Last week was quite a weather week no one will forget in Texas. Wave after wave of heavy rain and severe thunderstorms plagued Texas. Memorial Day had heavy rain in Central and Southeast Texas. The rain over Houston area proved to be catastrophic as many areas saw 8 to 12 inches of rain on Memorial Day night into the small hours of May 26th. A lot of rain and thunder from that storm. It led to flooding in the Houston area as streets are overloaded with water and bayous are above flood stage. As of June 1, 2015, 31 people have died from flooding in Texas. Here is a rainfall total from the Memorial Day event.
Many areas in the Austin area saw 3 to 7 inches of rain. Areas southeast of Austin got the heaviest rain in Central Texas, up to 8 inches fell in Bastrop County. Southeast Texas took the brunt of the storm as they stalled out and dumped heavy rain on Memorial Day night into the early morning of May 26th. Many areas in Southeast Texas saw 8 to 12 inches of rain. Many people are comparing the Memorial Day storm to 2001 Tropical Storm Allison. Allison dumped 40 inches on Southeast Texas, including over 28 inches of rain in 12 hours on June 8-9, 2001! That storm claimed 23 lives in the Houston area. Allison went on to ravage the entire Gulf Coast and East Coast of America. Allison claimed 41 lives. Many areas from New Orleans, Mobile, Charlotte, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston saw heavy rain from Allison.
So, how was Spring like for Texas? Here is a 90 day rainfall total from March 1 to May 31.
Many areas in Texas saw over 20 inches of rain! Some saw as high as over 45 inches in North Texas! A weather station in Gainesville, Texas, recorded 28.90 inches of rain for May! Talk about wet! That is almost equivalent to 1 year’s worth of rain for Houston! Houston area saw 20 to 40 inches of rain in Spring! As they say, everything is bigger in Texas! All the rainfall total data is from Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS).
Now, why was it wet this past spring? It must be El Nino and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Yup, that is right.
El Nino is the warm water off the west coast of South America in the Pacific Ocean. It is very warm right now. PDO is the area of warm water off the West Coast of America. When both are in warm phases, that means there is more moisture from the Pacific on top of the abnormally warm Gulf of Mexico. A warm Gulf of Mexico produces more moisture for Texas. Also, jet stream goes further south than usual. That means storms tend track over Texas during El Nino. It would explain the west Spring Texas had.
If El Nino can keep up like this, come Fall and Winter, California and Western US is going to get heavy rain like what Texas had. I would not be surprised if California sees a very wet Winter.
This now leads me to the next thing today. It is the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. We already had one named storm, Ana. Here is the remaining names for 2015.
With El Nino in place, I forecast a less active season for 2015. However, I am not ruling out a landfall of a Category 3 or above on the US coast. It has been 10 years since the last Category 3 hurricane made landfall, which was Wilma on October 24, 2005. You can read more about my forecast.