Tracking the tropics: What Invest 95L in the Gulf means for Texas
A tropical depression could form before the system moves inland over Texas later Thursday
HOUSTON – A tropical disturbance in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico is moving ashore over Texas, ending the chances the system develops into tropical cyclone, but even with the lack of development parts of the state won't escape its impacts.
The system identified as Invest 95L is producing squally weather along the coast, which means heavy rains and rough waves and seas are to be expected between Corpus Christi, Texas and southwestern Louisiana.
An invest is simply a naming convention used by the NHC to identify an area of weather that it is investigating for possible development into a tropical depression or tropical storm within the next five days.
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A Hurricane Hunter aircraft flew into the disturbance on Thursday and determined the system had not organized into a tropical depression.
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The threat of high surf and rip currents will begin to diminish on Saturday as the tropical disturbance moves farther inland in Texas.
Over the next few days, the upper Texas coast and southwestern Louisiana could see several inches of rain from the slow-moving tropical disturbance.
Forecast models show at least 3 to 5 inches of rain is expected to fall with some locally higher amounts, especially south and east of Houston.
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The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for portions of southeastern Texas, including Houston and Galveston, through Friday evening. The highest flooding concerns will be along the immediate coast before expanding across the rest of the Flood Watch area into Friday.
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Rainfall is welcome news
More than 85% of Texas is in some sort of drought, so the potential for heavy rainfall is welcome news in the Lone Star State.
The ongoing drought is even considered to be "exceptional" – the worst category on the U.S. Drought Monitor – in nearly 16% of Texas, which increases the risk for fires and leads to water shortages.
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Galveston is more than 8 inches of rainfall below average for the year, and communities in the central and western parts of the state are in even worse shape.
San Antonio has a rainfall deficit of nearly 11 inches for the year, and homeowners and businesses are dealing with water restrictions.
The tropical disturbance’s heaviest rainfall will likely remain east of Interstate 35 and should taper off as the system works northward through the state over the Fourth of July weekend.
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Tropics busy elsewhere
Elsewhere in the tropics, meteorologists are monitoring Potential Tropical Cyclone Two speeding across the Caribbean.
Forecasters say there is around a 90% chance the tropical disturbance could develop into at least a tropical storm before reaching Central America this weekend.
Computer forecast models show the potential tropical cyclone staying on a southern trajectory through the Caribbean and never becoming a threat to the U.S. mainland.
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The next name on the list of storms in the Atlantic Basin is "Bonnie."
During an average season, the second named storm forms around July 17.
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