Tropical Storm Cindy For 6/21/2017 2200 CDT

Tropical Storm Cindy is getting closer to land. The latest position from National Hurricane Center is 95 miles or 153 kilometers from Port Arthur, Texas as of 10:00 PM or 2200 CDT. Here is the latest Doppler radar image out of NWS Lake Charles.

It is moving 7 mph or 11 kilometers north-northwest. Cindy could make landfall between 3:00 AM to 5:00 AM or 0300 to 0500 CDT at this rate. The question is where Cindy will make landfall.

The data is from UCAR, to be more specific from ATCF data file. I also included the 5 day cone from National Hurricane Center.Looks to make landfall in East Texas our Southwest Louisiana. Still cannot rule a landfall closer to Houston at this time as tropical cyclones tend to wobble. The area around the center of Cindy has produced heavy rain.

Many areas have seen 1 to 2 inches or 2.54 to 5.08 centimeters of rain per hour. Doppler radar estimates the heaviest rainfall rate is 4 inches or 10.16 centimeters per hour! Some areas could see as much as 5 inch or 12.7 centimeters per hour!

Many areas have seen 3 to 6 inches or 7.62 to 15.24 centimeters of rain based on Doppler radar estimates. The highest is 11 inches or 27.94 centimeters of rain. Again, Doppler radar tends to underestimate rainfall totals. I suspect the highest rainfall total is around 12 to 14 inches or 30.48 to 35.56 centimeters of of rain. I think Houston area could see rain from Cindy, especially later tonight. Rainfall total should be about 1 to 3 inches or 2.54 to 7.62 centimeters with amount as high as 5 inches or 12.7 centimeters of rain. I would not be surprised if thunderstorms form on the west side of Cindy and dumps heavy rain over the Houston area while you sleep.

Once Cindy makes landfall, where does it go? Could it stall out over Texas and dump more heavy rain like Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 did? Or could it just move away from Texas? Here is the next 5 day forecast model.

The cone and heat map has Cindy moving towards Arkansas. No forecast model has Cindy stalling over Texas. It can be possible that Cindy will stall over Texas, but that is unlikely at this point. The forecast models are divided where Cindy will go once inland. It can go to the Midwest and Canada or go all the way to the East Coast. Right now, we should keep an eye on Tropical Storm Cindy as it is getting closer to land.

Potential Tropical Cyclone 3 For 6/19/2017 2100 CDT

Potential Tropical Cyclone 3, which in my opinion should be named as Cindy as Bret is already taken and traversing across South America. A Bret once paid a visit to South Texas as a Category 3 hurricane on August 22, 1999. A Cindy also paid a visit to Southeast Texas as a Category 1 hurricane on September 17, 1963. Cindy was a rainmaker as it dumped nearly 24 inches of rain (61 centimeters) of rain in Deweyville, Texas. Just in 24 hours, 20.60 inches (52.3 centimeters) fell!

Here is a heat map forecast. It is from from , to be more specific from ATCF data file. The intensity forecast is also from the same link at UCAR.

spite the forecast models having go towards Louisiana.

In terms of intensity, it is already a tropical storm.

Most intensity forecast models keep it as a tropical storm. None have Potential Tropical Cyclone 3 as a hurricane at this time. I do not think it will be a hurricane at this time. It will be a messy tropical storm. Most of the heavy rain is east of the center. Even if Potential Tropical Cyclone 3 made landfall over Galveston, most of the rain would be east. If Potential Tropical Cyclone 3 made landfall around Matagorda County, Houston area could get some heavy rain.

Depending on where Potential Tropical Cyclone 3 goes, Southeast Texas could see tropical storm force winds as early as Tuesday afternoon. The National Hurricane Center-Potential Tropical Cyclone 3 I would not be surprised if it is breezy by tomorrow afternoon.

The forecast is subject to change for Potential Tropical Cyclone 3, so please keep an eye on the weather.

