El Niños bring cool, wet weather in Texas by blowing persistent and extended Pacific jet stream across the state. While this helps kill off hurricanes, it amplifies storm tracks across the southwest and Texas bringing more rain into the Lone Star State — up to a foot or more on average. And this El Niño has been particularly strong.
However, the real culprit behind the recent flooding was a weak low pressure sauntering across the state, sucking in sea-level moisture from the Gulf. Weather Underground says the low is going to “trudge toward central and eastern Texas by Friday, then stall out before drifting southwest” when it will likely be dragged off by another weather front this weekend. Only then will Texas get a chance to dry out. It may not last long as NOAA forecasts more precipitation moving back into the state from the Gulf by next Sunday.
In the past week, parts of Texas and Oklahoma have received daily rainfalls of 7 to 11 inches —something like 400 to 600% ABOVE NORMAL. The US Geological Services reports flooding in all of Texas’s major river basins. At least three reservoirs are forced to release water due to exceptionally high levels.
Over the next thirty days, southeastern Texas will probably face cooler than average weather and elevated chances for heavy rainfall primarily along Gulf. With soil already saturated, it looks like many parts of Texas could remain soggy through Independence Day.
Apart from inconvenient outages this year’s flooding is unlikely to have an immediate affect on electricity rates. However, since there has been damage to transmission lines, there could be restoration costs that could be passed on in part to customers (see SECURITIZATION FOR RECOVERY OF SYSTEM RESTORATION COSTS). This expense would show up as future bill surcharges and would be shared by all customers of the effected TDSPs.
Meanwhile, this El Niño is predicted to run of steam. The first signs are already present. In May, a band of cooler water surfaced in the Pacific Ocean at the equator. As more sea surface water cools, the more the El Niño fades, shutting down the rain-maker express. The trouble is that as El Niño fades, its high level eastward-blowing winds will slacken. And it’s these winds that suppress hurricane formation in the Atlantic.
Yep, it’s never dull in Texas! Stay tuned!