Extreme rainfall, with storm total precipitation exceeding 500 mm, occurs several times per decade in Texas. According to a compositing analysis, the large-scale weather patterns associated with extreme rainfall events involve a northward deflection of the tropical trade winds into Texas, with deep southerly winds extending into the middle troposphere. One such event, the July 2002 South-Central Texas flood, is examined in detail. This particular event was associated with a stationary upper-level trough over central Texas and northern Mexico that established a steady influx of tropical moisture from the south. While the onset of the event was triggered by destabilization caused by an upper-level vortex moving over the northeast Mexican coast, a succession of upper-level processes allowed the event to become stationary over south-central Texas and produce heavy rain for several days. While the large-scale signatures of such extreme rain events evolve slowly, the many interacting processes at smaller scales make numerical forecasts highly sensitive to details of the simulations.
Nielsen-Gammon, J. W., F. Zhang, A. M. Odins, and B. Myoung, 2005: Extreme rainfall in Texas: Patterns and predictability. Phys. Geog., 26, 340-364. DOI: 10.2747/0272-36188.8.131.520
Taylor & Francis