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Mason County News
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Tropical Storms, Hurricanes, and Floods, Oh My!
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 • Posted August 3, 2011

As last week ended, everyone was checking on the status of Tropical Storm Don as it moved across the Gulf of Mexico. We all knew where it was going to make landfall -- what we weren't sure about was if it would be powerful enough to break through the dome of high pressure holding Texas and the Plains states in a vise lock of hot, dry weather.I remember pulling up the storm on radar and satellite, and being so disappointed as I watched it literally disappear from both once it made it to the coast. Meteorologists commented on Saturday that they had never seen a tropical system evaporate so quickly.All my life, I remember going through July, August and September paying close attention to the tropics. We all knew that the only way we were going to receive any substantial rainfall during those months was if a tropical low, tropical storm or hurricane could make its way on to the Texas coast. It couldn't come in below Corpus or it would head up the Rio Grande. Too far northeast of Corpus and the storm would head up through the Piney Woods of east Texas.But, a direct hit on Corpus... that was our "sweet spot." I always found it a bit depressing that we would begin hoping and praying for a hurricane, knowing the associated damage that could conceivably occur with such a storm. Everyone was always careful to note that they didn't want Corpus or any other coastal communities to suffer any harm; but, the trajectory was still necessary.Of course, storms that follow such a path have also caused problems in the past. It seems that when they head into central Texas, the storms lose many of their steering currents. As a result, we've often had rain events, or outright storms, that moved in and overstayed their welcome. There has been flooding, tornadoes, lightning strikes and more.The conditions here are not isolated. In Oklahoma, some areas have received less than an inch of rainfall since November. Currently, they are suffering through daytime highs of 108 - 112 degrees. And, like us, there seems to be no relief in sight.So, we begin watching the tropics with unwavering interest. This week, our attention is on Tropical Storm Emily. Most projects have the storm heading across Hispanola, then the east coast of Florida, and finally recurving back out into the Atlantic somewhere around the Outer Banks.But, not everyone agrees. Some meteorologists think the high pressure dome may force the storm to take a more southerly or westerly track. If that occurred, the storm might be able to make it into the Gulf where the warm water and steering currents might, once again, bring us a chance at some badly needed rainfall.And, we watch waves coming off the coast of Africa, paying close attention to how far south they are, how much thunderstorm activity they contain, what wind shear is like ahead of them... We watch,,,, and we wait.Almost all historical droughts end with extreme rainfall. That extreme rainfall doesn't come from normal weather conditions; but, from large storms with high moisture content, staying power, and a good sense of direction.And, our storm will come sooner or later.

It’s all just my opinion.

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