Tropical Depression Two Along South Texas Coast
Hello everybody, this is Senior Meteorologist Shaun Tanner writing Dr. Masters' blog while he is on vacation.
Tropical Depression Two formed overnight in the northern Bay of Campeche and is now making landfall along the extreme south coast of Texas. A hurricane hunter was sent into the system and found a low-level circulation. While there are some reports of tropical storm strength winds in the squalls of the system, there is just not enough evidence to upgrade the storm to tropical storm strength before landfall.
The satellite representation of the depression is quite impressive as half of the depression is now over landfall. Brownsville radar currently is showing the effects of the depression with heavy rain and thunderstorms through much of southern Texas.
The biggest lingering effect from the depression will be to prolong the devastating flooding that has been ongoing in southern Texas and northeast Mexico. Not including the rain that will fall due to the depression, over the past 7 days, the area near Houston has received over 10 inches of rain, while some inland areas of Texas has received over 4 inches of rain. The problem gets worse in the Mexican state of Coahuila near the Texas border has received upwards of 20 inches of rain in the past 7 days due to substantial moisture pouring into the area.
This surging watershed has caused massive flooding throughout the region, with the area near Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico being the hardest hit. The flooding has caused the major border crossing between those two cities to be closed as the Rio Grande surged and threatened to top the crossing's bridge. A contingent of Mexican officials, including the mayor of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, touring the flooding damage in an airplane crashed Wednesday, killing all six onboard. Evacuations on both sides of the border has forced tens of thousands of people out of their homes, while over 100,000 people were without water service. The flooding problem is extra dangerous because swollen dams had to release some of their water downstream into areas that towns that have already been swamped. It was even reported that one of these releases by the National Water Commission of Mexico was the largest emergency water release in the country.
Needless to say, the rain from Tropical Depression Two will only further the flooding problems in southern Texas and northeast Mexico. Figure 3 shows the severe map and the greens represent Flood Watches and Warnings. You can see almost the entire states of Texas and Oklahoma are under these watches and warnings in anticipation of several inches of rain from the remnants of Tropical Depression Two.
Figure 1. Satellite loop of Tropical Depression Two.
Figure 2. Storm-centered radar as depression makes landfall.
Figure 3. Severe map.