over West Texas is predicted to slide west to western Arizona and Northwestern Mexico.  A cold front associated with the trough is predicted to sink south to North Texas and pull up stationary.  The combination of a weaker ridge and the proximity of the stalled front to our north is expected to cause a slight chance to a chance for scattered rain showers and thunderstorms each day between Saturday and next Wednesday.  As of now, significant rain is not forecast, with most totals over this upcoming period remaining below  1 inch.  High temperatures will be mostly in the mid and upper 90s.

Mostly sunny, dry and slightly warmer weather is forecast late next week into the following weekend as the trough weakens and the ridge to our west moves to a position over New Mexico.  High temperatures are predicted to be in the upper 90s to 100 degrees.

Tropical Weather Outlook

Tropical Storm Gonzalo weakened into an open wave of low pressure when in entered the eastern Caribbean Sea Saturday.  Conditions remain unfavorable for this system to regenerate.

National Hurricane Center forecasters continue to closely monitor a broad area of low pressure located 1000 miles east of the Windward Islands.  Shower activity associated with this feature has changed little in organization since this morning.  Environmental conditions are expected to become somewhat more favorable for development during the next few days and a tropical depression or tropical storm is likely to form during that time frame. The system is forecast to move westward to west-northwestward at 15 to 20 mph and it could bring heavy rain to portions of the Leeward Islands by late Wednesday, regardless of development.  NHC forecasters are giving this system an 80 percent chance for development over the next 5 days.


RAMMB-CIRA 07/27/2020 12:40 pm CDT

Elsewhere, there are no systems in place which pose a threat for tropical development over the next 5 days.

One of the Hottest July’s on Record

As we move into the last few days of July, data so far this month shows July 2020 will likely close as one of the hottest on record across Central Texas.  While most areas have seen several triple-digit temperatures this month, the unusually warm nighttime temperatures have also been a big part of the very warm monthly average temperature.

At Austin-Camp Mabry, the average temperature through Sunday (7/26) was 89.0 degrees, 4.2 degrees above normal. July 2020 currently ranks as the 3rd warmest July on record, behind similar periods in 2011 and 2009.  Not exactly the “coolest” of summers to be keeping company with.

Have a good week.

Bob

 

Hanna to Cause Widespread Rain this Weekend into Early Next Week

Friday, July 24, 2020 3:36 PM

Here is an update on Tropical Storm Hanna and Tropical Storm Gonzalo, based on Friday afternoon’s data.  Hanna is predicted to make landfall near or south of Corpus Christi on Saturday.  Widespread rains are forecast across Central and South Texas this weekend, with additional scattered rains expected the first half of next week.  Tropical Storm Gonzalo is predicted to move across the southern Windward Islands this weekend and move into the eastern Caribbean sea early next week.  Forecasts call for Gonzalo to dissipate early next week, not posing a threat to the western Gulf.

Tropical Storm Hanna

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Baffin Bay to Mesquite Bay Texas…

…A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from the Mouth of the Rio Grande to Baffin Bay and from Mesquite Bay to San Luis Pass Texas…

Data from a NOAA reconnaissance aircraft, satellite data and ship reports indicate Hanna continues to organize and strengthen.  As of 4 pm CDT, Hanna was centered about 195 miles east of Corpus Christi.  Hanna was moving toward the west-northwest near 10 mph, and this motion should continue through Saturday morning.  A gradual turn toward the west-southwest is expected Saturday night and that motion should continue through Sunday.  Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph with higher gusts.  Steady strengthening is forecast for the next 24 hours, and Hanna is expected to become a hurricane before the cyclone makes landfall.  Steady to rapid weakening is expected after Hanna moves inland.

RAMMB-CIRA 07/24/2020 3:20 pm CDT

The National Hurricane Center’s forecast track calls for the center of Hanna to make landfall somewhere along the lower Texas coast Saturday afternoon.  The cone of uncertainty stretches from roughly Rockport to Raymondville, with landfall most likely close to Baffin Bay, just south of Corpus Christi.  NHC forecasts indicate Hanna could briefly reach hurricane intensity before making landfall.  Once inland, the center of Hanna is forecast to track to the west-southwest over South Texas late Saturday into Sunday, then move into northeastern Mexico late Sunday.

Although Hanna is predicted to track inland along the lower Texas coast, the storm is still expected to impact weather conditions from the middle coast to the Hill Country this weekend and early next week.

