Wednesday, July 27, 2011

High Pressure Ridge Main Factor For Where Don Will Go

Tropical Storm Don will continue his west-northwestward jog through the Gulf of Mexico over the next 36 to 48 hours. While there is a high certainty he will make landfall along the Texas coast, the answers aren't as clear as to where along the coast that will be.
The steering currents, or the wind direction, is the overriding factor as to where tropical systems will end up going. Just like wind aiding along a sailboat, the winds in the mid levels of the atmosphere will ultimately decide where Don will go in the days ahead.

The main steering current will be our large dome of hot, high pressure. It is expected to strengthen and move towards the Southeast United States. With that clockwise flow around the ridge, Don will continue his northwestward trek through the Gulf.

The tricky part comes in how strong will the ridge become and where exactly will it be positioned. If it is slightly weaker or farther away than models indicate, then Don could take a northward jog, meaning the upper Texas coast is in line to see a direct landfall Friday evening. However, if the high pressure ridge is as strong as the models make it out to be, then Don will probably end up making landfall somewhere around Corpus Christi or far South Texas.

Our rain chances on Friday will be soley dependent upon Don's position. Because he is not a broad system, the rain bands will be confined to areas in and near the low pressure center. So while we typically don't welcome tropical storms to the state, this time around is different. After all, we've been saying all along that a tropical system is what we need to help alleviate the ongoing extreme drought.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tropical Wave Set To Move Into The Gulf

An area of disturbed weather, which has been affecting portions of Cuba the past few days, has now emerged in the western Caribbean Sea, and is now setting its sights on the Gulf of Mexico.

This tropical wave has shown signs of getting better organized, and now has a 30% chance of developing into a tropical depression or tropical storm, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Anytime there is a tropical wave that enters the Gulf of Mexico, we must watch it very closely, even if models don't think it will strengthen in the short term.

At this time, hurricane hunters are expected to fly into this system tomorrow to see if it has a closed circulation of low pressure at the surface. If they find this on their flight out to sea, it will be given the name "Don," which is the next name on our Atlantic hurricane list for this year.

The image to your right shows the various computer models we have access to in the StormTracker Weather Center. Notice how they all take this wave into the western Gulf over the next few days. Regardless if this system develops, it looks as if this area of low pressure will track anywhere towards the lower to middle Texas coastline by Friday.

If this scenario pans out, we could see some enhanced rain chances for the drought stricken state, including us in Deep East Texas.

If our tropical wave does develop, make sure you check our hurricane center for all the latest coordinates, forecast track, satellite images, and more. And of course, we will have comprehensive analysis on KTRE-TV, your East Texas News and Weather Leader.

Friday, July 22, 2011

If You Think It's Hot Here...

While it has been a scorcher so far this summer in East Texas, other parts of the country are stuck in the July Fry as well.

Check out the high temperatures felt across the nation today. It's not surprising to see triple digit heat in the southern half of the United States, but it is uncommon to see the triple digits expand as far north as the Canadian border. The exception and not the rule occurred today for most of the central and eastern half of the country.

The heat was so extreme on Friday, that some all time records were set in the Northeast United States.

Record Extremes

Newark, New Jersey: A high of 108°, which makes it the hottest temperature of all time.

Dulles International Airport in Virginia: The high of 105° was an all time record high at the airport.

Central Park, New York: The high of 104° was the 2nd hottest day on record.

Boston, Massachusetts: The high of 103° made it the 2nd hottest day of all time and the hottest day they have experienced in 85 years.

If you know of anyone from here in Deep East Texas visiting friends or family in the Northeast right now, give them a call and ask them how they are enjoying the cooler weather up north? I'm sure they will give you a loud and unhappy response.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Tropical Storm Bret Forms Off The Florida Coast

On Sunday afternoon, hurricane hunters flew into an area of disturbed weather off the east coast of Florida, near the Bahamas. They found a closed low pressure center which led to Tropical Depression #2.

Just a few hours later, Tropical Depression #2 was upgraded to Tropical Storm Bret, making it our second named storm of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season.

While we have had some afternoon showers as of late, it would be nice to see Bret head in our direction and give us some widespread, soaking showers while remaining a tropical storm or depression.

Unfortunately, the steering currents will steer Bret towards the northeast by the middle part of this week, making it a non-threat to the United States.

