Texas floods kill 5

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

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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

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266. hurricane23
8:22 PM EDT on May 26, 2007
I dont know JP deep reds are slowly dying down the past few hours.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13848
265. hurricane23
8:20 PM EDT on May 26, 2007
Try again miami is 15 years due.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13848
263. HurricaneRoman
12:14 AM GMT on May 27, 2007
WPB yea i heard aboutt hat and its true.... the dry mays give us a higher chance of a hit... Also if anyone read the paper today ... it said that FT. lauderdale is 47 years overdue for a major hurricane!!!! =0 .. and miami is like 5 years overdue..... thats scary..... Oh and if this seaosn is normal we will get a major Hurricane along the U.S. somehwere and 2 hurricane landfalls .... on average the U.S. gets a major hurricane landfall every other year and 2 hurricane landfalls every year.... last year we had none..... so i think this season is going to be pretty active and mayb south florida will get a major?? =/ scary thought
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258. 0741
11:57 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
it early to know it might be gone over night you never know
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257. sullivanweather
11:53 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
Dr.Masters, If you could please explain how this transition from dry weather to wet weather in Texas is different from the hundreds that have come before it in this current inter-glacial period, fine.

But since you can't you shouldn't be making the statements that global warming has a hand in this pattern. It doesn't.

Droughts and floods are already part of the climate in these areas and for every rainfall report or flood or dry spell that you could show me over the last 2 years from Texas could easily be mirrored by any past event.

Nothing unprecedented has happened here, and the records only go back a little over 100 years.
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256. hurricane23
7:57 PM EDT on May 26, 2007
8:05pm discussion...

PAIR OF SFC TROUGHS DOMINATE THE WRN CARIB. THE FIRST IS
BETWEEN WRN CUBA AND HONDURAS ALONG 22N84W 14N86W THAT HAS A
1011 MB LOW ATTACHED NEAR 18.5N86.5W. ASSOCIATED SCATTERED
SHOWERS POSSIBLE IN THE NW CARIB N OF 16N W OF 82W. UW-CIMSS
SHEAR ANALYSIS DEPICTS 20-40KT OF WLY SHEAR OVER THIS
AREA...WHICH IS PREVENTING THE CONVECTION FROM GETTING VERY
DEEP. SHEAR DOES NOT APPEAR NEARLY AS SIGNIFICANT WITH THE
TROUGHING IN THE SW PORTION. THIS SECOND TROUGH IS BETWEEN
JAMAICA AND BOCAS DEL TORO PANAMA ALONG 18N78W 9N82W. A 1009MB
SFC LOW IS ATTACHED NEAR 12N81W. ASSOCIATED SCATTERED
MODERATE/ISOLATED STRONG CONVECTION IS FROM 11N-14N BETWEEN
78W-81W. THE LOW IN THE NW PORTION IS EXPECTED TO DRIFT TOWARDS
THE YUCATAN WHILE THE LOW IN THE SW PORTION TO MOVE SLOWLY NE.
BROAD AREA OF DEEP MOISTURE WITH EXPECTED SCATTERED
SHOWERS/ISOLATED TSTMS IS OVER THE CENTRAL CARIB BETWEEN
70W-81W. THIS IS BEING SUPPORTED BY UPPER DIFFLUENCE BETWEEN
UPPER TROUGHING EXTENDING SW FROM THE WRN ATLC AND AN UPPER
RIDGE OVER THE ERN CARIB. SCATTERED SHOWERS/TSTMS TO CONTINUE
ESPECIALLY OVER THE CENTRAL CARIB WATERS THROUGH THE END OF THE
WEEKEND. MORE TYPICAL MODERATE TRADE WIND REGIME TO DOMINATE THE
ERN CARIB OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS ON THE SW PORTION OF THE
AZORES HIGH.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13848
253. stormpetrol
11:44 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
H23,Thats what I think also its just drifting around, maybe a slight jog to the east, I think, just my humble opinion cuz bottomline no one really know for certain that this gives it more a chance to develop and move WNW and then move ENE across FL.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8252
252. hurricane23
7:31 PM EDT on May 26, 2007
I dont expect an eastward movement its currently just drifting around but a NW movement is expected a responce to trof in the next couple of days.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13848
251. plywoodstatenative
11:31 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
any chance its moving in stride with the front?
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250. stormpetrol
11:23 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
As usual as evening/night falls overall convection subsides and revives in the morning hours, we'll see how long it can hold on, it appears to have moved slightly eastward also.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8252
249. plywoodstatenative
11:24 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
WPB trust me I want it to sit on top of us for a week or so. Getting so bad here in N. lauderdale that I am actually looking into a desert landscape
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248. plywoodstatenative
11:19 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
better yet, its time to get prepared and hunker down. Cause its going to be a busy season down here, remember preparation is the key.
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247. WPBHurricane05
7:21 PM EDT on May 26, 2007
Trent Eric (Local 10 Meteorologist in Miami) says that there is a chance that our area of disturbed weather will head up here and give us some rain. I sure do hope so ;).
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246. TheCaneWhisperer
7:07 PM EDT on May 26, 2007
I hear ya K-Man! Very Dry in the Islands this year! Were on the ledge of the cliff here in Florida, we're VERY dependant on tropical moisture this season!
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245. kmanislander
11:08 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
Anyway I have to go move the grill under some cover and start cooking. If not I am going to be in trouble big time, if you know what I mean LOL

