We are continuing to monitor the development of now Tropical Depression Cristobal. Currently, Cristobal continues to be inland over the Mexico/Guatemala border moving in the easterly direction. The National Hurricane Center 10:00 AM forecast shows TD Cristobal starting to move in a more northerly direction later today. As it approaches the open waters of the Gulf, the forecast shows TD Cristobal regaining Tropical Storm strength by Saturday. There continues to be some uncertainty in the overall path and impacts of Cristobal, but over the past 24 hours, the National Hurricane Center has focused their forecasts showing Cristobal reaching the Louisiana Coastline Sunday night into Monday Morning.
Although we cannot specifically rule out impacts to Southeast Texas, the current path could mean minimal impacts to Fort Bend County and the Brazos River Watershed. The most severe weather, including heavy rain, would be on the “wet” or right side of the storm’s center. Like the NWS and WGRFC has continually said, there continues to be some uncertainty in the exact track. Once Cristobal re-enters the Gulf, we should get a clearer picture, but for now, we sit, watch, and hope for the best. Based on the current forecasts, Watersheds in East Texas could see some minor River Flooding early next week.
Assuming the current track does not significantly shift, the NWS Quantitative Precipitation Forecast includes both rainfall associated with Cristobal as well as rainfall not directly associated with the storm. Based on the forecast, the most severe rainfall is located over portions of the Gulf Coast, east of Texas. Based on the 7-Day QPF, the lower Brazos River could see less than ½ inch over the next 7 days. These rainfall amounts could change based on the actual development and path of Cristobal.
Based on the amount of rainfall received on Wednesday, we did see the Brazos River in Richmond flatten out; however, as of this morning the Brazos River from Hempstead to Rosharon continues to fall. By the weekend, levels should be at or slightly below our historical average for this time of the year.
We will continue to monitor the development of this system and provide updates. We encourage everyone to continue to monitor the forecasts published by the National Hurricane Center and stay informed through the Houston/Galveston NWS Office, the West Gulf River Forecast Center, and the Fort Bend County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
If you do not follow the West Gulf River Forecast Center on Social Media, you missed a great graphic on the we focus so heavily on storm intensities. We hate to see large volumes of rainfall in the forecast, but it all depends on the duration. Many times the public focuses on the volume which may not tell the whole story on impacts. In WGRFC example, they used the same 4 inches of total rainfall but graphically showed the differences between 4 inches falling with an intensity of 0.5 inches/hour and 3 inches per hour.