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  1. Harvey has stalled, could drift back offshore
  2. Catastrophic flooding possible next five days
  3. Tornado threat continues in SE TX and SW LA

The first major hurricane to hit the U.S. in nearly 12 years just won’t go away. In fact, the legacy of Hurricane Harvey is likely to be what transpires in the next three or four days. Rainfall will be measured in feet across hundreds of square miles in the Lone Star State as the former Category 4 storm painfully drifts back toward the coast. There’s even a chance of a second landfall if Tropical Storm Harvey emerges back out over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The flooding has just begun

Additional rainfall forecast for much of SE Texas.

Harvey has only moved about 150 miles inland, and its circulation will continually pull tropical moisture in off the Gulf. Rain will likely continue for days, almost uninterrupted in some spots, across much of southeast Texas. The steadiest rain is likely to fall north and east of the Harvey’s center, which is expected to slowly drift back to the southeast, ironically very close to where the storm made landfall. The heaviest rainfall rates, however, will occur in the storm’s feeder bands that will be nearly stationary across the greater Houston metro area through Monday.

As of Saturday evening, NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center reported that 10 to 15 inches of rain had already fallen in Aransas and Refugio Counties north of Corpus Christi, and also in Fort Bend and Brazoria Counties southwest of Houston. Six to ten inches was commonly reported across the Houston metro.  Additional rainfall amounts of 10 to 20 inches are likely across all of the aforementioned areas, with locally higher amounts up to 25 inches possible.

This amount of water attempting to flow through creeks and streams that are already full or backed up from Harvey’s storm surge is likely to lead to unprecedented and catastrophic flooding in parts of southeast Texas.

In addition to the heavy rain and flooding, the risk for tornadoes will continue across the same areas of southeast Texas. Rain squalls will occasionally develop enough instability and rotation to prompt tornado warnings, and the risk of quick-hitting spin-ups will also continue through Monday.


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Where Harvey goes from here

It is almost certain that Tropical Storm Harvey will slowly drift back toward the central Texas coast through Monday. Where it goes thereafter is not as clear. The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center keeps Harvey inland, but confidence was low in whether or not the cyclone’s center would drift back over the water. After Monday, the storm (or remnants thereof) are likely to begin moving north toward southeast Texas. It is entirely possible that Harvey will still be a tropical depression or storm in five days.

Post Series: Harvey
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