Tropical Depression Two Along South Texas Coast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:46 PM GMT on July 08, 2010

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Hello everybody, this is Senior Meteorologist Shaun Tanner writing Dr. Masters' blog while he is on vacation.

Tropical Depression Two formed overnight in the northern Bay of Campeche and is now making landfall along the extreme south coast of Texas. A hurricane hunter was sent into the system and found a low-level circulation. While there are some reports of tropical storm strength winds in the squalls of the system, there is just not enough evidence to upgrade the storm to tropical storm strength before landfall.

The satellite representation of the depression is quite impressive as half of the depression is now over landfall. Brownsville radar currently is showing the effects of the depression with heavy rain and thunderstorms through much of southern Texas.

The biggest lingering effect from the depression will be to prolong the devastating flooding that has been ongoing in southern Texas and northeast Mexico. Not including the rain that will fall due to the depression, over the past 7 days, the area near Houston has received over 10 inches of rain, while some inland areas of Texas has received over 4 inches of rain. The problem gets worse in the Mexican state of Coahuila near the Texas border has received upwards of 20 inches of rain in the past 7 days due to substantial moisture pouring into the area.

This surging watershed has caused massive flooding throughout the region, with the area near Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico being the hardest hit. The flooding has caused the major border crossing between those two cities to be closed as the Rio Grande surged and threatened to top the crossing's bridge. A contingent of Mexican officials, including the mayor of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, touring the flooding damage in an airplane crashed Wednesday, killing all six onboard. Evacuations on both sides of the border has forced tens of thousands of people out of their homes, while over 100,000 people were without water service. The flooding problem is extra dangerous because swollen dams had to release some of their water downstream into areas that towns that have already been swamped. It was even reported that one of these releases by the National Water Commission of Mexico was the largest emergency water release in the country.

Needless to say, the rain from Tropical Depression Two will only further the flooding problems in southern Texas and northeast Mexico. Figure 3 shows the severe map and the greens represent Flood Watches and Warnings. You can see almost the entire states of Texas and Oklahoma are under these watches and warnings in anticipation of several inches of rain from the remnants of Tropical Depression Two.


Figure 1. Satellite loop of Tropical Depression Two.


Figure 2. Storm-centered radar as depression makes landfall.


Figure 3. Severe map.

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It has not rained here since June28th. Looks like rain chances are increasing in NC though each day.
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Model precipitation forecasts do not necessarily depict where they think most tropical cyclones will track. What they are generally a good indication of is where they will tend to form.
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373. xcool
MississippiWx /oh
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Quoting xcool:
2007 set-up IMO
2007 isn't a decent example, because there will likely be more systems going north of the Caribbean, a few tracks that you might see this year are like Andrew (1992), Frances (2004), Jeanne (2004), Rita (2005), etc... IMO, 2004 is the best example as far as tracks go.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21109
Quoting LouisianaWoman:
Here's my question...since they will form in above average waters, intensity wise, would that make a difference? By difference I mean, a storm that forms in colder waters and then treads into hotter water would take advantage of a situation like that as opposed to having formed in hotter waters and just maintaining similar water temps throughout it's path.


I guess it depends on what you mean by colder. As a general rule, tropical cyclonegenesis requires sufficiently warm water (I believe at least 78 degrees F) of sufficient depth (I believe around 200 feet), plus certain atmospheric conditions have to be met. Weak tropical cyclones can form in relatively cool water when atmospheric conditions are ideal, although in that setup you are more likely, I would think, to get a subtropical storm. That subtropical storm could then become fully tropical if it drifted over warmer waters. I don't think a temperature gradient impacts the amount of strengthening itself, other than making conditions more or less favourable for strengthening. It is the actual temperature under the cyclone (plus other factors). HTH.
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JB this afternoon.


THURSDAY 4 PM
QUICK, BEFORE THE SUN GOES DOWN

http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~gadomski/SAT_SE/anim8vis.html

You can see the small low level circulation developing and moving west northwest to the east of the outer banks. What this has to do now is stay over the gulf stream and build tstorms overnight.


You know, this temp is closer than I thought at noon PHL has hit 89, ewr 87 but BWI got 94 and DC 95 this puts it at 91.5 between all of them. The clouds made the big difference this morning. Tstorms are forming hit and miss fashion on the boundary, now west of PHL and EWR.

The capital of heat... Selinsgrove PA ( Penns Valley Integalatic space port) Selinsgrove, which is on the Susquehana River has hit 100 4 straight times this month, 5 record highs in a row, and has hit 104 this afternoon. In the last 10 years, they did not hit 100 once!

