The NHC upgraded 91L to tropical storm Bill and immediately posted a tropical storm warning for parts of the Texas coastline. This is the first significant tropical cyclone to threaten Texas since 2008 when hurricane Ike devastated the region and on in to southwest Louisiana. In 2011, TS Don pretty much died on arrival due to the extreme drought gripping the state.
Bill is likely going to try to intensify through the night and in to Tuesday as it approaches the coast. Water temps are plenty warm and upper level winds are gradually becoming more and more favorable. Fortunately, Bill will run out of real-estate before becoming a hurricane, but it may try to get close. I’ve seen it with these smaller short-fuse storms, so don’t be surprised to see Bill end up as a 65 to 70 mph storm before landfall.
Once inland, the structure will likely remain intact even over land. While the low level center may well dissipate, the NHC mentions that the mid and upper level portions of the storm could remain and this will result in a lot of rain for parts of east Texas and up through Oklahoma and beyond.
Take a look at the Weather Prediction Center’s five day precipitation forecast map. That incredible arc of rain literally rounds the western edge of the heat-ridge sitting over the Southeast right now, resulting in 100+ degree temps in many locations. Bill and its remnants will move up and over the top of this ridge and will likely bring periods of very heavy rain for thousands of miles after landfall. From a meteorological perspective, this will be fascinating to watch.
HurricaneTrack.com has a live feed from Bolivar Peninsula courtesy of one of our good friends and colleague, Kerry Mallory. He has the exact same set up as our “Tahoe Cam” in his Ford truck. We are streaming using our public Ustream feed and encourage you to tune in and monitor conditions from time to time along the vulnerable peninsula. This region was slammed by hurricane Ike in 2008 and the flat coastline, coupled with the shallow offshore water will result in some coastal flooding in this area. Once the center moves ashore later Tuesday, Kerry will continue the stream live as he heads back in to his hometown of Houston. While it looks as though the metro area will escape the worst of the rain, there seems to be plenty of it on the way regardless. We’ll keep the stream up for as long as Kerry is out and about and appreciate his efforts to show us what is going on there locally.
I’ll post more on Bill later in the day on Tuesday.
Link to live video (also showing over on the right hand column of this page): HurricaneTrack Live Video via Ustream
M. Sudduth 2:15 AM ET June 16