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The eclipse was awesome, but let’s talk tropics

I have two things I want to cover in this post so let me start with the happier topic.  The eclipse yesterday was an awesome experience.  Even though we did not get a total eclipse down here in Houston I still found myself mesmerized by the partial eclipse that we did have.  I did not know quite what to expect, but when I put my glasses on and looked up I was truly amazed.  If this had been in the fall or winter I would have been outside the entire time. However it is August in Houston and since I didn’t want to go back into my office looking and smelling like I had just competed in the Crossfit Games (lets be serious though, if did that I would still be in the ICU this morning) I unfortunately had to limit my time outside.

If you use any sort of social media I know you have seen a bazillion pictures by now but here are some of the ones I took through my glasses with my phone.  Seeing a bazillion and 2 or 3 won’t hurt you.

I am definitely making plans to get out to central Texas for the total eclipse in 7 years.

Now on to the more serious topic.  With all of the eclipse hubbub the past couple of days attention has turned away from the tropics despite this being prime-time in hurricane season.  Over the weekend you may, or may not, have heard about Tropical Storm Harvey crossing the Caribbean. Harvey ran into unfavorable conditions and died – degenerating into a mere tropical wave moving towards the Yucatan peninsula.  However (Big Stephen A. Smith HOWEVER) almost all of the weather models have been showing the remnants of Harvey crossing the Yucatan today, emerging into the southern Gulf of Mexico, and rising from the dead.  These computer models – which originally sent Zombie Harvey back into Mexico south of the Texas border – have over the last 24-36 hours been trending their tracks northwards putting almost all of the Texas coast in play. Given that any impacts are still 4-5 days out and that the storm has not even officially re-formed yet there is still a lot of uncertainty, but the trends are concerning enough that people need to at least be paying attention.

So what are we dealing with here?  With that above mentioned uncertainty in mind I am going to try to speak in generalizations for now, as there will be time to nail down finer details over the next day or two.  The general consensus right now is that by the end of the week we could be looking at a tropical storm or low end hurricane approaching the Texas coast.  Where exactly has yet to be determined, but somewhere between Brownsville and Matagorda Bay looks to be the preferred destination at the moment.  Again though, models have been trending north so its not totally out of the question that it gets closer to our area, but I am not convinced of that just yet.  As tends to happen with tropical systems people focus their attention on the wind.  At the moment wind would be a secondary concern of mine.  Right now the main concern is rain.  Once this storm moves inland the distinct potential exists for it slowly drift north or even stall out near the mid or upper Texas coast and dump a copious amount of rain. The target for the heaviest rain will depend on where it makes landfall and how wide or compact the storm is, all of which is still TBD. However any scenario that puts the Houston area on the east side of the circulation is less than ideal.  Rain isn’t the sexy part of these storms but we in Houston know all to well what rain can do.

I do not think it is time to panic, but this is a good time to at least make yourself aware of the situation and think about your hurricane/flood plan. I am NOT saying we are getting a hurricane right now – but with so much focus on the eclipse the past few days, and with school starting for many both this week and next, this storm has the potential to catch people off guard if it does impact our region. Stay tuned to the local weather outlets and I will also be posting more updates if the situation becomes more concerning.

You can send me any questions or follow me on Twitter @stephenuzick.

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