Hurricane Harvey could bring nearly a year's worth of Seattle rain in days to Texas
A dire situation is brewing on the Texas coastline as Hurricane Harvey takes aim at its coastline later Friday. But while wind usually gets the top billing in any advancing hurricane -- and Harvey is no slouch in that department -- this storm is set to really make its mark in historical flooding and relentless storm surge. Because unlike most hurricanes that come and go within several hours, Harvey could be parked in Texas for days!
The storm is forecast to become trapped between two areas of high pressure -- the big Desert Southwest High that has been parked there more or less since June and has kept the West very dry, and another high parked just to Harvey's east in the Gulf of Mexico. That is creating very light upper level winds that means essentially Harvey is going to meander around south/central Texas for days as if it's a sailboat adrift in a dead calm sea.
And as it sticks around, it will continue to dump torrential rains on the area.
Some of the forecasted rain totals are difficult to fathom. Widespread forecast totals of 12-20 inches of rain to fall by Tuesday across SE Texas, with some models focusing an intense rainy bullseye around the Victoria, Texas area of 30-31 inches of rain by Tuesday night!
That's a forecast running with a blend of the models, but some forecast models are going with even more -- one European model run predicts 37.3" for Victoria, Texas by Tuesday evening:
That much rain is difficult to fathom, but to put in perspective -- 30-35 inches of rain would likely fill an empty hot tub. If Victoria were to get 37 inches of rain in five days, it would match what Seattle usually gets in an entire year.
Thus, the area will be dealing with days of massive flooding issues.
According to the National Weather Service, Texas has had worse storms before -- a 48-inch storm rainfall total with Hurricane Amelia in 1978 , but this storm may come close to some Gulf Coast state records.
Harvey's slow journey will of course bear watching. Some forecast models suggest a possible scenario where Harvey eventually drifts back into the Gulf of Mexico early next week and reenergeizes for a second Gulf Coast landfall, but that is highly uncertain at this point.
How to help:
No matter how the storm specifically plays out, much of that region of the Gulf Coast will be dealing with major storm-related issues for days. The Red Cross will be a good place to begin if you'd like to help.