Friday frenzy in the Gulf

HOUSTON - Friday night football will probably be spared today, as our daily dose of afternoon storms will end for most of us around or just before sunset. The rain today will be mainly focused along the coast. Any storms that do form will be juiced-up, thanks to deep, tropical moisture across the region, with a disturbance sitting just offshore.

This system is struggling to find an identity, and we hope it never does. While it had ample room to grow when it was south of its current position, it's now entered a region of 30-40 knot wind shear which will help keep it weak. Time is also a limiting factor. The National Hurricane Center gives it half the chance they did yesterday, of it developing further due in part because it'll likely track ashore before it can become a cyclone. That is great news, but wherever the system tracks, heavy rain and flooding will follow.

So where is it going? Steering currents, which help to direct the track of tropical systems, now take it to the northwest toward Louisiana. As of this morning the, "center" or, "axis" of greatest storminess appears to be due south of the Sabine River. That's about the direction this thing should take. (Earlier it appeared that  would track westward into south Texas.) The tropics are fickle and this is a good example of how forecasts can change. If it does move into Louisiana, areas hard hit by heavy rains last month may be impacted yet again. Fortunately this time the system doesn't look quite as moist, so rainfall totals would be closer to 3"-6" rather than the 20+" they recently endured.

Stay close to the forecast in case the system shifts west again. Bonus for our weekend in Houston: it looks drier, though hotter. Keep umbrellas AND sunscreen at the ready and don't cancel your beach plans in Galveston or Surfside.



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