Why Texans Need To Watch Tropical Depression Harvey

11:05 AM CDT | August 23, 2017

Harvey is organizing in the Gulf of Mexico this morning. The National Hurricane Center found a closed circulation and upgraded Harvey to a tropical depression at 10:00 AM today. Hurricane and Storm Surge Watches have been issued for portions of the Texas Coast. This is the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center. There is still uncertainty with regards to its track, so the “cone of uncertainty” is fairly large at this time.

This is a recent loop of Tropical Depression Harvey, courtesy of NASA’s new GOES-16 satellite. As noted on the Facebook page this morning, you can see towering cumulus forming in and around the circulation. These strong storms are indicative of a strengthening system. The NHC noted that its structure is asymmetrical right now. This may prevent rapid strengthening in the short-term; however, once its structure improves, I personally would not rule out the possibility for a period of rapid intensification given the environment.

As far as its track, a weakness in the ridge will allow for a motion toward the northwest or north-northwest over the next couple of days. Thursday night and Friday is when the models start to disagree on where it is likely to track. Steering winds will weaken, and it will slow as it nears the northwest gulf coast. This makes for a challenging forecast Friday and this weekend. This is illustrated well with this morning’s hurricane models. It should be noted that, while the majority show it breaking right, a few show it breaking left. The official forecast by the National Hurricane Center is the solid red line.

Harvey’s slow-moving nature means that heavy rain, flooding, and storm surge will be great concerns, in addition to damaging winds. Those along and near the northwest gulf coast should closely monitor their local forecasts and prepare accordingly. Periodic updates will continue to be posted on the blog, so be sure to check back.