Sunday, June 14, 2015

Bracing For Bill

All eyes focus on the Gulf of Mexico as an area of low pressure is getting more and more organized. It is very possible that this will become the second named storm of this season. Bill will likely remain a tropical storm, but residents along the Texas coast should remain on high alert. After the wettest May on record in many places, Bill threatens to renew the flood threat. The rain could begin falling as early as Monday afternoon and might last through early Wednesday.

The air force reconnaissance planes, so-called "Hurricane Hunters" will investigate the system today and Monday morning looking for crucial information gained only by flying into tropical turmoil. They may indeed find a developing surface low pressure system aided by very weak upper-level winds. A weak high pressure ridge in the Gulf will tend to nudge Bill westward toward the Texas coast. A conglomeration of models has this opinion, although there is a wide spread as to the likely landfall location:

Most of the heavier rainfall in a tropical system falls east of the center. Therefore, the further west Bill heads, the worse it will be for Houston, Galveston and Lake Charles. If Bill heads closer to the Texas-Louisiana border, the greater the chance the flood threat ends up in central and southern Louisiana.

Here is the current thinking about the expected rainfall through mid-day Tuesday:

Anywhere from 3" to 6" are likely. Depending on the track of the storm, these rain bands could easily come in off the Gulf and repeatedly drench the same areas. This "training" effect could lead to flash flooding over an area hard hit by Memorial Day flooding. Residents should be alert and have a plan for getting to higher ground and avoiding low-lying areas that have a history of flooding.

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