By the way, the depression did cause tides to 3 feet above normal around Corpus Christi. Still this does not count as an impact tropical storm.

ciao for now ****
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Quoting xcool:
2007 set-up IMO


Just because our first two cyclones have moved into Mexico/South Texas doesn't mean this season is going to be like 2007. The atmospheric pattern is not the same as 2007. In 2007, we had a strong La Nina present. This year, models are only predicting a weak to moderate La Nina before it weakens by the end of the year.
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Do you think something could develop off the cold front in a week or so? (the front that is currently in the Midwest)
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Quoting help4u:
Storm W models for precepitation show most far south not in gulf during Aug,Sept,and Oct.Does this mean most of the storms will go to mexico and south?No storms for United States?


No, that just means that precipitation will generally be below average, outside of tropical events.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31882
Quoting MississippiWx:


A storm will naturally strengthen further once in warmer waters if the upper-level conditions are favorable. A system in warm waters won't just stay even strength-wise, though. It will continue to strengthen as far as the water temps and atmosphere allow it.
Exactly. A system will keep and keep on going as long as factors such as TCHP and shear are supportive of its development.
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364. xcool
2007 set-up IMO
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Storm W models for precepitation show most far south not in gulf during Aug,Sept,and Oct.Does this mean most of the storms will go to mexico and south?No storms for United States?
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5PM National Hurricane Center Update
Graphics Update






...which brings us here...



...climatology says that these are the areas to look at for July...



ALL IMAGES MADE BY CYCLONEKID
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Quoting LouisianaWoman:
Here's my question...since they will form in above average waters, intensity wise, would that make a difference? By difference I mean, a storm that forms in colder waters and then treads into hotter water would take advantage of a situation like that as opposed to having formed in hotter waters and just maintaining similar water temps throughout it's path.


A storm will naturally strengthen further once in warmer waters if the upper-level conditions are favorable. A system in warm waters won't just stay even strength-wise, though. It will continue to strengthen as far as the water temps and atmosphere allow it.
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Quoting txalwaysprepared:
Statement as of 2:17 am CDT on July 08, 2010

... Record daily maximum rainfall set at Houston intercontinental...

A record rainfall of 2.32 inches was set at Houston intercontinental
yesterday. This breaks the old record of 2.31 set in 1973. Rainfall
this month is now 8.64 inches which is the eighth wettest July in
city history.

Hobby Airport has received 9.88 inches of rain in July. This is the
seventh wettest July on record for this location.


1. I live within 6 miles of Houston Intercontinental Airport. The rain yesterday was NOT that dramatic. Yes, we had possibly 2" of rain, but for Houston that's nothing.

2. Not a daily record rainfall, not by a LONG SHOT! The NWS in Harris County, Tx reported that it set a new record but they are really wrong.
Check out this link for reported rainfall amounts during T.S. Allison during June 5-9th, 2001. Link

Houston Intercontinental Airport had:
June 5th = 4.80 inches
June 6th = 0.04 inches
June 7th = 0.00 inches
June 8th = 7.40 inches
June 9th = 5.00 inches

A total of 9 inches (230 mm) of rain fell at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on August 16, 2007 due to Tropical Storm Erin.

I saw that the "record" was widely reported by the NWS... but yesterday's rainfall was unimpressive. There wasn't any real street flooding. I drove by the Intercontinental Airport on my way home and didn't even have to avoid puddles.

I think someone at the NWS got this one wrong. Maybe they just meant that it was a record rainfall for the date of July 8th.
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Quoting Chigz:

If you look closely to these models, it seems that there is lot of forecast precipitation in the Caribbean but not much in the Gulf - I wonder where does is all go from the Caribbean? To Mexico and East Pacific perhaps? So far this has been the case..! Does this also tells us that we will see lot more southerly track storms south of 15N?


