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Weather forecast for East Texas predicts ‘nightmare scenario’ with more rain

In a densely forested area of ​​East Texas called Piney Woods, rivers are still in moderate to major flood after heavy rains in recent weeks. Now the region is bracing for what forecasters are calling a “nightmare scenario” with another round of excessive rain, which could lead to even more flooding Thursday into Friday morning.

“It’s just an insane amount of rain,” said Jimmy Fowler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Houston, “that seems to keep falling over the same area.”

This week’s forecast calls for three to five more inches of rain in the same part of Texas, southeast of Dallas and northeast of Houston, where “considerable amounts of rain have occurred this month,” forecasters said.

“Over the past 14 days, parts of East Texas have received 5 to 10 inches of rain, with localized amounts up to 15 to 20 inches,” said Marc Chenard, senior forecaster at the Weather Prediction Center , a branch of National Weather. Service, said Tuesday afternoon. “This represents 400 to 600 percent of the normal rain for this two-week period. »

This week, some isolated areas could see an additional 6 to 10 inches, Chenard added. And it will fall on saturated ground. Since January, some cities, like Huntsville, Texas, have already exceeded the 51 inches of precipitation they would typically receive in an entire year.

Although some of the river gauges currently in flood stage are still below the record levels seen during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, recent weeks have seen an avalanche of heavy precipitation, particularly in the region of Piney Woods, said Mr. said Fowler.

Because the ground is so saturated, Fowler said, it would probably only take one storm producing one to three inches of rain per hour to cause flash flooding.

Wednesday looks set to be relatively dry, but there won’t be time to dry the ground before Thursday’s rains. Rather, evaporating water will only add to the humidity in the air, helping to fuel Thursday’s precipitation.

Forecasters at the Weather Prediction Center warned that if computer forecast models continued to show the target of persistent excessive rain over the already flooded region, they would most likely increase the likelihood of flash flooding to a higher level.

Flooding concerns will shift eastward into the South as multiple waves of storms move across Louisiana Thursday through Friday. By the start of the weekend, East Texas could begin to dry out, but torrential rains will hit southern Mississippi and Alabama, which have also been stuck in a similar rainy pattern recently.

News Source : www.nytimes.com
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