C U all later
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15982
244. kmanislander
11:05 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
WPB05

Trust me we have had several months of not a drop of rain. I don't think we could have survived much longer !
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15982
243. WPBHurricane05
7:03 PM EDT on May 26, 2007
Well while you guys in the Caribbean are talking about how wet it is and how it reminds you of 2004 here in South Florida it also seems like 2004 because it is so dry. Old tale is when it is dry in May S. Florida has a better chance of getting hit.
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241. kmanislander
11:00 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
Hi stormpetrol

I know what you mean. The rain just seems to keep coming for the last week, like something brewing out there.It has stopped for now but looks like it will be back soon
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15982
240. KYhomeboy
11:00 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
Your right...it isn't typical 'rainy season' weather at all. Strange. I think this disturbance might be a player for us in a few days.
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239. stormpetrol
10:54 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
YEP Kman, the weather here is very unsettled looking I've been watching it for the last 2 days and its not the typical(May) rainy season weather, its something different, I got a "gut" feelin on that weather north of Panama since yesterday, I think I might have mentioned it.
Member Since: April 29, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 8252
238. plywoodstatenative
10:53 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
Someone get ahold of Crab, he might have some insight on this system. Being where he is located and where it is. Btw I am referring to hurricanecrab and not sandcrab.
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237. kmanislander
10:53 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
Its pouring here. You wouldn't believe it from the sat image though. Been raining off and on all day but really coming down now
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15982
236. WPBHurricane05
6:50 PM EDT on May 26, 2007
Interesting observations from Kingston:
Noon/May 26--82--29.91(1013)--SE 26--squalls
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235. hurricane23
6:49 PM EDT on May 26, 2007
You can see the entire situation here on this visible loop from MSFC.

Click here
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13848
234. plywoodstatenative
10:50 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
STL, my apologies then. I was not aware of the two other times. I thank you for reaffirming that. The question I have for you, in those two years what was the season itself like. Is there anything we can take from those 2 years and apply to our current season?
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232. Antivanity
10:48 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
i believe you can see a radar of Jamaica here: Link

Its a little slow to load for me, so if some one get its, post an image of it..
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231. kmanislander
10:46 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
This area just east of Belize looks like the Southern Caribbean did this morning !.

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15982
230. TheCaneWhisperer
6:46 PM EDT on May 26, 2007
It is indeed embedded in the ITCZ!
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229. Antivanity
10:42 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
some stats on the affects of La Nina and El Nino on the tropics that i found interesting.

MOST STORMS

28 2005 Neutral
19 1995 Weak La Nina
18 1969 Weak El Nino


MOST HURRICANES

15 2005 Neutral
12 1969 Weak El Nino
11 1995 Weak La Nina


MOST MAJOR (CATEGORY 3+) HURRICANES

7 2005 Neutral
6 2004 Weak-moderate El Nino
6 1996 Neutral


MOST U.S. HURRICANE LANDFALLS / DIRECT HITS

6 2005 Neutral
6 2004 Weak-moderate El Nino
6 1985 Neutral
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228. WPBHurricane05
6:42 PM EDT on May 26, 2007
NA

Anyone here from Jamaica. It looks like there was a strong storm moving over and I was wondering what the weather conditions were like.
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226. kmanislander
10:39 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
Well that seems to have cleared that up !!

Now then, back to the "blob" LOL
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15982
225. Antivanity
10:36 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
im with you hellsniper...
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224. IKE
5:37 PM CDT on May 26, 2007
You know what always pisses me off? People who bitch about people discussing tropical weather in a tropical weather blog.

Agree...if you don't like it...don't read it and don't post. Problem solved.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
223. KYhomeboy
10:36 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
Agreed!!!!!
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222. Hellsniper223
10:34 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
Posted By: GainesvilleGator at 5:09 PM CDT on May 26, 2007.
I can't believe all this chatter about a cluster of unorganized thunderstorms in the Carribean. The NHC will pretty much telegraph whether or not a tropical depression is possible at least 24 hours in advance. They usually say something like: "There is the potential that a TD may develop in a day or two". They will give us the heads up so no point in overanlyzing blobs in the Carribean.



You know what always pisses me off? People who bitch about people discussing tropical weather in a tropical weather blog.
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221. IKE
5:34 PM CDT on May 26, 2007
Gator, we have never had two systems form before the official start of hurricane season. The fact that we have already had a subtropical system form and now we have the chance for a tropical system to form before the start of the season. Thats why people are intrigued about this cluster, that and the fact that the area its in could be condusive to development.

Whatever the outcome, all those of us in the south can hope for is for some much needed rain relief.


Exactly.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37860
220. plywoodstatenative
10:26 PM GMT on May 26, 2007
Gator, we have never had two systems form before the official start of hurricane season. The fact that we have already had a subtropical system form and now we have the chance for a tropical system to form before the start of the season. Thats why people are intrigued about this cluster, that and the fact that the area its in could be condusive to development.

Whatever the outcome, all those of us in the south can hope for is for some much needed rain relief.
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219. TheCaneWhisperer
6:30 PM EDT on May 26, 2007
Seems the ITCZ may be enhancing the convection during the Diurnal Minimum! Could get interesting this evening for sure!

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217. hurricane23
6:26 PM EDT on May 26, 2007
No confirmation on an invest from NRL as of yet though.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13848
216. ryang
6:21 PM AST on May 26, 2007
The SSD has it up as an invest
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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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