Weather Week: As Rain Clears, The Tropics Get Busy

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Get it? Tropics?
Despite the gloomy conditions the past few days, Houston and the surrounding area hasn't received a lot of rain. On average about a half to three-quarters of an inch of rain has fallen since Saturday, but we'll take what we can get. Most of the rain has been due to a tropical disturbance in the Gulf that moved our direction.

By Tuesday, most of the rain will push out of the area and high pressure will reassert itself. The result will be high temperatures back into the mid and upper 90s with mostly clear and humid days, as per normal for the end of August. Days are beginning to get shorter, however, if ever so slowly and it is only a matter of weeks before we likely experience our first cool front of the fall.

Before then, our typical summer weather pattern of heat, humidity and the occasional shower will remain in place. And, don't look now, but that slow start to hurricane season may have finally given way to some activity.

Eye on the Tropics

Over the next two weeks as we approach the peak of hurricane season, it is looking like all the factors that would normally contribute to a pattern of increased activity in the Atlantic are aligning. The dry, stable air that has persisted throughout the Atlantic Basin is beginning to dissipated and a more unstable atmosphere is taking its place.

If you weren't paying attention over the weekend, you likely missed Tropical Storm Ferdinand. It sprung up in the southern Gulf of Mexico and moved inland near Veracruz, Mexico brining several inches of rain to the region. Ferdinand was the sixth tropical storm of the season and marks a rare occurrence: that many storms in a row without one becoming a hurricane. It's only happened once (2011) according to records, though as Dr. Jeff Masters points out, it likely happened during years when sophisticated tracking equipment did not exist. Nevertheless, it's odd and probably won't continue.

Several of the more reliable computer models predict a busy couple of weeks with as many as three tropical waves developing as they move off the coast of Africa. At this point, it appears unlikely any of them will impact the U.S., but with so much forecast activity at this point in the season, it is a good idea to be wary and pay attention.

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