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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916. Bamatracker
2:11 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
Heck no snowboy!!! never too early to blob watch!!! LOL
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915. RL3AO
9:11 PM CDT on May 28, 2007
We have ALVIN! Check NRL.
914. snowboy
2:09 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
hey folks, don't want to spoil your fun but May is pretty early to be obsessing about Caribbean blobs..
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913. Alec
10:09 PM EDT on May 28, 2007
kman.....even that guy isnt written in stone!LOL
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912. kmanislander
2:08 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
Posted By: Alec at 2:07 AM GMT on May 29, 2007.

But like I said "nothing is written in stone".....LOL

According to Stormtop it is LOL
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15842
911. Alec
10:06 PM EDT on May 28, 2007
But like I said "nothing is written in stone".....LOL
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910. melwerle
1:54 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
Hey StormW right back...good to see everyone.

Orginally from S.CA - (san diego - where if we had a rain shower it was like a gift from heaven) to here - in S. GA where when we moved here it rained for three weeks straight non-stop every day with no relief. I thought it was a sign from GOD that I shouldn't have moved to the south...

The rain stopped that year after that - slight showers moving in during the evening hours but nothing like it was - we have fires not too far away that are wicked. I don't know what the future brings but I would love to hear the tree frogs croak so loud again that you can't talk on the phone outside - that seems to have subsided over the last year. I don't care about the hurricanes or the tropical depressions - love watching them come across and hope for the rainfall - not the terrible stuff that comes with them...

i would just like to have some decent weather without the flooding and terrible winds. :)


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909. Bamatracker
2:04 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
hmmm...surprise i didnt hear about that on the blog earlier...seems like someone would have been all over that.
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908. kmanislander
2:00 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
Posted By: Alec at 1:59 AM GMT on May 29, 2007.

many models never were interested in the Caribbean blob to begin with....

True but many of them did call for something to form down there. It just did not pan out the way they predicted
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15842
907. Alec
10:02 PM EDT on May 28, 2007
bama...the models were so bored they decided to spin up spaghetti meatballs..LOL....One jokester had a hurricane off the NC coast!
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906. bappit
1:53 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
For the panhandle of Florida in the first week of June, climatology is probably about as good as what the global models show. So I'll go with upper 80's, low 90's slight chance of afternoon thundershowers.

...responding to previous question.
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905. Bamatracker
2:00 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
the models were just being stuck up!
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904. Alec
9:59 PM EDT on May 28, 2007
many models never were interested in the Caribbean blob to begin with....
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903. Bamatracker
1:58 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
wooohoo....time for blob watching!!
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901. kmanislander
1:54 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
Earlier this afternoon I suggested that the NHC would probably drop the low in the SW Caribbean due to the very poor sat presentation in that area. That has now happened so we are back to the waiting game to see what else materialises
This from the 8:05 discussion tonight

A sfc trough
remains between ern Cuba and Panama along 20n78w 11n79w. A weak
low may be readded along this trough at 0000 UTC with the low
level cyclonic circulation noted near 14n79w
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15842
900. tampahurricane
1:52 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
can somebody please put up the computer model thank you
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898. kmanislander
1:46 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
Posted By: stormwatcher247 at 1:46 AM GMT on May 29, 2007.

Geez, How's a guy to get questions answered around here?????

First there has to be someone lurking or posting that knows the answer and then it kind of depends on the thread of the blog. Some nights are more interactive than others
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 15842
896. weathers4me
1:35 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
Just got in from Longboat key FL and the Gulf is still cool for this time of the year. It was almost uncomfortable to get in. Last year at this time It was much warmer about 3-4 degrees at least. It looks like things are about to change though as we get into the summer time pattern.
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895. stormwatcher247
1:44 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
Geez, How's a guy to get questions answered around here?????
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894. Tazmanian
1:45 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
TROPICAL WEATHER DISCUSSION
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
805 PM EDT MON MAY 28 2007

...TROPICAL WAVES...

A LOW AMPLITUDE TROPICAL WAVE IS OVER THE EAST ATLANTIC ALONG
22W/23W FROM 2N TO 8N...MOVING WEST NEAR 15 KT. THE WAVE REMAINS
WEAK AND DIFFICULT TO LOCATE. BUOY 31006 NEAR 4N23W REPORTED SE
WINDS 10 KT AT 2100 UTC...BUT IT IS DIFFICULT TO TELL IF THIS IS
BECAUSE THE WAVE PASSED...OR JUST A BYPRODUCT OF THE NORMAL
BACKGROUND FLOW SOUTH OF THE ITCZ. SCATTERED CLUSTERS OF
MODERATE CONVECTION ARE W OF THE WAVE FROM 1N-7N BETWEEN
24W-30W. HAVE AGAIN PLACED THE WAVE ON THE UPSHEAR SIDE OF THIS
CONVECTION...WITH MODEST UPPER E TO SE FLOW OVER THE AREA SW OF
AN ANTICYCLONE OVER MALI.