Leap Day 2016

It is Leap Day and it comes every four years. So, what is the weather like on Leap Day in Houston? Here is official weather records on February 29th.

Houston Weather Branch 1921-1968
Year High Low Average Rainfall
1924 67 42 55 0
1928 75 33 64 T
1932 85 64 75 0
1936 71 50 61 0
1940 82 57 70 T
1944 62 45 54 0
1948 72 59 66 0.01
1952 83 58 71 0
1956 68 50 59 0
1960 53 49 51 0
1964 60 45 53 0
1968 49 39 44 0

Bush Intercontinental Airport 1969-2010
Year High Low Average Rainfall
1972 72 61 67 0.33
1976 78 57 68 0
1980 82 63 73 T
1984 55 28 42 0
1988 82 58 70 T
1992 82 48 65 0
1996 47 39 43 0.53
2000 80 57 69 T
2004 72 56 64 0.49
2008 78 57 68 T
2012 84 71 78 0

From 1920 to 2012, only one (4.4%) Leap Day saw below 32°F, which was in 1984. The winter of 1983-1984 was one of the coldest winters on record. Seven out of 23 (31.8%) Leap Day saw at least 80°F days. The warmest Leap Day occurred in 1932. Interestingly, it snowed on March 10, the latest measurable snowfall recorded in Houston. Also, it is not very wet on Leap Day. In fact the record rainfall is 0.53 inches, which fell in 1996. It rained in 10 out of 23 (43.5%) Leap Day from 1924 to 2016. There is more chance to see rain than to see 80°F Leap Days in Houston.

Here are some interesting facts about Leap Day. Leap year occurs in year divisible by 4. However, there are exceptions when years that are divisible by 100, they are not leap unless they are divisible by 400. So the year 1900 is not Leap Year, while 2000 is Leap Year. The purpose of Leap Year is meant to keep calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the Sun, which is every 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds or 365.242199 days. Happy Leap Day!

Oh No! (Tropical Storm Bill)

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued their first advisory for Tropical Storm Bill. It is a tropical storm with 50 mph winds. It has tropical storm force winds extending up to 160 miles, especially east of the center.

20150615_02L_2300EDT

The cone has Bill going northwest towards Texas at 12 mph. This means it could make landfall by tomorrow morning on the Texas Coast as a tropical storm. Bill forecasted to be stronger to 60 mph. Here is a wind probability, by 34 knots, 50 knots, and 64 knots.

34 Knots
20150615_02L_34KnotProbability_2300EDT

50 Knots
20150615_02L_50KnotProbability_2300EDT

64 Knots
20150615_02L_64KnotProbability_2300EDT

Coast areas have the highest chance to see tropical storm force winds. As you are further inland, the tropical storm force winds diminish due to land interaction. That means the highest wind on land assuming it is at 60 mph using the 15 percent reduction rule is 51 mph. That means the highest gust could be 77 mph is we multiply by factor of 1.5. Most areas should see 30 to 45 mph winds with gusts of 45 to 68 mph. Hurricane force winds are less likely with Bill. Of course, storms like Bill can rapidly intensify in the Gulf of Mexico if conditions are right.

The waters in the Gulf of Mexico are quite warm. Here is the 26°C or 78.8°F depth map.

20150615_26C_Depth_GOM

Tropical Cyclone Heat Potential
20150615_TCHP_GOM

The warm water is quite deep. An area of very warm on the surface and deep layer of warm water is very favorable for tropical development if there are not a lot of wind shear. The conditions can allow Bill to intensify further. I would not be surprised if Bill did become a hurricane. I suspect more likely a tropical storm.

Rainfall is another issue. It is moving 12 mph, which means if we use the rule of thumb, 100 divided by the motion speed, which is 12, we get about 8 inches of rain. That means Bill could easily dump 8 inches of rain. I suspect Bill will be more of a rain event than a wind event. Many areas could see 5 to 10 inches of rain with isolated areas seeing up to 15 inches of rain. The grounds in Southeast Texas is very saturated from the May and Spring rains. That can allow more flooding to happen from heavy rain if it is prolonged. The ground cannot handle anymore water, which means, flooding risk goes up from Bill.

