Yes, Houston, you have a small chance at easing the drought. You may recall what I said (literally) months ago, that only a tropical system could crack the vicious cycle of rain missing Southeast Texas. There IS such a system approaching the Lone Star State, called Tropical Storm Don. As of this writing, the storm is small with only 40 mph winds at its core. But despite what appeared to be an excellent chance to grow into “something special”, Don fell apart at the seams overnight and early Thursday morning.
There are some issues with Tropical Storm Don which are limiting growth (and with it, rainfall potential). One is the broad upper weakness and embedded vorticity maxima along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Georgia and Florida. This feature is expected to weaken and wobble westward into northern Mexico and western Texas by Friday afternoon. If the minoring TUTT lingers, it could act as a shearing mechanism on Don, and possibly alter the path of the tropical low to the right. However, the vast heat ridge complex that is reforming over the Carolinas and Virginias will start to expand to our north and east, aiding outflow of the tropical storm while shoving the low aloft westward. If Don can strengthen, there is even a chance that the two impulses would merge, thereby given the precipitation and wind potential of TS Don a sizable boost. As of now, however, the potential for decent rains from this disturbance looks much smaller than was the case on Wednesday when it was designated.
All of that is conjecture, however, and it will be sometime later Thursday before I can ascertain just how much rainfall will occur in Houston and much of Texas on later Friday and Saturday. Should Don put a dent in the hot weather? Probably, as long as the feature does not find a way to do what other potential rainmakers have done over the past several months. Namely, break up before reaching Texas! The baroclinic models have not really initialized Don very well, hence I would be cautious about accepting the media projections of heavy rain totals projected through Sunday. I just do not see it happening. Could Don be a bigger deal in terms of wind or possibly severe weather? There is always that chance, but the very small size, and obvious weakness, of this “tropical cyclone” argues against too much concern for any location that is 75 miles away from the track line.
Heat is still a concern for Texas, and will become even more so after “Don” fades into history over the TX Panhandle on Sunday morning. The heat ridge that would not die springs back to life several times between now and August 12, wavering between the High Plains and Eastern Seaboard while spending a lot of time over Texas and Oklahoma. Air pollution will be as big a concern as heat and humidity. The 100 degree isotherm could be back in Houston as early as Sunday, with a dangerous period of very high heat looming for the period August 6 – 12.
Thursday: Partly sunny, hazy, very hot and humid. Scattered showers and thunderstorms likely in the afternoon and evening. Highs 95 Houston Downtown to 99 Hempstead
Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, warm, and humid. Lows 76 Prairie View to 80 Channelview
Friday: Morning sunshine followed by increasing cloudiness in the afternoon. Hot and humid. Becoming breezy late day. Highs 92 High Island to 96 Waller
Friday Night: Partly cloudy, windy, warm and humid with scattered showers and thunderstorms. Lows 74 Baytown to 78 Hockley
Saturday: Partly cloudy, how and humid with scattered showers and thunderstorms. Highs 89 Cypress to 93 Liberty
Sunday: Mostly sunny, hazy, very hot and humid. High 100, Low 80
Monday: Mostly sunny, hazy, very hot and humid. High 101, Low 79
Tuesday: Thunderstorms possible early. Then mostly sunny and brutally hot with high humidity. High 103, Low 78