While we are only on our second storm, remember that the hurricane season really doesn't get going until mid to late August. That is when the weather patterns become more favorable for tropical development, along with the fact that sea surface temperatures are much warmer later on in the summer months.

Keep it tuned to KTRE-TV. As always, we will have all the latest developments on the tropics.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Some Precious Liquid Gold Back in Your Forecast

As I stepped outside the station on my dinner break this evening, I smiled as I saw things I have not seen in a while. Namely, rain clouds all around East Texas, a few lightning strikes, and that smell of rain when the ground is already wet. Maybe the best part was feeling the cooler temperatures as a result of the rain cooled air. Now that's what makes summer days feel better, doesn't it?

The rain that we have seen today started during the mid-afternoon hours and has continued well into the evening hours. StormTracker Live Doppler Network still continues to show some pockets of moderate to heavy rain falling in southern Angelina county, near Beulah and Zavalla.

This rain that developed is a sign of a weakening high pressure ridge, which has encompassed most of the state for the past couple of months.

With high pressure weakening and moving to the north, that will open up the door for some showers and storms to return to East Texas.

The showers and storms will form along a surface trough and upper level disturbance on Friday and then again on Saturday. This disturbance had been producing widespread rain over southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana the past couple of days. It has now finally shifted further to the south and west, leading to some rain today in our neck of the woods. Our Futurecast computer model shows more scattered thunderstorms developing on your Friday as the disturbance lingers over East Texas.

Due to this feature alone, we may not only see rain in the afternoon hours, but could possibly see some development overnight and into the early morning hours as well. That is why rain chances have gone up to 40%.

As you might imagine, the rain chances won't stay high for long. Once this surface boundary and upper air disturbance moves away, the rain chances will drop to 20% late this weekend, which means the odds of you getting a cooling rain shower go way down.

As always, you can track the rain on your computer any time of day. Just go to to view our live streaming radar and Interactive radar. Hopefully we will all get a little precious liquid gold from Mother Nature this time around.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

East Texas Heat Reaching Dangerous Levels

The song, "The Heat is On" by Glenn Frey would be fitting for our East Texas weather over the past couple of months. Only now, it is really on and has become more dangerous.

Our heat index or feels like temperatures this afternoon have gone over 105° and have been closer to 110° in many instances.

The heat index is determined by combining the actual air temperature with the relative humidity. Typically, during the afternoon, when the temperatures are in the low 100's, the relative humidity values are in the 20-30% range. When the highs only reach the lower to middle 90's, the relative humidity is much higher, say 50%. They have an inverse relationship and offset each other.

That's why sometimes residents in Arizona will tell you they have a dry heat. In some cases, a temperature of 102° may feel not as hot or oppressive as a temperature of 95°. Why would that be? Well, that's because the hotter temperature has the lower humidity value, therefore, it does not feel quite as humid and sauna-like.

A Heat Advisory remains in effect for Angelina, Nacogdoches counties, and all points north and east of there through Thursday evening. Unfortunately, those heat indices will be at dangerous levels again on Thursday.

The image above is a heat index chart. It plots the temperature on the horizontal axis vs. the humidity on the vertical axis. The value that comes together is the actual feels like value. You may want to refer to this so you can see just how hot it actually feels where you live.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

More Chances for Storms to Continue

We have seen multiple rounds of showers and storms over the past couple of days here in Deep East Texas.

These afternoon thunderstorms have helped keep temperatures a little cooler, but more importantly, have dumped some beneficial rainfall on the parched grounds of East Texas.

Have you noticed that these thunderstorm complexes have been moving from north to south? You might be thinking to yourself that this is an unusual direction. Well, it is, considering most of our rain and storm systems move from west to east, not north to south.

What has happened is the big dome of high pressure has moved off to the west and is currently centered over Colorado. With a clockwise flow around the periphery of the ridge, that has allowed any storms that form upstream (Oklahoma and Arkansas) to move downstream and get parts of the Pineywoods wet.

This weather pattern looks to hold for a couple of more days, which means you still have a chance of getting wet, even if you have not received rain in the past few days.

Of course you can track the rain on StormTracker Live Doppler Network by heading to our weather page at It is there where you can view our live streaming radar anytime of day. You can also get the latest radar images on your cell phone by going to KTRE9 TO GO.