Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Texas Flooding. Waterspout Bounce House. Analog Years ...Remember them?

Adam Bennet puts it right.
If you live in Houston.
Sit tight.
Don't drive
Unless it's an Emergency!

A satellite image shows the story better than any words can...

Look at the SIZE of that system over Texas...
Anchored there for now.

Again note that moisture from GOM keeps oozing north
into the area from Texas to Big Bend of FL.
Something to remember
as we move into the 
Hurricane Season

sat_wv_east_loop-12.gif (640×512)

I know your eye goes to the Mid Atlantic at that diving feature and the hook that looks like something is forming, but move your eyes to the left and see the blow up of storms over Texas that fueled the flash floods of Memorial Day Weekend 2015. Now look at the same water vapor loop of the Eastern Pacific and you can see why the Gulf Coast is in the flow for severe weather.

sat_wv_west_loop-12.gif (640×512)

Note the moisture flowing Eastbound across the Pacific towards Southern California and Mexico. Also note to the south of that flow is moisture from tropical areas of moisture in the EPAC where their season has already started. It's sort of a 1 - 2 punch.

More tropical trouble could bring more Texas trouble

Short term more water
Longer term might help
Weather can be confusing.

Memorial Day Flood 2015



On a personal note.
I've been offline for 3 days for Shabbos & Shavous.
I've eaten enough cheesecake & ice cream to swear off dairy for a year.
Living on Tagamet and watching TWC coverage of the tragic floods.

As usual Cantore does a great job explaining the details.
The devil is ALWAYS in the details.

Texas goes from drought to flood often
Flash Floods
Tropical Storms worse than Hurricanes
No name Tropical Storms
Hurricanes like Audrey
Hurricane Ike

This morning's blog is going to be on the dynamics of the flood and how it may or may not relate to this coming hurricane season. Also, the bizarre story of a bounce house that took flight on Ft. Lauderdale Beach when a waterspout suddenly picked it up and tossed it like Dorothy's house up into the sky Luckily, it was a small waterspout not a huge Twister that carried Dorothy to Oz. 3 children were injured and are home recuperating with a story to tell for the rest of their lives. Thank God they were not injured worse. 

Many were injured worse in the flash floods and many have died. It's useless for me to give a figure of injured and dead or how many homes have been ruined by flood waters as the story is still unfolding. Just like we wait for morning visible imagery of a developing tropical storm we are just watching the first images from the air of WHOLE NEIGHBORHOODS underwater or damaged. I will update this blog later this evening with more sad details and hopefully information that could help someone along with some contrast and comparing this with other watery disasters that have happened in the Houston area. Note...this is being called the #HoustonFlood but it affected areas as far away as Austin and NOTE is NOT over as there is more rain on the way. Though the totals may not be as high from the next rainstorm, ANY AMOUNT on top of what they have now currently could be the hair that broke the camel's back so to speak for many who woke up this morning thinking they may have barely escaped the disaster. It can and will change quickly again throughout the day. 

It may be the FIRST Flash Flood Emergency for Houston, but it is NOT the first flash flood or emergency they have had there. This is rare and yet it's not so rare. The set up happens, this particular set up was huge vs localized and the Buffalo Bayou, used to flooding, flooded again as did most of Houston as cells trained across the area like a never ending choo choo train....

Going to do something I rarely do and hope my brother won't be upset. He lived in Houston for a few years. One year in particular he was caught out in a flash flood when the bayou reclaimed the land where homes and roads had been built. He described it to me at the time as one ocean wave just suddenly moving up the street and battering his windshield as he was trying to figure out what to do. This is a child of Miami, a young man who was used to record rainfall, hurricanes and tropical downpours and yet he had never seen anything like this.

"They're saying this is a 500 year event ... but yeah Houston floods ... flash flooding from time to time ... I went through one ... one minute you're trying to figure out which street has less water and the next second the water is coming in your car ... unreal ... and yeah south and south west Houston always ..."