For Wharton and Matagorda Counties:  A Flash Flood Watch has been posted through 7 am Sunday morning.  Forecasts call for outer rain bands from Hanna to begin spreading inland this afternoon, with additional rain and thunderstorms continuing Friday evening through Friday night.   Some of this rain may at times be heavy.  Considerable moisture is forecast to continue spreading inland over the weekend, leading to a good chance for rain and thunderstorms Saturday through Sunday.  Periods of heavy rain will be possible.  Rainfall through Monday morning is forecast to generally total between 4 and 6 inches, with isolated totals to near 8 inches possible.  Flooding and flash flooding will be possible.

For the Austin/Central Texas region:  There will be 50 percent chance for rain showers and thunderstorms across the La Grange/Columbus Friday night.  Closer to Austin, there will be just a 20 percent chance for rain showers and thunderstorms Friday tonight.  Periods of rain showers and thunderstorms are forecast across the area Saturday morning through Sunday evening.  Some of the rain may be heavy at times.  Rainfall through Monday morning is forecast to generally average between 1 and 1.5 inches, with isolated heavier totals.  The probability for rain both days will be near 70 percent.

For the Hill Country region:  Weather conditions are forecast to remain overnight.  Scattered rain showers and thunderstorms are forecast to develop Saturday morning, with periods of rain and thunderstorms continuing through Sunday afternoon.  The probability for rain both days will be near 30-40 percent.  Rainfall through Monday morning is forecast to generally average 0.5 and 1 inch.

NWS Rainfall Forecast for the Period 7 pm Friday through 7 pm Monday:

The outlook for next week calls for a continued chance for mainly afternoon and evening scattered showers and thunderstorms Monday through Wednesday as considerable tropical moisture continues to spread in from the Gulf.  The probability for rain will be near 50 percent Monday, 30 percent Tuesday and 20 percent on Wednesday.  Rain amounts Monday through Wednesday are forecast to average around a half inch, with isolated totals of 1-2 inches possible.  High temperatures will be in the mid-90s.

There will be just a slight chance for rain late next week and next weekend as moisture levels begin to dry out.  A typical summertime pattern looks to return with high temperatures near 98-100 degrees.

Tropical Storm Gonzalo

As of 4 pm CDT, the center of Tropical Storm Gonzalo was located about 390 miles east of the southern Windward Islands.   Gonzalo was moving toward the west near 18 mph.  A general westward to west-northwestward motion is expected for the next couple of days. On the forecast track, Gonzalo will move across the southern Windward Islands Saturday afternoon or evening and over the eastern Caribbean Sea on Sunday.

Data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicated that Gonzalo’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to near 40 mph with higher gusts.  Some slight strengthening is possible before Gonzalo reaches the southern Windward Islands.  Weakening is expected after Gonzalo moves over the eastern Caribbean Sea and the system is forecast to dissipate early next week.

And Yet Another Tropical Disturbance has Developed

Forecasters are monitoring a strong tropical wave in the far eastern tropical Atlantic, about 300 miles southeast of the Cabo Verde Islands.  This system is producing an area of cloudiness and disorganized thunderstorms.  The disturbance is expected move westward across the tropical Atlantic during the next several days, and some gradual development of this system is possible by early next week when it reaches the western tropical Atlantic.  NHC forecasters are giving this system a 40 percent chance for development over the next 5 days.

RAMMB-CIRA 12:40 pm CDT

Have a good weekend.

Bob

Tropical Depression Eight Organizing, Setting its Sights on the Texas Coast.

Thursday, July 23, 2020 1:07 PM

…A Tropical Storm Watch has been posted for the Texas coast from Port Mansfield (near Raymondville) to High Island…

The strong tropical wave over the eastern Gulf of Mexico Wednesday organized into a tropical depression Wednesday evening.  Thursday morning, satellite imagery indicated the depression was getting better organized, with a better-defined center beginning to show.  At 2 pm CDT, the center of Tropical Depression Eight was located by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft over the west-central Gulf of Mexico, about 415 miles east-southeast of Port O’Connor.  The depression was moving toward the west-northwest near 7 mph, and a west-northwestward to westward motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days.  Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph, with higher gusts.  Slow strengthening is expected and the depression could become a tropical storm tonight or on Friday.

