Texas floods kill 5

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:59 PM GMT on May 26, 2007

Flash flooding triggered by heavy thunderstorm rains of up to seven inches in 24 hours claimed at least five lives in Texas Friday, and large portions of the state remain under flood warnings or flood watches today, as thunderstorms continue across the state. All of those killed were swept away in their vehicles, and police were still looking for a missing man who drove around a barricade blocking a swollen creek.

Figure 1. Precipitation for the 24 hours ending at 8am EDT Saturday May 26, 2007.

Drought last year, floods this year
As I discussed in a March blog last year, grass fires in drought-parched Texas killed seven people on March 12 in the Panhandle, four of them in a car crash on I-40 caused by thick smoke obscuring visibility. More than 1,000 square miles of Texas burned that day--an area about two-thirds the size of Rhode Island. It's amazing what a turnaround has occurred in the past year. Most of Texas and Oklahoma were under drought conditions that reached the extreme level last spring (Figure 2), but this year, the Texas/Oklahoma drought is gone (Figure 3), and instead has moved into the Southeastern U.S. We don't understand very well what causes these shifts in drought patterns, but they do seem to be linked to changes in large-scale sea surface temperature patterns in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific, plus shifts in the jet stream pattern. Are the floods in Texas this year and drought last year partially due to global warming? Yes, they might be. Global warming theory predicts that both droughts and floods will grow more severe as the climate warms. Floods will increase, since a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor that can then rain out into heavier floods. Scientists have already documented about a 5% increase in global atmospheric water vapor due to global warming, and this extra moisture is undoubtedly causing heavier rains and more flooding in some regions. Drought will increase in intensity due to global warming, thanks to the hotter temperatures drought-striken areas will receive when jet stream and sea surface temperature patterns conspire to keep rainfall from the drought area.

Figure 2. Drought map for March 7, 2006.

Figure 3. Drought map for May 22, 2007.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

Sign In or Register Sign In or Register

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 1016 - 966

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21Blog Index

1016. StormJunkie
9:16 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
Afternoon all.

I was just looking at that sf. Interesting. Not sure if there is enough left to pull it together. Not to mention, I would think the further N it goes the closer it gets to the shear that will tear it apart...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1014. stoormfury
2:38 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
an area of heavy convection is fast approaching the low pressure in the sw caribbean. this will give the disturbance some energy to get its act together every thing seems to be in place for slow devepment. low shear high sst. the area still needs watching.
Member Since: August 22, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2880
1013. crackerlogic
2:23 PM GMT on May 29, 2007

was that pic taken at Jennings?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1011. lightning10
7:07 AM PDT on May 29, 2007
Rain in June in So Cal?!?! GFS is has been dancing with the idea. This would be much needed rain as most areas are running 11-15 inches below average and unlike most of the countery summer storms are rare and very isolated.

Long term...(thursday night through monday)...the 06z runs of the
WRF and the GFS are not in great agreement with the position of the
approaching upper low...or with their moisture fields. The GFS is faster
with the center...showing it just S of pt Conception Friday morning...
while the WRF has it centered about 300 nm west-southwest of pt Conception. The
GFS also shows more in the way of moisture with this system than it has
on previous runs...with a fair amount of moisture...albeit mostly middle and
high level moisture across the area Friday into Sat. The WRF...slower with the
system keeps things totally dry through Friday afternoon. The GFS shows
the upper low drifting very slowly southeastward and weakening Friday through Sat...
with an upper high strengthening over northern California. For now...will
maintain the current forecast which keeps a fairly decent marine
influence across the area Thursday night through Sat...with plenty of
night/morning low clouds and fog in coastal and most valleys areas...and
little change in temperatures...generally a bit below normal west of the mountains
and above normal in the mountains and dsrts. After Sat...a strengthening
upper high over northern California is forecast to build southward...causing heights to rise
across the area. This should cause the marine layer to shrink in
depth...with less extensive low cloudiness and less inland
penetration. Expect some warming for sun and Monday...especially in the
valleys...mountains and dsrts.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1010. homegirl
1:53 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
91E is looking quite health this morning. Think we'll see a td soon?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1009. snotly
1:39 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
Does the current pattern match that of '93 when the midwest had floods. It looks similar.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1007. weatherblog
1:34 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
Yes, these blobs may be interesting...

Ok...come check out my blog on this caribbean development. I have some information along with a little summary on what's going on now with this "system" (lol) in the caribbean. Thanks.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1005. Littleninjagrl
1:28 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
Posted By: StormW at 1:24 PM GMT on May 29, 2007.

Please visit my blog.

Thanks much!

P.S. where are you located?

I just read yor blog and left a comment. I'm in Tampa, Fl.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1003. cajunkid
8:21 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
Looks like the CMC is forcasting an end to the fires in GA Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1002. Littleninjagrl
1:20 PM GMT on May 29, 2007

Anyone think this could turn into something and move E towrds fl?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1000. Patrap
8:17 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
GOM 60 Hour Wind,wave..ssts..etc,Forecast model Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
999. cajunkid
8:08 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
The link I have for FSU hasn't been updated since last year???? but here you goLink
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
998. emagirl
1:10 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
i agree MAhFL it seems like the closer a hurricane gets people just lose common sense
i just dont understand it
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
997. MahFL
8:57 AM EDT on May 29, 2007
Even if people are given a weeks notice of a cat 3 hurricane they will always be stupid, or unlucky people caught out, and they will die.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
995. Patrap
8:00 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
Just google it..google anything.Youll get the info.EZ
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
993. emagirl
12:55 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
hurricane season is almost here time to get prepared and not be caught off guard
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
992. G35Wayne
12:48 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
hurricane hurricane season is here. time for winds and time for beer!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
991. nash28
12:48 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
Tropics are mainly quiet. Keeping an eye on 91E as well as the Carribean for "possible" slow development over the next few days.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
990. emagirl
12:46 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
so anything going on in the tropics??
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
989. Patrap
7:42 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
nola.com from New Orleans.."Hurricane Page"

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
988. Patrap
7:38 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
The GFSx has a good outlook for ya..Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
987. Patrap
7:38 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
Looks like a plan nash..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
986. IKE
7:36 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
Here's their official total for May in Crestview>>>>>> "0.09 in"
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37938
985. nash28
12:34 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
Good morning Pat! Looks like we might break some of this dryness in W. Central FL this week.
Member Since: July 11, 2005 Posts: 190 Comments: 16972
984. IKE
7:34 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
It's awful over here.

