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Southeast Texas Hammered by 15+ Inches of Rain

It doesn’t take a hurricane or tropical storm to dump massive amounts of rain on southeast Texas these days. Just a wave of tropical moisture from an ocean warmed by human-caused climate change.

(Not a hurricane, but southeast Texas may see 20 inches or more of rain this week.)

Over the past few days, a massive surge of moisture has flowed off the warmer than normal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This moisture has interacted with a trough dipping down over the Central U.S. to produce prodigious amounts of rainfall. And ever since late Sunday powerful thunderstorms have been firing across the Texas coast.

As of this morning, according to reports from The National Weather Service, between 5 and 15 inches of rainfall had inundated a vast swath stretching from the Texas-Mexico border northward to a Houston area still recovering from Hurricane Harvey’s historic floods. These heavy rains, producing amounts typically seen from a substantial tropical cyclone, have generated major flooding and flash flood warnings across the region. As the waters rise, residents have become justifiably concerned about personal safety and damage to property.

NOAA forecasts indicate that storms expected to continue firing through Thursday, with between 2 and 7 inches of additional rainfall possible. It is worth noting that atmospheric moisture levels over the region are very high. So predicted rainfall totals may be exceeded.

(As of 7 AM, more than 15 inches of rain had fallen over parts of southeast Texas in association with a persistent upper level low and related severe thunderstorms. Heavy rains have continued to fall throughout the day and aren’t expected to abate until at least Thursday. Image source: The National Weather Service.)

During recent years, increased global temperatures have generated more extreme rainfall events for places like southeastern Texas. Warmer ocean surfaces — like those in the heating Gulf of Mexico — evaporate more moisture into the atmosphere. And this moisture generates more fuel for storms — greatly increasing the peak rainfall potential of the most intense storms.

Last year, southeast Texas faced inundation from a number of severe events. A sequence that was capped off by the record-shattering Hurricane Harvey — which tied Katrina as the costliest U.S. storm on record and dumped more than 60 inches of rainfall over parts of the state. Though the present storm event is not likely to reach Harvey levels of extremity, it is a stark reminder that we have entered a new climate and extreme weather regime. One that will continue to worsen so long as we keep burning fossil fuels and forcing global temperatures to rise.

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24 Comments

  1. Abel Adamski

     /  June 21, 2018

    Meanwhile next door
    https://climatecrocks.com/2018/06/20/as-sea-level-rises-build-the-mall-2/
    Note the $2Mill Arkup hurricane and flood proof mobile home – duhh

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  June 21, 2018

      The Arkup can withstand a Cat 4 Hurricane when serious discussions are happening re a new Cat 6 category.
      A wonderful investment for hardline GOP and Tea Party members

      Like

      Reply
      • kassy

         /  June 21, 2018

        How much time would they need to steer clear of serious storms?

        (And “four-and-a-half-bathroom” …. half bathrooms must be something american but what is it? )

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
  2. Greg

     /  June 21, 2018

    You aren’t getting much rest with all the writing and researching you are doing. There will be one more rain event after another to cover… You need this Robert:

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
  3. Abel Adamski

     /  June 21, 2018
    Reply
    • kassy

       /  June 21, 2018

      The approach of these kind of projects needs to change:
      1) build carbon capture equipment first and proves it works
      2) then add the rest of the crap

      We have a similar (but smaller) plant here in the Netherlands which was built to use the technology but they failed at implementing it so hard.

      Follow up question is why they fail so hard. Personally i expect they did not really try. The wronged party is the government (and we the people) but they might be complicit. After all you could put huge penalties for failure in the contract but they never do. So the CC is PR to get it built and when it operates it’s a waste to shut it down so yay we have another polluting asset.

      The people negotiating for the government in these contracts are usually from the economics department or at least that is how it works here in the Netherlands.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
      • Would like to add that the U.S., despite Trump’s solar tariffs and actions aimed at knee capping this vital emerging industry, added 2.5 GW of solar in Q1 (approx 30 percent growth vs Q1 2017). This represented 55 percent of all new power added in Q1.

        The U.S. also appears to be adding approx 4 GW of solar manufacturing in 2018. Worth noting that the cost of solar cells in the international market is now 12 cents per watt and approx 25 cents per watt for modules. These are very, very low prices and they keep going down. There doesn’t appear to be an energy source that can compete with solar on price in even the 2 year timeframe.

        We are confronted with an ironic situation in which republicans in the U.S. and so-called conservatives around the world are using government policy to fight the very market fundamentals that, for decades, they have propped up as the ideal for economic and political enablement. Apparently, when market fundamentals are on the side of renewable energy, that’s enough to make complete hypocrites of many a so-called ‘free market thinker.’

        We’ve been arguing the economic fundamentals angle for certain kinds of clean energy due to this simple fact — getting economics on your side is a good way win the full political and economic field long term. If you’ve forced your opponents to deny their own political positions in order to defend dirty energy, this is the very definition of putting them on losing intellectual and moral grounds.