Well the Euro does show above-normal precipitation in the gulf, but remember you have that monster ridging pattern that has been over the southern and eastern US, keeping folks mostly drier than normal **outside of tropical events**. When you take a generally drier-than-normal pattern for the southern US, the only thing that could bring it up to near-normal in the end is hurricanes and tropical systems making landfall in those areas. You notice it's dry until storms like Alex or TD 2 move in and bring tropical rains. Merge the dry pattern and the tropical events together and you get near-normal rainfall in the end.
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With all this hot weather we've been having our waters up here around New England are rising incredibly fast,which means if we get anything up this way,its not going to weaken as fast as they might with our normally cool waters.So keep them away from us this year,please.
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Here's my question...since they will form in above average waters, intensity wise, would that make a difference? By difference I mean, a storm that forms in colder waters and then treads into hotter water would take advantage of a situation like that as opposed to having formed in hotter waters and just maintaining similar water temps throughout it's path.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


That's what I figured. I think once this season really starts, there will be no letting up and we will all probably be begging for mercy. I just don't see how we CAN'T have a hyperactive season.
I agree completely.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21109
355. DDR
Thanks levi
Lots of rain around the windwards right now,but the sal is coming which means drier times ahead next week.
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Quoting Tropicsweatherpr:


Levi, what happened to the tripole that was in the North Atlantic in April and May?


It's still there, but the cool pool is pushed farther north and is squished. You can see hints of cooling along 30N in the eastern Atlantic, but my guess would be that the ridging pattern across eastern North America has warmed the NW Atlantic up. You can see in the NAEFS Week 2 temperature forecast that the NE Atlantic remains cold which will support cold SST anomalies, but more warmth is found in the NW Atlantic than there was a few months ago.

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353. xcool
JULY 20 KABOOM IN tropical
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Quoting StormW:


Yes...based on research, you have to weigh that. Even without La Nina conditions, if the Atlantic is warmer, relative to the EPAC, then it's a plus in the Atlantic Basin.


That's what I figured. I think once this season really starts, there will be no letting up and we will all probably be begging for mercy. I just don't see how we CAN'T have a hyperactive season.
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351. Chigz
Quoting Levi32:


They are, and it is verifying so far.

CFS:



ECMWF:


If you look closely to these models, it seems that there is lot of forecast precipitation in the Caribbean but not much in the Gulf - I wonder where does is all go from the Caribbean? To Mexico and East Pacific perhaps? So far this has been the case..! Does this also tells us that we will see lot more southerly track storms south of 15N?
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Nice tropical wave about to emerge off of the African coast.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21109
....reading thru this makes me think things are about to ugly....
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348. xcool
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Hi All,

How accurate has the CMC simulation run of a couple day ago been? I think it showed three systems 1; one the east coast (US), one in the GOM and one near Trinidad in the southern leewards. Should I put little faith in CMC runs?
Can someone an post a link on the pros and cons of the different simulation models used....... many thanks
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Deleted duplicate.
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Quoting Levi32:
Most of the reason 2010 shouldn't get as bad as 2005 lies in the SST profile of the ocean. This year, although we have a lot of warm water in the tropics like 2005, there is also a lot of warm water across the north Atlantic which results in less-focused heat in the tropical Atlantic, because net upward motion gets spread out instead of concentrated fully in the deep tropics.

Also, the Gulf of Guinea (south of western Africa) and the South Atlantic are not nearly as cold as they were in 2005, and this also acts to spread out the heat more and not focus it as much in the tropical north Atlantic. A cold south Atlantic focuses heat and convergence northward which creates a more active ITCZ and pushes it farther north over the Atlantic and west Africa. Having the south Atlantic and Gulf of Guinea not as cold this year as they were in 2005 doesn't give us as strong of a focusing of the heat in the tropical north Atlantic.

Overall, the pattern is very much like 2005, but not as "perfect" as 2005 had it, which is why we saw the mega-season. I still expect 2010 to be a historic and dangerous season though, and I have no changes from my forecast back in May.

Here are the maps to compare and what I'm talking about.

2010 SST Anomalies July 8th:



2005 SST Anomalies July 9th:




Levi, what happened to the tripole that was in the North Atlantic in April and May?
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

I find that forecast Excellent. If you find the average of the numbers it would be 18 TS, 10 Hurricanes, and 4.5 Majors.

lol Would Alex be considered as the .5 since he was 6mph away from reaching the major hurricane status?
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My [ forecast ] hasn't changed.

Somewhere around here I copied this, but it's like finding .... well, you know.

I use a method slightly different than most of you guys.

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Quoting StormW:


La Nina has an effect on wind shear (allowing for it to be lower), cools the EPAC, coupled with a cold PDO (allows the warm AMO to really focus heat energy and upward motion in the Atlantic), and a decent strength La Nina will aid in storm tracks being somewhat further south and west, depending on where something develops.


After having looked at the best tracks for the 1933 season (which featured many storms in the Bay of Campeche following tracks similar to Alex, and others that actually curved to the SW), I wonder if there was a La Nina that year.
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Quoting DDR:
Levi
Are the climate models still forecasting above average rains for the caribbean?
Can you post a map please?


