Excessive rainfall in Texas next several days with a focus on the Rio Grande

Meteorologist Paul Dorian

Excessive rainfall amounts over the next ten days or so will be centered over the state of Texas with a special focus in the Rio Grande border region between Texas and Mexico. Map courtesy ECMWF, Pivotal Weather


The central third of the nation will be the part of the country with the most rainfall in coming days and also the highest likelihood for severe weather.  An area of focus for the rainfall will be the state of Texas with a big concern for excessive amounts in the Texas/Mexico Rio Grande border region.  Severe weather including isolated tornadoes is a threat on Thursday from Kansas-to-Oklahoma and to the east of there across Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. Severe weather will remain as a threat in the same (central) part of the nation in coming days as well.

Severe weather threat exists Thursday/Thursday night across portions of the central US and the same part of the nation will be a threat zone on Friday and Saturday as well. Maps courtesy NOAA/Storm Prediction Center


The rain can be excessive over the next five-to-ten days across the Lone Star State of Texas with a specific focus likely over the Rio Grande border region between Texas and Mexico.  Multiple rounds of rain in coming days could easily produce 6-12 inch amounts leading to potential flooding issues along the Rio Grande.  One of the culprits of the active weather pattern over the central states will be the persistence of upper-level lows in the region from Baja California to central Mexico and this will contribute to the atmospheric instability over places like the Texas/Mexico Rio Grande border region. While the rain will be most intense across Texas in coming days, it will also be quite heavy across the eastern sections of the Rocky Mountain States and the western Plains. In fact, there can be flooding issues later Thursday and Thursday night across eastern Montana, eastern Wyoming and the northeastern part of Colorado…accumulating snow is also on the scene in some of the highest mountains of the Colorado Rockies where skiing will be quite good for many weeks to come.

In addition to a continuing influx of colder-than-normal air masses into the central US, another ingredient leading to unstable weather conditions in the foreseeable future will be persistent upper-level low across the region from Baja California to central Mexico. Maps courtesy NOAA, tropicaltidbits.com

Another ingredient to the very unsettled weather pattern in the central US will be the continuing influx of colder-than-normal air masses. These colder-than-normal air masses will clash with entranced warm, humid air across the Lower Mississippi Valley leading to an “atmospheric battle zone” region. This ingredient along with dry air at the surface (i.e., dry line) and strong upper-level jet streaks will likely lead to severe weather including tornadoes later Thursday and Thursday night with the main area of concern being “tornado alley” from Kansas-to-Oklahoma and a bit farther to the east of there from Louisiana and Arkansas into Mississippi. The greatest severe weather threat over the next couple of days will stay pretty much in the same parts of the country (i.e., the central US/Mississippi Valley).

An influx of colder-than-normal into the central US next week-to-ten days will generate a “battle ground” region as a “clash” develops between the colder, drier air to the west and the entrenched warm, humid air to the east. Map courtesy Canadian Met Centre, tropicaltidbits.com

Meteorologist Paul Dorian

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Joseph Zorzin
May 12, 2023 10:10 am

“colder-than-normal air masses”

I would think that weather persons and climate scientists should both stop using the word “normal”. I often hear TV weathermen say something like, “today will be 2 deg F warmer than normal.” But that implies there is a normal temperature for the day and anything else is abnormal. Maybe the could say “today will be 2 deg F warmer than the average for the past 20 years”. At least that might be technically correct. The use of the word “normal” seems like a value judgement.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 12, 2023 11:08 am

It’s one of my pet peeves. Especially, if you look back over history and see one huge spike that has moved the ‘normal’, like the recent rainfall in Californication. That rainfall will be averaged into all the previous numbers, and next year they will be talking about a ‘new normal’, another stupid word. There WILL be a new average, there will NOT be a new normal.
Animals have normal temperatures. Places do not.

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Reply to  jshotsky
May 12, 2023 11:21 am

There is too much natural variation in the weather. If a day is 2 degrees warmer than the running average for that date and location, that is hardly not normal. It is extraordinarily normal.

Reply to  jshotsky
May 12, 2023 5:30 pm

Whenever the Bureau issues these “X higher than average” statements, I mutter under my breath, but is it higher than average for a sunny day, since the average is made up of many days that were not sunny. So the average is rather meaningless unless you think every day should be an exact replay of the myriad of weather effects that occurred over the last century somehow mixed up and spread across the current day.

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Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 12, 2023 11:17 am

Yep, that’s my grip. I never minded so much until the global warming hype and especially the phantom extreme weather menace.

When we describe normal weather as not normal, or outside of normal, colder than normal, it implies something is wrong. It’s not. Normal is a range. Average is far different from normal.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 12, 2023 1:22 pm

 If one wants to comment on weather one should learn what “normal” means in these contexts.
The author used the lower-case “normal” so “average” of something is implied. The problem is, what was averaged?
If the author used “Climate Normals” {note the CAPS}, then the current definition is an average of the readings from 1991 to 2020. The purpose of this usage is so people do know what has been averaged.
There is nothing wrong with the usage if people follow the conventions. Somewhat similar to the score of “Love” in tennis. Tennis people don’t complain about such odd usage, because they are pros.

