Harvey the Horrible, Why Isn’t He Moving Much?

August 27, 2017 1 Comment


As you should know by know, southeast Texas and the Houston area have been taking an incredible pounding from now Tropical Storm Harvey.    Catastrophic rain totals, nearing 30 inches have been reported as of Sunday evening.  In my 25 year weather forecasting career, I have never seen a radar rainfall estimate as extreme as the one posted here from Houston.  The white areas show the areas that have had at least 25 inches through Sunday evening.

With the storm expected to generally stay in the region through at least Thursday, copious amounts of moisture will continue to feed into Texas and Louisiana from the Gulf of Mexico.  Rainfall rates in the heaviest feeder bands could be in the 4 to 5 inch per hour rate.  Storm total rain amounts could be over 4 feet by the time this event winds down!   It is hard to imagine how much rain that is.  Keep in mind we normally get about 32 inches in Wisconsin in a whole year!

A tropical storm / hurricane staying over the same location for 5 or 6 days in a row is virtually unheard of.    So what in the world is causing this rare event?

As it turns out Harvey is sitting in a kink in the upper level winds, where there is little pushing on it.   The two main steering currents are going from the Central Plains due south into Mexico just on the west side of Harvey.  Meanwhile a westerly wind aloft is blowing across the Mid-Mississippi Valley, too far north to impact Harvey.  It is basically stuck in the “corner” of the atmospheric room and it’s just spinning in place.

My thoughts and prayers are with all the people impacted by this.  I praise the efforts of all those working to save human and animal life, and reduce destruction as much as possible.  It is a daunting task no doubt that will continue to require courage and quick thinking.  God be with you all.


About the Author:

StormTrak9 Meteorologist with WAOW-TV in Wausau, WI. Also the owner of Great Lakes Weather Service, LLC.

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