Crestview, Fl...just to my west...less than one-tenth of an inch of rain....FOR THE MONTH!
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37938
983. Patrap
7:31 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
Yall' drier than a fresh box of Matches over there....hope ya get it soon.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
982. IKE
7:30 AM CDT on May 29, 2007

I'll be up and waiting on it!
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37938
981. Patrap
7:29 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
Im gonna send ya some special delivery Ike..Say around 4:30 am Friday.Be ready.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
980. IKE
7:27 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
Wish that rain would move east about 300 miles from you.

Yeah...you're in for some rain.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37938
979. Patrap
7:25 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
A good soaker here today..Rains aplenty..Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
978. Patrap
7:21 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
I'll get a chair..LOL..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
977. Patrap
7:20 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
GOES Water Vapor Loop of Gulf and Caribbean Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
976. IKE
7:19 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
And Miami, Fl extended...

"Medium range guidance from the GFS/CMC/ECMWF is in general agreement
that a split flow blocking pattern will remain in place across central
North America through the end of the week...with an upper low
remaining nearly stationary across the northern plains through the
first part of the weekend. Meanwhile...a much weaker upper trough
is forecast to slowly shift eastward across the northeastern Gulf
Coast through the end of the week. Increasing large scale ascent
provided by this feature...coupled with a surface wave and
associated baroclinic zone approaching the Florida Peninsula from
the southwest...will result in a significant increase in rain
chances this weekend. Although temporal and spatial
discontinuities still exist in various model guidance regarding
the placement of the surface low...it does appears that this
feature will be approaching the peninsula sometime on Friday night
or Saturday morning. Will increase probability of precipitation into the high chance
category and include a mention of thunderstorms for the entire
area from Friday night into Sunday as this feature moves across
the area. Deep tropical moisture will be drawn northward with this
system...and...depending on the track of the surface low...a potential
for locally heavy rainfall may exist somewhere in the forecast
area...but it is too early to pinpoint specifics at this time.
Conditions should begin to improve by Monday as the system moves
eastward into the Atlantic...and will only include slight to low chance
probability of precipitation for residual sea breeze convection at this time."............

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37938
975. Patrap
7:17 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
GOES IR Loop of Gulf of Mexico Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
974. IKE
7:17 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
This from Key West extended discussion...

"Extended period(friday through monday)...
all medium range models are now in agreement with mantaining a split
flow pattern over the contiguous United States...with a fairly deep
southern stream trough slowly moving eastward into the central Gulf
of Mexico Friday. This trough will migrate across the eastern Gulf
and Florida Peninsula Saturday and Sunday...before exiting into the
western Atlantic early next week. In response to an active
subtropical jet stream and the short wave trough...broad surface
cyclogenesis is revealed near the Yucatan peninsulan while a western
Atlantic ridge remains anchored along the southeast United States
coast. Subsequently...fresh to occasionally strong east to southeast
winds will persist Friday and Friday night...and perhaps into this
weekend. Given ample moisture in place...a cyclonic flow aloft
combined with a low level trough nearby should result in above
normal probability of precipitation through the weekend."
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37938
973. IKE
7:12 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
This from the Tampa,Fl. extended....

" Last few runs of GFS have been trying to
develop an area of low pressure in the Yucatan Channel and then
move it northeast toward Florida over the weekend. Meanwhile other
models such as the dgex and European model (ecmwf) do have a weakness moving toward
the region...but nothing as fully developed as the GFS. GFS has
been trying to spin-up areas of low pressure similar to this one
for the past couple of weeks of which none have developed...but
the idea that some sort of very weak low will develop ahead of the
middle/upper level trough seems more reasonable. Either way it does
look like the flow will become more southerly over the weekend
which will help spread deeper moisture northward and this combined
with daytime heating and the sea breezes should finally bringing a
decent chance of some rain to the region."
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37938
972. kmanislander
12:11 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
Well time to get organised for the day. Will bbl

have a great day everyone
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 16312
971. kmanislander
12:10 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
Indeed it does and good morning to you too.We have already had a shower this morning and the clouds are stacking up outside. Typical weather from now until late November
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 16312
969. IKE
7:09 AM CDT on May 29, 2007
Looks like rain for you Kman...and good morning.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37938
968. kmanislander
12:05 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
Hi Ike

Perhaps so. Last night the NHC dropped the low as we discussed yesterday afternoon but today it is back. Shear values are favourable in that area now and the trough to the NE is lifting out quickly. The low would still need to seperate out from the trough it is currently embedded in though
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 16312
967. weathers4me
12:04 PM GMT on May 29, 2007
thanks IKE
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 1016 - 966

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21Blog Index

Top of Page

Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog


Dr. Masters (r) co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Afternoon clouds over Southwest Puerto Rico
Storm clouds gathering over Half Dome
Sierra snow
snowman at Yosemite Falls