On the current forecast track, a the center of the depression is expected to move across the northwestern Gulf of Mexico today and Friday and make landfall as a tropical storm somewhere along the middle or lower Texas coast midday Saturday.  The cone of uncertainty at landfall stretches from Port Mansfield to Freeport, with the center of the cone being near San Antonio Bay.  The National Hurricane Center forecasts maximum sustained winds at landfall to be around 55 mph.

Once inland, the center of the system is forecast to continue tracking to the west, reaching a position southeast of San Antonio Saturday evening, just north of Laredo Sunday morning and over northeastern Mexico Monday morning.

Based on the latest forecast track, the tropical depression is expected to have a significant impact on the middle Texas coastal region, with lesser impacts expected across the Austin/Central Texas region and the Texas Hill Country.

Rainfall Forecast

Showers and thunderstorms associated with the tropical depression/tropical storm are forecast to reach the middle Texas coast Friday afternoon.  The rain is forecast to slowly spread inland to the west/northwest Friday night into Saturday morning.  By midday Saturday, widespread rain showers and scattered thunderstorms are forecast to cover the middle Texas coast, all of Central Texas and a good portion of the Hill Country.  A steady rain looks to continue across much of the region Saturday night through Sunday night.  The heaviest rains are predicted to fall across the area generally to the south of Interstate 10, with lighter rains expected across Central Texas and the Hill Country.  There will be a 40-50 percent chance for additional showers and thunderstorms across the area on Monday.

Rainfall forecasts for the period between this afternoon and Tuesday morning call for totals of 4-6 inches for locations generally along and south of US Highway 59 (Wharton and Matagorda Counties).  Further inland, totals of 2-3 inches are forecast for the area between Smithville and Columbus.  Totals of 1.5-2 inches are forecast around the Austin area.  Across the Hill Country, totals are predicted to generally average between 1 and 1.5 inches.  Do note that locally higher rain amounts will be possible—especially where any banding may set up.  Flash flooding will be possible in these heavier rain areas.

NWS Rainfall Forecast for the Period 7 am Thursday through 7 am Tuesday

Tropical Storm Gonzalo

There haven’t been any significant changes with tropical storm Gonzalo since yesterday .  As of 2 pm CDT,  the center of Tropical Storm Gonzalo was located about 850 miles east of the southern Windward Islands.  Gonzalo is moving toward the west near 14 mph.  A westward to west-northwestward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected through the weekend.  On the forecast track, the center of Gonzalo will approach the southern Windward Islands Friday night and move across the islands Saturday and Saturday evening.  Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph with higher gusts.  Some strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Gonzalo could become a hurricane on Friday.

Gonzalo faces an uncertain future.  The majority global forecast model solutions continue to call for Gonzalo to weaken to a tropical storm early next week when it reaches the area south of Hispaniola and Jamaica.  The modeling is split on whether the system dissipates or remains a weak system as it moves to the western Caribbean Sea the latter half of next week.  We will need to keep a close watch on the progress and evolution of Gonzalo.

Bob

 

Gulf Wave to Bring Widespread Weekend Rains. Gonzalo Develops.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020 3:23 PM

National Hurricane Center forecasters continue to keep a close eye on a strong tropical wave located now over the eastern Gulf of Mexico.  Satellite wind data Wednesday afternoon indicated a broad low pressure area has formed in association with the tropical wave over the central Gulf of Mexico.  The system is producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms over the eastern Gulf, central and southern Florida, and western Cuba.  Conditions appear conducive for additional development, and a tropical depression is likely to form Thursday or Friday as the system moves west-northwestward at about 10 mph.  The disturbance is expected to reach the northwestern Gulf Thursday into Friday.   NHC forecasters are giving this system a 80 percent chance for tropical development over the next 5 days.

The global forecast model solutions call for the tropical disturbance to push inland somewhere along the middle Texas coast sometime Saturday.  Do note these latest solutions are a bit slower with the overall motion, compared to previous forecasts.

RAMMB-CIRA 3:30 pm 07/22/2020

Based on the latest forecast guidance, a large slug of tropical moisture will begin spreading inland along the middle Texas coast Friday, with the moisture then spreading northwest across Central Texas and Hill Country regions Friday night, continuing through the weekend.  Increasing moisture combined with increasing atmospheric lift associated with the wave/disturbance is expected to produce a widespread area of rain showers and scattered thunderstorms reaching the middle Texas coast Friday afternoon and evening, with the rain area gradually spreading into Central Texas and the Hill Country Friday night into Saturday morning.