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892. BahaHurican
9:34 PM EDT on May 28, 2007
Hmmm. .. just looked at the article about the May - hurricane season correlation. Seems 2005 bore out that guy's suppositions; three strikes in the south FL area, though none were as bad as they could have been.

Anybody found stats on last may's rainfall in FL?
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891. RL3AO
8:38 PM CDT on May 28, 2007
I see them SW247. Its just quiet around here.
890. stormwatcher247
1:36 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
Can someone verify that my questions are being posted?
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889. BahaHurican
9:08 PM EDT on May 28, 2007
What catches my eye about the rainfall pattern map above is that there is a portion of northern wisconsin which is under threat of both drought AND flooding . . .

And wow - no relief in sight for the SW . . .
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888. stormwatcher247
1:31 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
Anyone know what the weather in the panhandle of Florida will be like from June 2 - June 9?
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886. stormwatcher247
1:26 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
Why do I have an administration comment on my question?
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885. tampahurricane
1:22 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
nhc discussion


THE CARIBBEAN SEA...
SCATTERED SHOWERS AND TSTMS ARE AFFECTING THE YUCATAN CHANNEL
MAINLY ASSOCIATED WITH UPPER DIFFLUENCE BETWEEN A TROUGH IN THE
WRN GULF AND RIDGING OVER THE WRN CARIBBEAN. A SFC TROUGH
REMAINS BETWEEN ERN CUBA AND PANAMA ALONG 20N78W 11N79W. A WEAK
LOW MAY BE READDED ALONG THIS TROUGH AT 0000 UTC WITH THE LOW
LEVEL CYCLONIC CIRCULATION NOTED NEAR 14N79W. SCATTERED
SHOWERS/ISOLATED TSTMS ARE OVER THE CENTRAL CARIBBEAN BETWEEN
74W-78W...THOUGH THE CONVECTION HAS DIMINISHED A BIT OVER THE
LAST FEW HOURS. MODERATE CONVECTION IS AFFECTING ERN
HISPANIOLA...NW PUERTO RICO...AND ADJACENT WATERS S OF THE
VIGOROUS DEEP LAYER LOW AND ASSOCIATED TROUGHING IN THE WRN
ATLC. TYPICAL ELY TRADE WINDS WILL PERSIST ACROSS MUCH OF THE
AREA THROUGH THE MIDWEEK EXCEPT THE SW PART WHERE WEAK LOW
PRES WILL MAINTAIN LIGHT AND VARIABLE WINDS
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884. TheCaneWhisperer
1:20 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
Hey melwerle! I definatly agree with you but, during the slow times, some like to reflect on past storms! I don't think any were referring to the current conditions!
883. stormwatcher247
1:21 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
Anything interesting out there?
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882. Alec
9:21 PM EDT on May 28, 2007
Are there any big rivers in the East Tx area? because I can remember when FL had flooding problems, the rivers would crest after the event...
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880. Randyman
1:15 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
MichaelSTL...I am wondering why they still have Heavy Rain and Flooding outlined for central and eastern TX during that particular time period...All of the local area medium range forecasts are leaning toward a drier, warmer weather pattern for the end of the week and this forthcoming weekend. Am I missing something?
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879. Tazmanian
1:05 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
STL give it to me
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878. weatherblog
1:02 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
LOL...dont get me started on RAIN. *faints*

lol....I have made a new blog on this "system" in the carribean. Come check it out, a lot of info on it. Thanks.


-Justin~
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876. Tazmanian
12:59 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
give me rain dam it it been dry her in ca fo so dam long i want rain give it too be for are lakes go dry they are droping fast it been a vary dry winter her in ca we need rain bad more then FL dos give it to me FL cant have any RAIN RAIN RAIN RAIN RAIN RAIN RAIN give me rain rain rain rain
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875. Tazmanian
12:57 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
GIVE ME RAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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874. Tazmanian
12:56 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
you need RAIN take a # so do i we need RAIN more then FL dos
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872. melwerle
12:52 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
i don't mean to be a jacka** but the wilma stuff - that was OCTOBER, not may...difference in temps and circumstances? this small thing in the carrib...it's early and it doesn't seem to be doing anything. Look - I am as jazzed for the season as anyone - i need RAIN but darn..to be comparing something as big as wilma in October to the blob in the carribean in May seems a bit out of synch...
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871. Tazmanian
12:53 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
its been dry out her too where like FL right now send some rain


i may have some dry t-storms later this week
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870. PBG00
12:50 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
No big deal Taz..I thought he meant for this year as well.
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869. Tazmanian
12:49 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
next time he needs to ues the word past years so that way we no what he is talking about how did i no
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867. Tazmanian
12:44 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
why do you want to look up rain fall records for may for FL? FL was dry all of may and so has ca
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866. CaneKid
12:41 AM GMT on May 29, 2007
Does anyone have a link for Florida rainfall records? (ie: How much rain fell during May in Jax, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Key West etc)
Thanks!!
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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.