Hurricane Ike 5 Years Later

hurricaneike2008texas

It is hard to believe it has been 5 years since Hurricane Ike made landfall on Southeast Texas as a monsterous Category 2 hurricane in the early morning hours of September 13, 2008. Ike pelted Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana with hurricane force winds and heavy rain.

Thunderstorms over Sudan that later became Ike.

Thunderstorms over Sudan that later became Ike.

What was the origin of Hurricane Ike? Ike started as a mesoscale convective system (MCS) that formed over Sudan on August 19th. Most tropical waves come from thunderstorms that form in the Northeast part of Africa. They are set off by the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The ITCZ is where there is thunderstorms from the clash of trade winds. These thunderstorms often provide beneficial rains in tropical and subtropical areas. The thunderstorms in ITCZ can break away and travel away. One of those thunderstorms from the ITCZ managed to do that. The MCS traveled over Africa and entered the Atlantic Ocean as a tropical wave on August 29th. The tropical wave traveled across with multiple vortices competing. One of them would win out as the thunderstorms in the tropical wave got better organized that on September 1, they were upgraded to Tropical Depression #9. Later that day, it was named Ike as it traveled over the open Atlantic. Tropical Storm Ike had to deal with wind shear in the upper level early in its life. The wind shear blows tops of thunderstorms, especially westerly wind shear. Since 2008 season was Neutral to La Nina, conditions were more favorable as there is less westerly wind shear. If 2008 was El Nino, there would be more westerly wind shear, which is why generally El Nino Atlantic Hurricane seasons see less storms. Wind shear generally kills tropical development. The higher the storm clouds are, the cooler it is. Higher storm clouds also mean they are more intense.

Hurricane Ike around its peak.

Hurricane Ike around its peak.

However, Ike gets a reprieve as the wind shear weakens and encounter warmer waters on September 3rd. This allowed Ike to rapidly intensify into a major hurricane. By the next day, Ike had become 2008’s strongest hurricane with 145 mph winds and central pressure of 935 millibars. Ike’s strength did not last as it encountered wind shear on September 5th. The wind shear weakened Ike to Category 2 strength. However, Ike was pushed southwards into more favorable areas due to upper level ridge to the north. Ike became a Category 4 hurricane as conditions were favorable. As it went westward, Ike made its first landfall on Turks and Caicos Islands as a Category 4 hurricane on the early morning hours of September 7th. The Turks and Caicos Islands were the first to feel Ike’s violent wrath in the form of strong winds, heavy rain, storm surge, and high waves. The South Caicos and Grand Turk took the brunt of Ike. Despite Ike’s fury, there were no reports of fatalities.

Damage in Grand Turk.

Damage in Grand Turk.

While Ike is ravaging the Turks and Caicos Islands, the outer bands of Ike were dumping heavy rain on Haiti and Dominican Republic, which had been ravaged by Fay, Gustav, and Hanna. The flooding from Ike claimed 74 lives in Haiti and 2 in Dominican Republic. Prior to Ike, Tropical Storm Hanna ravaged Haiti and Dominican Republic with heavy rain that led to massive flooding. The flooding claims 529 lives in Haiti, while just one died in Dominican Republic. Why did Haiti see more fatalities than Dominican Republic? The lack of trees in Haiti makes it even more vulnerable to mudslides from the mountains. The heavy rain causes deadly mudslides that destroys houses and killed people.

Stranded Cubans following Ike.

Stranded Cubans following Ike.

Once Ike passed Turks and Caicos Island, Ike headed for Cuba. The hurricane made landfall on Cabo Lucrecia, Holguín Province, Cuba. Cuba has in a very rough ride with Ike as traversed over the entire island nation. Cuba was being pelted by heavy rain, strong wind, high waves, and storm surge. Briefly, Ike went over the water only to make a second landfall on Punta La Capitana, Pinar del Río, Cuba on September 8th as a Category 1 hurricane. Ike claimed 7 lives in Cuba.