Forecasts call for a widespread coverage of rain across the entire region Saturday through Sunday as the disturbance tracks to the west.  Moderate to heavy rain will be possible—especially for areas from the Interstate 35 corridor, southeast to the coast.  A fairly good coverage of rain and thunderstorms looks to continue across the area Monday, with the rain becoming more scattered Tuesday into Wednesday.

The latest National Weather Service rainfall forecast calls for much of the area to see a good soaking of rain this weekend.  Widespread totals of 1-3 inches are forecast for the area between Austin and the coast.  Lower totals are forecast across the Hill Country.  Near the coast, totals of 3-5 inches are predicted.  Keep in mind that due to the tropical nature of this system, there will be the potential for even higher totals.

NWS Rainfall Forecast for the Period 7 pm Wednesday through 7 pm Wednesday:

Tropical Storm Gonzalo

The tropical depression which developed over the central Tropical Atlantic Tuesday strengthened and organized Wednesday morning to become Tropical Storm Gonzalo.

As of 4 pm CDT Wednesday, the center of Tropical Storm Gonzalo was located in the central tropical Atlantic, about 1110 miles east of the southernmost Windward Islands.  Gonzalo is moving toward the west near 14 mph.  A general westward motion at a faster forward speed is expected during the next few days.  On the forecast track, the center of Gonzalo will approach the Windward Islands late Friday and Saturday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph with higher gusts.  Strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Gonzalo is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday.

The National Hurricane Center forecast for Gonzalo calls for the storm to track west-northwest through the eastern Caribbean Sea this weekend, reaching a position south of Hispaniola on Monday.  It is much too early to tell where the system will go from there.  Interestingly, most of Wednesday’s global models call for the system to weaken or dissipate early next week as the storm moves into a very unfavorable environment.  However, there are some solutions showing the system surviving the hostile environment.

We will need to keep a close watch on the progress of Gonzalo.

Bob

Monitoring Two Tropical Waves in the Gulf of Mexico

Monday, July 20, 2020 3:03 PM

 

It seems the “Dog Days of Summer” were definitely settling in across our region last week as the center of the high pressure ridge persisted across West and Northwest Texas.  But with the center of the ridge moving off to the Tennessee Valley over the weekend, this opened the door for clouds and tropical moisture to spread inland off the Gulf of Mexico.  With a weaker ridge in place, temperatures weren’t quite as hot and spotty rain showers developed over much of the area along and to the east of Interstate 35.  This moist flow off the Gulf of Mexico is forecast to continue all week and through the upcoming weekend, keeping temperatures below the century mark and bringing at least a slight chance for rain to the entire region.

Forecasters are closely monitoring two tropical waves that are predicted to have some impact on our region’s weather this week.

RAMMB-CIRA 07/20/2020 12:30 pm CDT

The first tropical wave was located midday Monday over the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.  Surface observations showed a weak area of low pressure had developed to the south of Beaumont.  National Hurricane Center forecasters noted the associated shower and thunderstorm activity had become a little better around midday.  However, the system is expected to move inland over Texas tonight or Tuesday before significant additional development can occur.  The wave and its associated area of low pressure is forecast to track to the west Tuesday into Tuesday night.

Moisture associated with the tropical wave is forecast to spread inland along the middle Texas coast this afternoon and tonight, resulting in the development of a good coverage of rain showers and isolated thunderstorms for locations to the south of Interstate 10.  The probability for rain will be 50 percent.  Rain amounts through Tuesday morning should average between 0.5 and 1 inch, with isolated totals to near 2 inches possible.  There will be a slight increase in tropical moisture across Central Texas and the eastern Hill Country regions this afternoon and evening, resulting in the development of some widely scattered rain showers and thunderstorms.  The probability for rain at any given location will only be 20 percent and rain amounts should average less than a quarter inch.  Today’s temperature is forecast to generally reach the mid and upper 90s.  Lower 90s are expected towards the coast.

