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Tropical rains assail Texas as Gulf system approaches

Rain showers could bring an additional 2.5 to 5 inches of rain to a broad area of the coastal plains including the Rio Grande Valley and the Texas Coastal Bend.

Heavy tropical rain showers continued to fall across large areas of coastal Texas over the weekend causing localized flooding and high water in parts of Deep South Texas. The National Weather Service in Brownsville extended an arroyo and stream flood advisory for much of South Texas well into Monday's daylight hours.

Continued rain Monday and more heavy showers associated with a tropical wave moving westward across the Gulf of Mexico expected to arrive late Monday or Tuesday will likely bring more heavy rains and additional flooding in low lying areas in the days ahead.

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On Saturday South Texas received as much as 4.5 inches of rain around Falfurrias and nearly 3 inches in parts of Harlingen. With amounts as high as 4 or more inches falling across the Valley Sunday, NWS officials report that at 8 p.m. river gauge data indicated the Arroyo Colorado had reached 13.8 feet flood stage at Harlingen and would probably peak Monday near 15 feet, depending on the extent of  additional showers in the days ahead.

In Kingsville nearly 4 inches of rain was recorded Saturday with additional amounts near 4 inches on Sunday. In Corpus Christi, up to 2 inches of rain fell across parts of the South side of the city and nearly 5 inches farther south on nearby Padre Island and near Hebbronville over the weekend. Sarita received nearly 7 inches over the last two days.

Coastal Bend rain variable

In the middle Coastal Bend rain showers fell heavily over Sea Drift and north up the coast to Lake Jackson and produced varying amounts from less than an inch up to four inches rain over the last week as far northeast as Beaumont. 

For more than month seasonal showers have erupted up and down the Texas coast and extended in some instances into Central and West-central Texas bringing more abundant thunderstorms to parched fields and drought stricken farms and ranches in the Hill Country.

A month later spotty and abnormally heavy seasonal showers in September brought even more heavy downpours to areas of the South and Central Texas coastline, including the Lower Rio Grande Valley and much of the Texas Coastal Bend. For the first time in several years many farmers are voicing concern that the stubborn rains have not only delayed late season cotton harvesting operations in the south but also kept many farmers out of their fields as far north as where the Brazos River connects with the coastal bay system.

Overall, South Texas farmers and ranchers have been smiling over the prospect of good winter wheat and grasses from renewed ground moisture; some who recently harvested the last of their cotton in the Valley need to get back into their fields to remove stubble to conform to boll weevil eradication requirements and deadlines.

Little relief is likely. Monday and Tuesday could see more heavy rains from that tropical wave moving westward in the Gulf and expected to reach the coast sometime late Monday or Tuesday.

NWS forecasters in Corpus Christi and Brownsville say locally heavy rains could quickly flood roadways, and low lying areas are more at risk because of already saturated conditions, especially across South Texas.

This Gulf disturbance should eventually move on to land on the northern coast of Mexico late Monday or most likely early Tuesday, enhancing shower and thunderstorm activity on both sides of the border. Heavy flooding is possible in isolated areas.

High risk areas

The highest risk of heavy thunderstorms will come south of the I-10 corridor and east of the I-35 corridor, which includes Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christ, McAllen and Brownsville.

Weather analysts say it is possible that the disturbance could briefly organize itself into a tropical depression or even a weak tropical storm before landfall, but continued wind sheer over the warm Gulf from the north will likely prevent additional development. None-the-less, rain showers could bring an additional 2.5 to 5 inches of rain to a broad area of the coastal plains including the Rio Grande Valley and the Texas Coastal Bend.

Meanwhile, the NWS in Amarillo is warning that heavy rains associated with the remnants of Hurricane Odile in the Pacific will reach across New Mexico and could drop significant rains on part of the Texas Panhandle and Western Oklahoma before the end of the week.

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