Ike near its secondary peak in Gulf of Mexico.

Ike near its secondary peak in Gulf of Mexico.

Once Ike exited Cuba, it was a large Category 1 hurricane. Ike traveling over all of Cuba caused the storm to expand as energy is spread out from land interaction. Ike had large area of warm water in the Gulf of Mexico and was getting close to the Loop Current, which is one of the warmest spot. Ike rapidly deepen from 963 to 944 millibars on the night of September 10th as it was over the Loop Current. However, the wind did not strengthen much, only from 80 to 100 mph. The reason was Ike was a very large hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 125 miles from the eye. The pressure gradient was not tight due to its large size. Normally, an Atlantic hurricane with central pressure of 944 millibars is a Category 3 or 4 hurricane.

On September 11th, Southeast Texas is sunny and dry because on the west side of a hurricane in Northern Hemisphere, the west side is usually the clean side. It blows in dry and sinking air from the north. The nice sunny day is very deceptive as Ike is ever inching closer. Meanwhile in the Gulf of Mexico, Ike is generating massive waves that are heading towards the Texas and Louisiana. Ike continued across the Gulf of Mexico as a large Category 2 hurricane. Waves are coming ahead of Ike in coastal Texas. People are evacuating from coastal areas including Galveston. Some choose to stay behind. The outer cloud banks of Ike are over Southeast Texas as winds start to pick up. By the afternoon of September 12th, some coastal areas are getting squally weather from the feeder bands entering Texas.

By the night of September 12th, conditions have gotten much worse. Winds and rain is picking up more in Cuba. Meanwhile in Houston area, it is still windy with occasionally light rain. As the night progress, Ike is getting closer to landfall. The hurricane force winds enter Texas around the late hours of September 12th. Ike is getting stronger and developing a more organized eyewall. Ike now has a central pressure of 951 millibars and 110 mph winds. Ike still remains a large hurricane with hurricane force winds extending up to 125 miles and tropical storm force winds extending up to 260 miles.

Ike at landfall on Southeast Texas.

Ike at landfall on Southeast Texas.

By the early morning hours of September 13th, Houston area is seeing stronger winds and heavier rain. Power starts to go out throughout Southeast Texas as power lines are being knocked by the strong wind. The coastal areas are seeing storm surge getting higher and higher. Anyone who stayed behind in Galveston or Bolivar Peninsula are doomed by the massive storm surge. Ike makes landfall on the eastern end of Galveston Island at 2:10 AM Central Time. People who are staying behind in the coastal areas are wishing they had evacuated as they are surrounded by rising storm surge. Ike travel to the northwest towards Houston. By 4:00 AM, Ike went over Baytown, which is flooded by storm surge. A large area of Southeast Texas is getting hurricane force winds including all of Houston.

Bolivar Peninsula following Ike.

Bolivar Peninsula following Ike.

Bolivar Peninsula following Ike.[/caption]By the time the Sun rises, Ike is still ravaging Southeast Texas despite the fact it has weakened to Category 1 hurricane. Ike remained a monsterous and very dangerous hurricane. Many areas are still seeing heavy rain and strong winds. The wind blew down numerous trees and damage many buildings and houses. There is widespread flooding reported throughout Southeast Texas. Bayous and rivers are overflowing from widespread heavy rain. Coastal areas had storm surge as high as 25 feet. Bolivar Peninsula saw the higher storm surge as the whole area looked like if a nuclear bomb had exploded. Once it was all over, many buildings and houses were damaged or destroyed while many trees were uprooted. Coastal areas were gutted from the massive storm surge. Millions of people were out of power for days. A large area saw 6 to 12 inches of rain from Ike.

