Thursday, May 27, 2010

NOAA Indicates a Very Active 2010 Season

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) released their outlook on the upcoming 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

As to no suprise, they have forecasted a very active year, just like all the other different forecast sectors that predict the number of storms for a given year.

Here are the forecasts from NOAA and Dr. Gray and his research team at Colorado St. University.

Notice that in a normal year, we typically see 11 named storms, 6 huricanes, and 2 of which are major (Category 3 or higher).
Both NOAA and Dr. Gray have forecasted an above normal season as a result of a weakening El Nino and warmer than normal sea surface temperatures.
The weakening El Nino is the biggest factor of all because it allows the upper level winds to relax. Last year in 2009, El Nino was fairly strong, which limited tropical development. With a reversing trend, this means more storms, some of which could be stronger as well.
The bottom line: What does it mean for us?
Answer: Not a whole lot other than it gives us something to talk about and speculate on.
We have had years where a below normal season was forecast, but yet ended up dealing with a significant tropical storm or hurricane. We have also had other years, similar to this one, in which an active year was forecast, yet none of them had an effect on the Texas coast.
The whole point is that regardless of the outlook, we must be prepared for anything that might come our way. After all, it only takes "1" storm to leave its mark and impact on a community.
Of course, to stay up-to-date all summer long on the tropics, visit our Hurricane Center often. We have all the tools to help you stay ahead of the storm.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pockets of Heavy Rain Provide Relief

For the first time in a couple of weeks, the radar was lit up over East Texas on Wednesday afternoon. This is the image that was taken at 4pm. As you can see there were scattered thunderstorms covering a good majority of East Texas.

The rain was welcome in more ways than one. First and foremost, it gave many lawns and gardens a much needed drink of water.

The other thing it did was cool us down into the 70's after we had been in the lower to middle 90's.

Even if you did not receive much rain, you probabl felt the cooler temperatures as a result of the rain that feel nearby.

Here are some rainfall totals from our Weather Watchers.

Willie Lankford Etoile 2.0"
Daryl Thomas Cushing 1.0"
Tim Martin Broaddus 0.78"
Larry Graybill Trawick 0.60"
Sherrie Randall Carrizo Creek 0.30"
Staci Byrd Milam 0.25"

Friday, May 21, 2010

Expanding Drought with no Rain in Sight

The moderate drought, which had stretched across Polk, Tyler, Jasper, and Newton counties last week, has now expanded into some of our northern counties.

As of yesterday, portions of Shelby, Nacogdoches, Rusk, and all of Panola county were included in the moderate drought.

That drought is outlined by the light shading of brown on the GFX to your left. You can see that it is closing in quickly on East Texas. While many of us are not in a drought, we are labeled as abnormally dry, as indicated by the shading of yellow.

I'm getting concerned that with another week or two of very little rainfall, that moderate drought will encompass most, if not all of East Texas.

The problem is that the weather pattern will be shifting towards a hot and dry one for the Texas Forest Country.

We will see a ridge of hot high pressure build into the Southern Plain states this weekend. That high pressure ridge will keep the storm systems well to our north and west, leaving us hot and dry.

Right now, most computer models keep this pattern in place through the middle of next week, meaning there is no rain in sight.

With the dry conditions and an unfavorable weather pattern, temperatures will be heating up into the middle 90's. That will be about 10 degrees above normal for us in late May.

In the meantime, keep those sprinklers and air conditioners running. You will be needing both to satisfy your yards and yourselves in the week ahead.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Severe Storms, Heavy Rain Invade East Texas

A weak frontal boundary moved into a warm and humid airmass on Monday, sparking some severe thunderstorms.

Some of the storms produced large hail and damaging winds.

Golf ball size hail fell in Coldspring and in Point Blank, just west of Lake Livingston earlier this afternoon.

There were also reports of penny to nickel size hail in Angelina county, approximately 10 miles south of Huntington.

We also had reports of high winds which knocked down trees in Woodville at around 2:15pm.

Severe weather, however, was only part of the story on Monday. On a more postive note, heavy downpours fell from the sky, helping the dry conditions across the Texas Forest Country.

As of 9:30pm Monday evening, Storm Tracker Live Doppler Network indicated over 4" in Houston county between Crockett and Grapeland. We also saw over 3" in Trinity county, between Groveton and Apple Springs.

If you did not get as much rain as you would have liked, we have another chance for scattered storms on Tuesday as the frontal boundary lingers over the area.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Wet Weekend...What the Dr. Ordered

A slow moving cold front will combine with upper level disturbances and plenty of moisture to generate pockets of heavy rain this weekend.

Our futurecast computer model suggests that Saturday morning could be quite wet in the Texas Forest Country. Due to the front slowing down and stalling out on top of us, we will have the chance to see several rounds of rain.

The chances for getting wet will not just last for one day. We will still have rain in the forecast for Sunday and lingering into early next week.

Due to the slow movement of the storms this weekend, some areas will receive very heavy rain in just a short period of time.

Most areas in Deep East Texas should receive between 1-2" by the time Sunday night rolls around. And while the heaviest rainfall amounts will stay off to our north and west, I cannot rule out some isolated areas getting 3-4" where the heavier cells develop.

The timing of the rain may be a nuisance, considering it will be falling on the weekend. However, it will not be a complete washout. Also, keep in mind that with May being near 70% behind in rainfall, we could certainly use a soaking downpour this weekend. I'm sure your plants and lawns would like a nice drink of water, courtesy of Mother Nature.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lack of Rainfall Starting to Take its Toll

The combination of unseasonably warm weather and very little rainfall is leading to very dry soil conditions across East Texas.

As of last week, most of East Texas was labeled as "Abnormally Dry." This is indicated by the yellow shaded region from the figure to your left. The only areas that are not categorized as abnormally dry are Anderson, Cherokee, and parts of Houston county.

Notice, however, that brown shaded area that extends from southern Jasper and Newton counties, eastward to Louisiana. This is a "Moderate Drought" that continues to slowly expand westward each day that goes by that we don't see any measurable rainfall.
Even though we are not officially in a drought, we are headed in that direction and just one category away from being bumped up to that drought status.
Every weeknight at 6 and 10pm, I give you an update on the lake levels from across the Texas Forsest Country. Notice how the major lakes are now below normal. This has been a trend over the past month and will continue barring any soaking rain showers.
In the meantime, keep those sprinkler systems running and try to water your yards in the early morning hours (4-6am). By doing it in the pre-dawn hours, you will maximize the amount of moisture that the soils will soak up. That is when the humidity is at its highest, and therefore, the water will be able to soak into those dry soils with a slow evaporation rate.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lack of Rainfall = Increasing Deficit

If you have not done so already, you may want to turn on your sprinkler system. That's because East Texas continues to remain very dry as a result of the lack of rainfall we have seen over the past couple of months.

While we are not in a drought, we are considered "abnormally dry."

If you recall last year at this time, we had numerous counties under burn bans. That was quickly erased as summer showers and a very wet fall helped erase the deficit and put us back in positive territory.

In fact, we ended 2009 with 55.06" of rain. We typically see around 46.62". If you do the math, that means we had a surplus of + 8.44" to close out the year.

That surplus has given us some pad in regards to how dry things have to get before desperate measures are taken.

As of May 4th, we have seen just 9.06" of rain. We typically see 14.86" through this day in the calendar year. That means our deficit is - 5.80" and quickly closing in on 6.00".

Each day that we don't receive any measurable rainfall means another 0.15"or so that we add to the deficit. While the issuance of burn bans may not be urgent at this point, we are certainly headed in that direction if we do not see some significant rainfall soon.