Note his usage of the word "always" as flash floods in Houston are as common as waterspouts in Florida with it's long coastline.
(A look back at flooding in the Texas area, recent and in the distant past)

Best place to get the news firsthand from Houston and other areas in Texas is straight from the source.

I'll agree with him here. When you go to the beach in Florida you never know what you are going to see.

The rest of the story....

Really as a parent I can't imagine what it must have been like for the parents of these children to see their children go airborne suddenly without any warning of anything about to go wrong. Weather often goes wrong and it often goes wrong suddenly, especially in Florida. Houston is prone to flash flooding, though rarely anything like this, and sadly add in the Memorial Day Weekend when people are less aware of news and weather warnings. People are out at the beach, having a picnic, driving home from a basketball game or a school dance. There are no Hurricane Warnings being flashed across the TV screen for hours on end warning people how to properly prepare for storm surge, high winds and a possible tornado in a random band.

Flash Flooding means FLASH... in the blink of an eye, suddenly there is water every where and you often have no route to escape.

Waterspouts usually form fast, dissipate and are barely noticeable offshore as bathers point when they see it briefly spin up. Sometimes they don't even realize they were there as they form so fast and disappear as suddenly. Many a bather gets out of the water to dry off and someone tells they there was a waterspout and they respond "Man I wish I'd seen that" and then there are the larger than life TWISTER types that briefly end up on land, causing minimal damage and making the nightly news or youtube news or any news making people wonder why people live in Florida with all those hurricanes and waterspouts. The truth is in Florida they are usually harmless and we think of them as watery, dust devils dancing just off shore delighting beach goers that are lucky enough to have their cell phone nearby to snap a picture. Most storm chasers in the Florida area spend their time chasing waterspouts that form fast during severe weather events .... or suddenly when things change fast in the middle of the afternoon without a lot of previous warnings.

Note this waterspout in Oldsmar on Florida's West Coast. Pick a coast, sit a spell and you will eventually see a waterspout... hopefully you won't be in a bounce house . . . or a small canoe...

The best place in the Florida Keys to get great pictures of waterspouts USED TO BE the front porch of the National Weather Service before they moved from the airport to their fancy new digs. Some of my friends would take photos as they leaned into the railing and posting them online. Here's a link from the past with information still useful. Now they have to climb up the tower to get a good video of a waterspout, whereas before they were across the street from the Atlantic Ocean.

NOTE.... For ANY Weather... 
Tropical or otherwise
Mike's page on Facebook is a great place to meet and greet others and talk on weather.

Note Mike has links up now to SAL...
Saharan Dust which we watch 
as June 1st approaches

Watch the flow of moisture up from the GOM 

A concern of mine now with the Hurricane Season pretty much here.

Remember a while back when we discussed the analog years for this year?




2015 Analog Years by CSU team..

Several of those years had strong hits on Texas...
Areas devastated by these flash foods
Areas caught in the flow of moisture

I suggest you read back on my blog for this current year.

The point I am making here today is...


Flash Floods

People worry on Hurricanes & Twisters & Earthquakes
Yet it's the flash floods that are hard to prepare for... well as the small spin up waterspouts.

There is not always a long warning.
It's heart breaking the stories of people caught up in this sudden tragedy.
Tragic stories of children ripped from their parents.
Teens in their cars unaware everything could change in a minute.
Children lifted up into heaven and back again..
...while their parents watch.

It's 2015. We know so much about weather and forecasting.
And, yet... we have such a long way to go.
And, it reminds me of the tragedy of the Regatta in Dauphin Island Alabama

Never turn your back on the weather.
Have APPS on your phone

Weather radios still work... many listen online

Social Media:

Watch TV... TWC

Local Weather 

Whether your old school or a hipster... 

Stay informed of local weather in your area.

And remember a flash flood.
Turn around, don't drown!

Besos Bobbi

Ps. A good Texas Hurricane site...


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