The damage was not just limited to Texas. Louisiana also felt the brunt of Ike, especially in Southwestern Louisiana. It is the same area that had been ravaged by Hurricane Rita in 2005. Many areas were flooded by Ike. There was even flooding in New Iberia, which is in Central Louisiana. It shows that Ike’s massive size had a huge impact over a large area from Texas to Louisiana. This is despite the fact that they only got tropical storm force winds. It shows that large, but not so strong hurricane is very dangerous as it produces massive storm surge and high waves.

Thunderstorms ahead of a cold front in the early morning hours of September 14, 2008.

Thunderstorms ahead of a cold front in the early morning hours of September 14, 2008.

The following night, a cold front came, which allowed thunderstorms to form from moisture left by Ike. The storms dumped 5 to 8 inches of rain. The heavy rain causes more flooding on top of what Ike dumped in Southeast Texas. Once the rain ended, many areas saw a two day total ranging from 10 to 20 inches of rain. Meanwhile, the remnants of Ike continued to wreak havoc in the Midwest. Ohio saw hurricane force gusts, which caused more power outages. The remains of Ike continued into Canada and dumped heavy rain in Ontario and Quebec. A total of 112 people lost their life with 34 unaccounted for in America. Most of the deaths were in Texas, where 84 people died.

So, how was 2008 like prior to Ike. The winter of 2007-2008 was La Nina, so it was warmer and drier. Despite the La Nina, there were storms. Spring of 2008 was mostly dry. There were days of pleasant weather in spring 2008. Summer of 2008 was average in terms of temperature and rainfall. Texas first brush with a hurricane was Dolly, which affected South Texas. The outer bands of Dolly dumped heavy rain in the Houston area. Not too long after Dolly came, Tropical Storm Edouard paid a visit to Houston area. It was a rather unremarkable tropical storm that dumped up to 6 inches of rain. Edouard moved inland and gave beneficial rains to drought ridden Central Texas.

More photos of Ike.

Haiti following Ike.

Haiti following Ike.

Galveson flooded following Ike.

Galveson flooded following Ike.

New Iberia flooded following Ike.

New Iberia flooded following Ike.

Hurricane Ike rainfall total for America.

Hurricane Ike rainfall total for America.

NHC Hurricane Ike Report
NHC Hurricane Ike Advisory Report
Morphed Integrated Microwave Imagery at CIMSS (MIMIC)

Leap Day

It is Leap Day and it comes every four years. So, what is the weather like on Leap Day in Houston? Here is official weather records on February 29th.

Houston Weather Branch 1921-1968
Year High Low Average Rainfall
1924 67 42 55 0
1928 75 33 64 T
1932 85 64 75 0
1936 71 50 61 0
1940 82 57 70 T
1944 62 45 54 0
1948 72 59 66 0.01
1952 83 58 71 0
1956 68 50 59 0
1960 53 49 51 0
1964 60 45 53 0
1968 49 39 44 0

Bush Intercontinental Airport 1969-2010
Year High Low Average Rainfall
1972 72 61 67 0.33
1976 78 57 68 0
1980 82 63 73 T
1984 55 28 42 0
1988 82 58 70 T
1992 82 48 65 0
1996 47 39 43 0.53
2000 80 57 69 T
2004 72 56 64 0.49
2008 78 57 68 T

From 1920 to 2008, only one (4.5%) Leap Day saw below 32°F, which was in 1984. The winter of 1983-1984 was one of the coldest winters on record. Seven out of 22 (31.8%) Leap Day saw at least 80°F days. The warmest Leap Day occurred in 1932. Interestingly, it snowed on March 10, the latest snowfall recorded in Houston. Also, it is not very wet on Leap Day. In fact the record rainfall is 0.53 inches, which fell in 1996. It rained in 10 out of 22 (45.5%) Leap Day from 1924 to 2008. There is more chance to see rain than to see 80°F Leap Days in Houston. Here is a typical Leap Day climate in Houston from 1920 to 2008.

