Friday, July 13, 2012

Houston, We Have a Problem

That problem is rain, and lots of it. A nearly stationary upper level trough along the Gulf Coast combined with a steady flow of moist air from the Gulf of Mexico resulted in torrential rain in the northwest side of Houston for the past couple of days.

This is the water vapor satellite image for Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm CDT. The yellow dashed line marks the upper level trough, and the green arrow depicts the flow of very moist air. The orange area northwest of the trough is dry air, and the white to blue colors depict the moist air.

More than 15 inches of rain have accumulated at some locations since Tuesday, pushing several creeks and rivers to major flood levels.  Numerous homes were flooded with anywhere from a few inches to several feet of water. Some roads were still closed due to flooding late Friday afternoon.

This graph shows the river stage on Cypress Creek. The blue line tracks the observed values, and the purple dots are the forecast stages.

The National Weather Service reported that one rain gauge on the border of Harris and Waller counties recorded 10.30 inches of rain in a 10 hour period.

CoCoRaHS maps for July 12 (top) and July 13 (bottom)
 On the positive side, the three days of rain will likely put an end to the drought in southeastern Texas.

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