A chance for rain showers and isolated thunderstorms is forecast across the entire region Tuesday as the tropical wave and its associated moisture tracks further to the west. The highest probability for rain will be along the middle Texas coast at 50 percent.  The probability for rain will be near 30-40 percent across Central Texas and near 20-30 percent across the Hill Country.  Rain amounts will generally average between 0.25 and 0.5 inches, with isolated heavier totals.  High temperatures Tuesday will be mostly in the mid-90s.

A slight chance for scattered rain showers and thunderstorms is forecast across the entire region Wednesday as an area of tropical moisture lingers across the area.  The probability for rain will be near 20 percent and rain amounts should average around a quarter inch.  The deepest moisture associated with the tropical wave is expected exit our region and push west towards Mexico.  High temperatures Wednesday are predicted to be mostly in the mid-90s.

Thursday’s weather is shaping up to be generally dry and mostly sunny.  A few spotty showers will still be possible across the coastal region in a zone of lingering moisture.  High temperatures Thursday will generally be in the upper 90s, with mid-90s expected towards the coast.

The outlook for Friday and this weekend will be heavily dependent on the movement and possible development of tropical wave #2.  Monday’s analysis showed the tropical wave stretching from the Bahamas to south of Cuba.  National Hurricane Center forecasters call for the wave to move west-northwestward through the Straits of Florida today, move over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday and the central Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.  The tropical wave is forecast to reach the northwestern Gulf on Thursday.  Environmental conditions across the central and western Gulf of Mexico appear generally favorable for slight development of this wave later this week.  In fact, some of Monday morning’s guidance suggests an area of low pressure may develop as the wave axis reaches the western Gulf late Thursday.  The system is forecast to move inland somewhere along the middle or upper Texas coast on Friday.  An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system tomorrow, if necessary.  NHC forecaster are currently giving this system a 20 percent chance for tropical development over the next five days.

It’s too early to tell whether an organized tropical depression or tropical storm may develop later this week.  Nevertheless, this system is expected to bring an increasing chance for rain showers and thunderstorms to the entire region Friday and Saturday, with lingering rains continuing Sunday.  The forecast for rain totals over this period is very uncertain at this point and will depend heavily on whether an organized system develops, or whether the system remains an open wave.  As of now, rain amounts of 0.5-1 inch are suggested.

The outlook for next week calls for mostly sunny and hot weather.  The center of the high pressure ridge is forecast to remain up to our north, shifting from the middle Mississippi Valley early in the week to the Four Corners region late week.  There will be a slight chance for a few rain showers through the first half of the week as tropical moisture lingers over the area.  High temperatures will generally be in the mid and upper 90s.  Some triple digit temperatures could return by the start of August.

Tropical Weather Outlook

In addition to the two tropical waves over the Gulf of Mexico, National Hurricane Center forecasters are also monitoring a tropical wave in the eastern tropical Atlantic, roughly about 1000 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands.  Shower and thunderstorm activity has become a little better organized this morning and environmental conditions are  expected to be marginally conducive for development of this system during the next few days while it moves westward at 10 to 15 mph over the tropical Atlantic.  By Friday and over the weekend, conditions are forecast to become less favorable for tropical cyclone formation.

NHC forecasters are giving this system a 20 percent chance for tropical development over the next 5 days.

Comet NEOWISE Update

Many people were able to see comet NEOWISE over the weekend, but for many (including myself), weather and sky conditions just didn’t cooperate.  But don’t give up, the comet will still be visible in the evening sky all of this week.  Comet NEOWISE will be closest to Earth Wednesday and Thursday nights, offering up more good views.  Binoculars are pretty much now required to see our celestial visitor as it has dimmed a bit.  Otherwise, it will appear as a weak smudge of light to the unaided eye.

Check out a great NEOWISE update from Earthsky.org  https://earthsky.org/space/how-to-see-comet-c2020-f3-neowise

Bob

 

Continued Sunny but Not Quite as Hot. Some Showers Possible Late Next Week.

Friday, July 17, 2020 12:39 PM

This has been quite a week for extreme heat, with most areas seeing several days with triple digit temperatures.  For example, Austin-Camp Mabry has now seen 8 consecutive days with the temperature at or above 100 degrees.  The hottest of these days had a sizzling temperature of 108 degrees!  After a such a miserably hot and dry week, a few changes in the weather pattern are finally on the horizon.  The powerful high pressure ridge which was centered earlier this week near El Paso has shifted to the northeast.  Friday morning’s analysis showed the ridge is now centered over western Arkansas.  With the ridge centered northeast of our region, a clockwise wind flow around the ridge is causing an easterly flow of wind from the Gulf of Mexico into the southern half of Texas.  Meteorologists refer to this flow as the “tropical easterlies” as they will often bring clouds, and moisture from the tropics inland into Texas.

