Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Bill makes landfall - how will it affect Mid-South weather this week?

Shortly before noon, Tropical Storm Bill made landfall on the Texas coast at Matagorda Island. This was the second tropical storm of the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season and the second land-falling system, following Ana which struck the U.S. near the North/South Carolina border in mid-May.

Maximum wind in Bill was around 60 mph at landfall, but the bigger threat with this tropical low is copious amounts of precipitation and resultant flooding that is expected in eastern TX and perhaps into far eastern OK and western AR. Rainfall totals of 4-8" will be common, with locally higher amounts, along the path of the low as it moves north.

Visible satellite loop during the day Tuesday as Bill makes landfall on the middle TX coast.

Precipitation forecast through Friday morning as Bill moves north, then turns east towards the Ohio Valley by Friday.
So where does Bill go now and what effect does it have on Mid-South weather?

The track from the National Hurricane Center take the storm just east of Austin and over Fort Worth on Wednesday, then southeast of Oklahoma City and over the Ozarks on Thursday. By Friday, the remnant low moves across southern MO and then over southern IL on Friday night.

Forecast track for Bill as of 1pm Tuesday.
This forecast track is the result of a broad area of high pressure over the southeastern U.S., around which the low will track. The Mid-South remains under the influence of this hot high pressure system, and thus will receive only indirect impacts from Bill. The most likely time for Bill's impacts in the metro is Friday.

As it passes through southern MO on Friday, showers and thunderstorms will be possible across the area, including the metro. In addition, wind will pick up with some gusts to 20-30 mph possible, especially in AR. A few storms could be strong with high wind being the main threat. There will also be a potential for flash flooding, though that hazard will mainly impact areas closer to the center of the low, north of the metro. Heavy downpours will be possible locally as well, due to the amount of moisture in place ahead of the system and the tropical moisture escorted into the area by the low.

In the meantime, plan for only widely scattered showers or thunderstorms and a lot of heat! Temperatures will be into the 90s the next couple of days with heat indices near 100.  See our heat safety tips below that are worth reviewing, and practicing, during these hot June days. Unfortunately, it appears the heat will continue through the weekend and well into next week. Stay cool!

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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