Houston under flood watch as tropical system rain hits Southeast Texas


Houston and southern communities are under a flood watch through Friday evening as rain showers and thunderstorms begin to illuminate the weather radar Thursday morning.

According to National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologists in League City, heavy downpours will dump three to six inches of rain across the southern portion of Greater Houston, including the metro, by Friday evening. Most of the rain stayed offshore Thursday morning, but forecasters predict showers will move north overnight when most of the rain hits the region.

Due to forecasts, the NWS has issued a flood watch for Harris, Galveston, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Chambers, Wharton and Matagorda counties through 7 p.m. Friday. Flash flood warnings could be issued when rain begins to fall, if warranted. Authorities are urging drivers to stay off the roads if they are flooded.

While the center of the tropical low pressure system is far southwest of Houston near Matagorda Bay, showers are developing to the northwest and are expected to roll into Houston from the Gulf of Mexico. It’s because Houston is on the so-called dirty side of the systemwhich rotates counter-clockwise, drawing moisture from the Gulf waters inland, according to NWS meteorologists.

The tropical disturbance, officially called Invest 95L, could develop into a tropical depression before it makes landfall on Friday, according to meteorologists from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami. Hurricane Hunters, a specialized Air Force Reserve squadron that collects data on potential tropical developments, flew into the disturbance Thursday afternoon and relayed the information to the NHC in Miami.

However it develops, the disturbance is sure to be a rainmaker, meteorologists said.

Heavy rain will filter inland from 3 a.m. Friday until mid-morning, according to NWS. Computer models show the strongest storms will pour between two and three inches per hour over much of the flood watch area, with widespread rainfall rates of up to 0.5 inches per hour. Since the region experienced drought conditions for much of June, forecasters do not anticipate major flooding issues.

“Low-lying areas and areas with poor drainage could experience minor flooding issues,” NWS forecaster Jimmy Fowler said in a statement. Thursday morning detailed weather discussion.

While the flood watch currently ends Friday evening, Houston still has a 70% chance of rain on Saturday and a 30% chance on Sunday. The July 4 holiday will likely mark the return of typical summer weather to Houston, where daytime heating fuels a small chance of isolated thunderstorms during the hottest parts of the afternoon.

Temperatures will be in the low to mid 80s through Friday, then in the low to mid 90s through Wednesday.

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