Average High
70.68

Standard Deviation
11.72

Average Low
50.68

Standard Deviation
9.88

Average Temperature
61.45

Standard Deviation
9.96

Average Rainfall
0.09

Standard Deviation
0.19

Here are some interesting facts about Leap Day. Leap year occurs in year divisible by 4. However, there are exceptions when years that are divisible by 100, they are not leap unless they are divisible by 400. So the year 1900 is not Leap Year, while 2000 is Leap Year. The purpose of Leap Year is meant to keep calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the Sun, which is every 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds or 365.242199 days. Happy Leap Day!

Christmas 2011

It is almost Christmas and wonder what it is like in Southeast Texas? Here are weather records that goes back to 1921. Keep in mind that the official weather station for Houston has moved from Downtown Houston to Bush Interncontinental Airport.

Houston Weather Branch 1921-1968

Year High Low Average Rainfall
1921 53 31 42 0
1922 75 51 63 0
1923 59 48 53.5 0
1924 37 27 32 0
1925 59 45 52 T
1926 48 33 40.5 0.28
1927 56 43 49.5 0.01
1928 58 43 50.5 0
1929 69 41 55 0
1930 58 46 52 1.31
1931 70 53 61.5 0
1932 68 50 59 0
1933 74 59 66.5 0
1934 78 64 71 T
1935 57 43 50 T
1936 72 58 65 0
1937 75 61 68 0
1938 51 46 48.5 1.42
1939 45 41 43 1.81
1940 70 54 62 0.48
1941 67 52 59.5 0.46
1942 79 67 73 0
1943 38 35 36.5 0.01
1944 77 65 71 0.29
1945 62 46 54 0
1946 73 50 61.5 0
1947 51 34 42.5 0
1948 64 41 52.5 0
1949 65 46 55.5 T
1950 74 53 63.5 0
1951 75 61 68 0.13
1952 54 42 48 0
1953 55 33 44 0
1954 70 57 63.5 T
1955 79 63 71 0
1956 61 41 51 0
1957 67 53 60 0.32
1958 54 42 48 0.05
1959 63 54 58.5 T
1960 65 47 56 0
1961 63 42 52.5 0
1962 57 48 52.5 0.04
1963 70 45 57.5 0
1964 82 59 70.5 0
1965 57 40 48.5 0
1966 48 40 44 0.13
1967 64 48 56 0
1968 66 48 57 0

Bush Intercontinental Airport 1969-2010

Year High Low Average Rainfall
1969 69 41 55 0
1970 65 39 52 0
1971 73 59 66 0
1972 66 34 50 0
1973 51 45 48 T
1974 51 43 47 0.12
1975 46 35 40.5 T
1976 61 45 53 0.59
1977 59 39 49 0
1978 66 30 48 0
1979 70 33 51.5 0
1980 50 30 40 0
1981 56 33 44.5 0
1982 74 51 62.5 1.64
1983 28 11 19.5 0
1984 64 49 56.5 0.01
1985 45 29 37 0
1986 68 41 54.5 0
1987 78 51 64.5 0.04
1988 65 50 57.5 T
1989 61 20 40.5 0
1990 44 26 35 0
1991 56 37 46.5 0
1992 62 51 56.5 T
1993 64 33 48.5 0
1994 64 34 49 0
1995 60 42 51 0
1996 59 32 45.5 0
1997 59 38 48.5 0
1998 41 31 36 0
1999 58 36 47 0
2000 57 48 52.5 T
2001 54 33 43.5 0
2002 50 32 41 0
2003 61 43 52 T
2004 49 32 40.5 0
2005 69 44 56.5 0
2006 53 39 46 0.01
2007 62 33 47.5 0
2008 74 60 67 0
2009 49 32 40.5 0
2010 46 37 41.5 T

The Ghost of Christmas Past sometimes has to deal with rain and other times has to wear shorts. The Ghost of Christmas Past has only dealt with snow once in 2004. Snow on Christmas is not likely this year. Rain will be main problem this time. Santa Claus better have rain gear to wear for the rainy Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve 2010 was wet, especially at night. So, the Ghost of Christmas Past does return.