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Submitted by Tim Buckley on Tue, 09/07/2010 - 7:30am.
I don't know if it's the barbeque, the country music, or the cowboy boots - but something is just drawing these tropical systems to South Texas. Of the six tropical systems to have a brush with land so far this Hurricane Season, half of them have come through the Rio Grande Valley near the Texas / Mexico border.
Tropical Storm Hermine became the latest visitor to the Lone Star state as she made landfall just across the border near Matamoros, Mexico early Tuesday morning. Hermine was a young storm, only forming late Sunday evening, but it packed quite a punch as it came ashore.
The system strengthened almost continuously after becoming a Tropical Storm early Monday. In fact, the system appeared on radar to become somewhat better organized even after coming on land this morning. On our radar image posted above you can clearly see a well defined center of circulation - and heavy feeder bands rotating into the 'eye'.
Officially, Hermine made landfall with sustained winds of 65 mph with higher gusts. On land, Brownsville reported maximum sustained winds near 45 mph and also saw a gust of 69 mph as the storm moved through. In Harlingen, just inland from Brownsville and closer to the center of Hermine, max winds were at 55 mph sustained with a 73 mph gust - almost hurricane strength! It's no stretch to think that there were some hurricane conditions to be found somewhere on the ground as this storm plowed through.
Earlier this season we saw Hurricane Alex come through the similar area, and then it was Tropical Depression 2. Both dropped rain over the area, but it appears that Hermine will have a much better opportunity to cause some significant flooding - and not just in south Texas. Looking at the Day 1 rainfall forecast from the HPC, you can see they place a bullseye of rainfall in central Texas with a swatch of 6" totals from Fort Worth all the way to Galveston. Some places need the rain, but it's best not to get it all at once.
As we approach the official peak of the hurricane season (September 10th) it's probably useful to look back at how we stand so far. The latest National Hurricane Center forecast calls for 14-20 named storms before the season is over. So far, we have had 8 storms overall, three hurricanes, and two major hurricanes. It's not out of the question that we the same or even more storms after this halfway point in the season.
In fact, some other La Nina seasons have been "back-loaded" and seen higher activity late in the season rather than early. This year, with some of the warmest sea surface temperatures we've seen in the Atlantic on record, you would expect development to be possible longer than usual. That's not to say we'll have a hurricane knocking on the door in December -- but a storm or two in November wouldn't be out of the question.
We'll just have to wait and see what the rest of the year brings. Once Hermine wraps up her act, things look quiet at least for a few days. Then it gets active again heading into next week.
Thats all for now.
Enjoy the sunshine!
By: Tim Buckley