Friday morning, a weak trough of low pressure embedded within this easterly flow was pushing inland along the middle and upper Texas coast, spreading tropical moisture inland.  Radar showed an a fairly large area of scattered rain showers and thunderstorms occurring between Victoria, Wharton, Houston and Beaumont.  The area of showers is forecast to continue spreading inland this afternoon to near or just north of the Interstate 10 corridor.  Here, the probability for rain will be near 80 percent this afternoon.  Rain amounts are forecast to average around a half inch, with isolated totals to around 1.5 inches possible. Further inland, a few widely scattered rain showers will be possible in the area between La Grange and Austin , but the probability for rain here will only be near, or less than 20 percent.

For the Hill Country and the majority of Central Texas, this afternoon’s weather will be mostly sunny and continued hot, with high temperatures near 100 degrees.  High temperatures across the coastal plains will be in the upper 80s to low 90s.  This afternoon’s rain shower activity is predicted to diminish in the late afternoon and evening followed by dry and quiet weather overnight.

This weekend, mostly sunny and hot weather is forecast across the region.  Friday’s trough of low pressure is forecast to track to the southwest and move into Mexico.  A persistent moist flow off the Gulf of Mexico will cause a slight (20 percent) chance for scattered rain showers across the coastal plains region both days.  Rain amounts will generally average less than a quarter inch.  Dry weather will continue across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions.  High temperatures are predicted to trend down slightly as influence from the high pressure ridge diminishes a bit.  High temperatures across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions are predicted to be in the upper 90s, with low and mid-90s expected toward the coast.

For the first half of next week, few changes are expected.  Mostly sunny and dry weather will continue across the Hill Country and Central Texas regions while isolated to scattered rain showers will be continue across the coastal plains.  High temperatures will be in the upper 90s inland, with low to mid-90s expected towards the coast.

Forecasts call for a second and slightly stronger wave of low pressure to push inland along the Texas coast late Wednesday into Thursday.  This next system is forecast to pull tropical moisture further inland than what we are seeing from the today’s first system.  Scattered rain showers and isolated thunderstorms are forecast to develop across the coastal plains and Central Texas regions and even into parts of the Hill Country late week into next weekend.  Rain amounts are not expected to be very heavy, with most totals staying below a half inch.  Higher totals are forecast to towards the coast.    High temperatures late week and next weekend are predicted to fall to the mid-90s.

Longer-range outlooks call for the period of showers to come to an end as we move into the last week of July.  Forecast solutions call for the center of the high pressure ridge to shift from the middle Mississippi Valley region southwest to southern Oklahoma and northwestern Texas, shutting down the tropical easterlies.  Sunny, dry and hot weather looks to return, along with more triple-digit temperatures.

Tropical Weather Outlook

Weather conditions are quiet across the tropical Atlantic, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.  There are no systems in place which pose a threat for tropical cyclone development over the next 5 days.

Viewing Comet NEOWISE at Dusk

This will be a great weekend to try to catch a view of comet NEOWISE.  The comet is currently visible to the unaided eye, low in the northwestern sky in late twilight.  Plan to start looking about 30-45 minutes after sunset. The comet has been fading a little less rapidly than predicted; it is still hanging on at about 2nd magnitude as of July 16th.

To find it, start by spotting the Big Dipper located high in the northwest in late twilight as the stars come out. The Dipper is hanging down by its handle.

From July 17 through 21,  the comet is located below the Dipper’s bowl, as shown below, by about 20° to 15°.  From July 21 through 2,5 the comet is lower left of the Dipper’s bowl, by roughly 15°.  The comet should appear about 10° above the horizon.  Holding your fist toward the horizon, the comet’s location will be towards the top of your fist.

You may or may not need binoculars to detect it, depending on how it’s performing, the state of twilight, and the clarity of your sky low in the northwest.  Sharan dust, haze and possible clouds may hinder your view.  Finding a really dark sky will certainly help.

The comet will be gaining altitude night to night over the next couple of weeks as it gradually fades.

Image Courtesy Sky &Telescope

Have a good weekend.

Bob