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply
        • “States rights” in the US is a similar gambit. Conservatives are all for state’s rights, so long as they’re the right ones. If you’re for gay marriage or legal weed or death with dignity or renewable power, suddenly “states rights” becomes “government overreach”.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Brian

           /  June 22, 2018

          Unfortunately, losing intellectual and moral ground means nothing for these politicians who have no shame.

          Like

    • Time after time after time we have seen carbon capture used to greenwash dirty projects and then fail miserably. It’s these false promises and failures that make the need for wind, solar and storage so much more poignant.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. Erik Frederiksen

     /  June 21, 2018

    Sea level rise exacerbates the impacts of these heavier rainfall events. Look at South Florida and other coastal areas which are seeing worse “sunny day flooding”. Every 28 days saltwater backs up storm drains, drains meant for things like rainwater, which fills the streets because it has nowhere to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Brian

       /  June 22, 2018

      I think this is probably the best example to really cement the truth of what’s going on into the minds of people in Florida. “Did this happen 10 years ago? Climate change is real, and it’s affecting you and your neighbors.” Time this ad for nuisance flooding days and make it a public awareness campaign. Just my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. Vic

     /  June 21, 2018

    India’s government about to seek tenders for the supply of 100GW of solar, by far the world’s largest single investment in solar yet. The ~US$100b deal would include manufacture of the panels, making India the world’s second largest PV manufacturer while simultaneously massively overshooting the country’s Paris climate commitments. Bravo!

    https://reneweconomy.com.au/india-energy-minister-flags-massive-100gw-solar-tender-76760/

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    • kassy

       /  June 21, 2018

      Very nice. After that they are going to want even more panels.

      This is a huge step forward for the world climate but this could also mean providing reliable power to the slums.

      This power could be used for cooking (so no more wood or other stuff burning indoors which also kills people) , possibly water purification and lots of other conveniences we take for granted. Many time and money savers.

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
  6. Erik Frederiksen

     /  June 21, 2018

    Robert, thanks for your article, I do have an observation regarding the following which you wrote: “it is a stark reminder that we have entered a new climate”. Although we have entered a new climate, we do not have what some have described as a new normal because we’ve set in motion changes which will continue for millennia due to how long it takes for CO2 to cycle through Earth’s systems with its effects on critical climate systems like ice sheets.

    Adaptation strategies tend to look at adapting to a new climate state, but the climate has become a moving target for time scales of little interest to humanity, and a moving target is hard to hit.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  7. Abel Adamski

     /  June 21, 2018
    Reply
  8. kassy

     /  June 21, 2018

    Climate change gives and then takes….or at least it works that way for the Maine lobstermen:

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  9. kassy

     /  June 21, 2018

    European Commission – Press release
    New World Atlas of Desertification shows unprecedented pressure on the planet’s natural resources
    Brussels, 21 June 2018

    Today, the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission’s science and knowledge service, is publishing a new edition of the World Atlas of Desertification, offering a tool for decision makers to improve local responses to soil loss and land degradation.

    The Atlas provides the first comprehensive, evidence-based assessment of land degradation at a global level and highlights the urgency to adopt corrective measures.

    The main findings show that population growth and changes in our consumption patterns put unprecedented pressure on the planet’s natural resources:

    Over 75% of the Earth’s land area is already degraded, and over 90% could become degraded by 2050.

    Globally, a total area half of the size of the European Union (4.18 million km²) is degraded annually, with Africa and Asia being the most affected.

    The economic cost of soil degradation for the EU is estimated to be in the order of tens of billions of euros annually.

    Land degradation and climate change are estimated to lead to a reduction of global crop yields by about 10% by 2050. Most of this will occur in India, China and sub-Saharan Africa, where land degradation could halve crop production.

    As a consequence of accelerated deforestation it will become more difficult to mitigate the effects of climate change

    By 2050, up to 700 million people are estimated to have been displaced due to issues linked to scarce land resources. The figure could reach up to 10 billion by the end of this century.

    much more on link:
    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-4202_en.htm

    straight to the atlas:
    https://wad.jrc.ec.europa.eu/

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  10. kassy

     /  June 21, 2018

    Donny ruins the oceans to celebrate Ocean Month:

    Trump Drowns Ocean Protections During National Ocean Month
    The president revoked an Obama-era order aimed at protecting and restoring ocean and coastal health.

    In proclaiming June National Ocean Month, President Donald Trump called on the nation to “reflect on the value and importance of oceans” and “celebrate this immense natural resource.”

    But this week, in the midst of that celebration, he signed an executive order to revoke Obama-era protections for U.S. oceans, coastlines and Great Lakes waters. Trump’s directive focuses on energy extraction, fishing, trade and national security, further highlighting that he believes that the greatest value of federal lands and waters lies in the commodities that can be harvested from them.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-ocean-executive-order-national-ocean-month_us_5b2a8ddbe4b0f0b9e9a7e186

    As the president tweeted: “Take that sharks….you Canadians of the sea!”

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    • Brian

       /  June 22, 2018

      Since when do sharks have free health care, low prescription drug prices, and gun control?

      Couldn’t resist! *g*

      Like

      Reply

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