Tropical Storm Edouard strengthened overnight to a 65 mph system, and made the previously discussed northwest turn. As a result, Edouard’s center is about to come ashore near the Texas/Louisiana border.
Because of this “right turn,” it appears the Houston-Galveston area will be spared the worst of the storm, causing many residents there to wonder what all the fuss was about. Track-wise, this is a bit like Rita Redux, though Edouard’s intensity is of course far less. [UPDATE/CORRECTION: Eric Berger writes, “Edouard’s turn is only to the west-northwest rather than more northerly like Rita, meaning as the storm comes inland it still should pass across the Houston area. … [M]ost parts of the Houston metro area should get considerably more rain than came during Hurricane Rita.”]
Meanwhile, the more northward track means that Edouard may not bring as much rain as hoped to the most drought-stricken areas of central Texas. Nevertheless, heavy rain will be the storm’s biggest impact. Wind damage will be minimal.
That said, the National Hurricane Center’s 5:00 AM EDT discussion says Edouard may yet strengthen a bit more in its final hours over the Gulf:
THE SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA COASTAL WATERS HAVE A VERY HIGH SKIN TEMPERATURE BUT DO NOT HAVE A PARTICULARLY HIGH OCEANIC HEAT CONTENT. WATER VAPOR ANIMATION SUGGESTS THAT THE VERTICAL SHEAR IS DECREASING AND UPPER-LEVEL OUTFLOW IS INCREASING SO DYNAMICAL CONDITIONS APPEAR CONDUCIVE FOR SOME ADDITIONAL INTENSIFICATION IN THE SHORT TIME REMAINING BEFORE LANDFALL. EDOUARD MIGHT STILL BECOME A HURRICANE BEFORE CROSSING THE COAST BUT…AS NOTED EARLIER…THERE IS LITTLE PRACTICAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STRONG TROPICAL STORM AND A LOW-END HURRICANE.
This will probably be my last full update until midday. However, I’m sure the Houston Chronicle‘s Eric Berger will have storm coverage throughout the day, as will the Chronicle‘s staff hurricane blog. And here’s a live radar loop of Edouard, which will stay current all day: