Posted on Leave a comment

Hurricane Harvey will be one to watch

We haven’t had a major hurricane make landfall in the US since the hurricane season of 2005. That may change tomorrow night. Tropical Storm Harvey is making its way through the southern Gulf right now and is aiming for the Texas coastline. The storm has winds of 60 mph right now, but the storm could undergo rapid intensification today and tonight, possibly exploding into a major hurricane. The Houston area is also in the cross hairs of this system. Since Houston is the country’s fourth largest city, you can only imagine the ramifications. The main thing to concentrate on is the flooding. The system is expected to stall just off the coast or just onshore, which is a worst-case scenario for that area. We could be looking at phenomenal rainfall totals and flooding scenes that we haven’t seen since Katrina. Just keep all those folks in your thoughts and prayers. They’re going to need it.

As for us, we couldn’t ask for better weather. We’re going to be enjoying clear skies and low humidity. We’ll see highs each day in the mid to upper 70s and overnight lows in the mid 50s. It doesn’t get much better than this in August! By Sunday, the heat and humidity will lead to an isolated shr or storm and we’ll see that through the first half of next week. The remnants of Harvey are expected to move in the middle or end of next week, bringing widespread rainfall to our area.

I had someone ask what I meant by “tropical tornadoes” in my last post. That’s a great question and I thought I should have explained that when I wrote that. Tropical tornadoes typically occur in the right front quadrant of a hurricane. For instance, if a hurricane is making landfall in southern Texas and it’s moving west, everyone north  and northwest of the landfall would be at the highest risk.  They are typically weak and short-lived tornadoes and result from what we call directional wind shear. As a hurricane makes landfall, the earth’s surface (friction) causes the surface winds to slow, while the winds up off the surface remain much faster. This causes the air to roll. If a t-storm’s updraft lifts this roll, it can tighten as it is stretched vertically, leading to a quick spin-up of a tornado.

speedshear.jpg

I’ll be keeping an eye on Harvey all day! If you have any questions at all, just let me know!

Leave a Reply