COLLEGE STATION, June 21, 2017 – It doesn’t take a hurricane to cause problems from a storm, and many residents along the Gulf Coast may be about to find that out the hard way. Tropical Storm Cindy, formed just a few days ago, is expected to make landfall Thursday and it could bring a strong punch despite its non-hurricane status, says a Texas A&M University expert.
Robert Korty, associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Texas A&M and a severe storms expert, says Cindy could still have a major impact, despite maximum winds of only 45 to 50 miles per hour.
“The biggest threat from this tropical storm is likely to be heavy rain. It isn’t moving fast, and it has a large area of thunderstorms on its eastern side, so rain totals could reach as high as 10 inches in localized pockets,” explains Korty.
“I don’t expect much heavy weather to the west of where its center passes, so if the current forecast holds I think we are unlikely to see much in this area other than the possibility of some rain. Louisiana and states farther east should get some good rain totals from this.”
Cindy may be remembered best for when she formed.
It is not every year that tropical storms develop in June, and this is very early in the season for the third named storm to have formed.
Even rarer is when two tropical storms form at the same time. Tropical Storm Bret formed about the same time as Cindy and it is now making its way through the Caribbean. That marks only the third time in the last 100 years that two Atlantic storms existed at the same time in the month of June – in 1909, 1959 and 1968 according to weather records.
With Texas experiencing another mild winter and warm spring, water temperatures in the Gulf could be a concern.
“Water temperatures across most of the tropical Atlantic are running a little warmer than average, which may help this season be more active than average,” says Korty.
“However, they are actually running slightly cooler than usual in the northern Gulf. We do not expect Cindy to become a hurricane. The storm will continue to face strong wind shear between now and the time it reaches the Texas and Louisiana coast.
The last hurricane to hit Texas was Ike, which killed 74 people in the state, caused $30 billion in damage and ruined the lives of thousands and it was only a Category 2 storm when it hit on Sept. 13 of 2008.