They are, and it is verifying so far.

CFS:



ECMWF:

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339. xcool
SO CMC & GFS SOMWS CV STORMS NEXT WEEK.
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Quoting MississippiWx:


You have a good point, but what about the Pacific being so much colder than normal? Could that help off-set the difference in the Atlantic anomalies and still create just as much upward motion over the Atlantic? I'm thinking it might help aid in more upward motion in the Western Caribbean and GOM.


Might be true but the reality is that the heat wasn't any better-focused in the tropical Pacific in 2005 than it is now. The north Pacific was so warm in 2005 that the equatorial waters were not as warm relative to normal, and thus the Pacific seasons were not that active because upward motion was focused farther north.

We are seeing inactive Pacific tropical seasons this year as well. The west Pacific is waaay behind right now, and although the east Pacific got off to a good bursting start, it will collapse into a below-normal season when it's all said and done. It has already calmed down greatly since Celia and Darby.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Did You Know?

Did you know a Major Hurricane hasn't hit th e USA since 2005?!


I wouldn't be entirely surprised if Ike was upgraded to cat 3 retrospectively. After all, Andrew spent 10 years or so as a cat 4 before they determined he had really been cat 5.
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334. DDR
Levi
Are the climate models still forecasting above average rains for the caribbean?
Can you post a map please?
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Quoting StormW:


Agreed! Here's something else, an excerpt from the ENSO update:

The majority of models now predict La Niña conditions (SST anomalies less than or equal to -0.5oC in the Niño-3.4 region) to develop during June-August and to continue through early 2011 (Fig. 6). Confidence in this outcome is reinforced by the recent performance of the NCEP Climate Forecast System (CFS) (Fig. 7), the large reservoir of colder-than-average subsurface water (Fig. 3), and signs of coupling with the atmospheric circulation. Therefore, La Niña conditions are likely to develop during July-August 2010.


Indeed, and, if you look at the current SST anomaly image I posted above, you will see a very well-pronounced cold PDO signature in the Pacific (horseshoe-shaped ring of cold along the west coast of North America, and the cold water west of South America).
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Quoting Levi32:
Most of the reason 2010 shouldn't get as bad as 2005 lies in the SST profile of the ocean. This year, although we have a lot of warm water in the tropics like 2005, there is also a lot of warm water across the north Atlantic which results in less-focused heat in the tropical Atlantic, because net upward motion gets spread out instead of concentrated fully in the deep tropics.

Also, the Gulf of Guinea (south of western Africa) and the South Atlantic are not nearly as cold as they were in 2005, and this also acts to spread out the heat more and not focus it as much in the tropical north Atlantic. A cold south Atlantic focuses heat and convergence northward which creates a more active ITCZ and pushes it farther north over the Atlantic and west Africa. Having the south Atlantic and Gulf of Guinea not as cold this year as they were in 2005 doesn't give us as strong of a focusing of the heat in the tropical north Atlantic.

Overall, the pattern is very much like 2005, but not as "perfect" as 2005 had it, which is why we saw the mega-season. I still expect 2010 to be a historic and dangerous season though, and I have no changes from my forecast back in May.

Here are the maps to compare and what I'm talking about.

2010 SST Anomalies July 8th:



2005 SST Anomalies July 9th:




You have a good point, but what about the Pacific being so much colder than normal? Could that help off-set the difference in the Atlantic anomalies and still create just as much upward motion over the Atlantic? I'm thinking it might help aid in more upward motion in the Western Caribbean and GOM.
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Did You Know?

Did you know a Major Hurricane hasn't hit the USA since 2005?!
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 31882
330. Chigz
Quoting StormW:


Correct...and with that set up, storms are going to be less likely to weaken approaching the U.S. East Coast.

Also, one of majot differences is cold the east-pacific is compared to 2005 hence La-Nina! How would this affect the Atlantic season?
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329. DDR
Hello from Trinidad
Picked up 1.6 inches here today,expecting at least 4 by next monday.
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Quoting StormW:


Sticking with my numbers

Total Named Storms: 17-19
Hurricanes: 9-11
Intense Hurricanes: 4-5

I find that forecast Excellent. If you find the average of the numbers it would be 18 TS, 10 Hurricanes, and 4.5 Majors.
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326. xcool
IKE MADE GOOD Point 2010 JUST LIKE 2007 .
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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