This has come up about once every three months since 2008.

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Reply to  John Hultquist
May 12, 2023 2:02 pm

But the weather is not abnormal. It is normal. Period.

Now I understand your point. I’m not going to correct my neighbors or the guy I chatted with waiting in line at Walmart. But meteorologists are scientists. They should be more precise. I’m not talking about some weather dude who majored in broadcast journalism or a communications major.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  John Hultquist
May 13, 2023 4:30 am

“Somewhat similar to the score of “Love” in tennis.”

I always cringe when I hear that. I can only wonder the derivation.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 12, 2023 2:19 pm

If I’m not mistaken a 30 year average was defined as “normal” back in the 1920’s because they didn’t have reliable records going back further back then.
They still use a set 3 decade “jumps” average, rather than the last 30 years, to define “normal”.
(We now could use a 6 decade average to define “normal” but the standard has been in place a long time.)

Bryan A
May 12, 2023 10:15 am

Rain, yea, wash the Rio Grande clear of debris

Reply to  Bryan A
May 12, 2023 10:32 am

was there some subtle other meaning there?

Tom Halla
May 12, 2023 10:19 am

It has been rather dry in Texas recently, and I wonder if the shift in weather is related to the ENSO cycle changing.

John Oliver
May 12, 2023 10:21 am

Of course the solution to non “normal” temperature is to cram the entire 3rd world population below 30 degrees north ( how many billions of people is that?)into the United States.

John Aqua
May 12, 2023 10:52 am

I see Climate Change is affecting Texas this next week. <sarc>

Kit P
May 12, 2023 10:55 am

Barely news worthy. I travel by motor and the weather in that area has to be watched closely. Freezing rain was predicted for my path through Texas. I waited a few days in New Mexico where is was sunny.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Kit P
May 12, 2023 11:39 am

I take it you are not in to storm chasing, which is a hobby among some living in Tornado Alley who like to live dangerously. (It’s been said that no outdoor sporting hobby is any good unless it can totally scare the hell out of you from time to time.)

On the other hand, sometimes you are just driving down a highway and a completely unexpected cyclone appears. Relatives who live near Austin tell me this one came out of nowhere with next to no warning:

03-21-2022 Elgin, TX – Red Truck takes a ride in a tornado and drives away

Kit P
Reply to  Beta Blocker
May 12, 2023 4:19 pm

I am into storm hiding but is kind of like sheltering from a nuclear bomb. You do not want the flying glass to kill you.

At nuke plants we sheltered in building designed for tornadoes and sometimes will not let you leave. One time we had a near miss. One of the operators went home after his shift and his house was gone. His family was out of town.

In college I thought was safe in the basement of a 4 story brick building. The next day went over to the town that got hit. The landmark court house was gone. Only things that remained were the public restroom stalls ans a sign stating the capacity of the civil defense shelter.

Not even any liter. It was like a giant vacuum was there.

I was driving home early from a nuke plant in the fall. It got dark suddenly, then I could not see anything so I stopped in the middle of the road. My old Lincoln bounced around for what seemed like like a long time and then it was light again.

The warning was issued after it was sighted. Just a freak thing.

Last trip through Texas there was tornado in Shreveport on the road I drove. I was not driving. We were watching the weather and discussing the best the best place to shelter.

For those not familiar with Texas it is a big state with different climates. On this trip I broke a fan belt 100 miles east of El Paso with closest town services 40 miles further east. Also blew a tire and had a water pump go out about 100 miles from El Paso but on different trips.

Going west this trip, blew a tire 50 miles into Texas. When the failed it took some other things like a fuel filter.

So by the got to Amarillo, my weather planning was getting tight with snow followed by blowing dust if I lost anymore time.

Reply to  Kit P
May 16, 2023 10:47 am

Did you mean motorcycle?

May 12, 2023 11:14 am

Define “excessive.” Greater than average for the date? Everybody needs a good frog-choker from time to time.

May 12, 2023 11:16 am

We in Texas are grateful for any rain we get. My little place has had three consecutive years of scant rain–0nly 17 inches last year. Five inches in the past week has almost topped out the tanks, and some more during the next week will be welcomed. Unfortunately, it seems to be the “tradition” here in Texas of drought breaking floods. Of course, flooding along the Rio Grande could be god’s way of helping out with the emigration insanity the border communities have been going through the past 2 years.

Reply to  jvcstone
May 13, 2023 7:25 am

Another 2+ inches over night–loving it.

Rud Istvan
May 12, 2023 12:31 pm

First California, now Texas.
Cold and wet is just weather.
Hot and dry is labeled alarming climate change even tho still just weather.

May 12, 2023 1:16 pm

Border control.

May 12, 2023 3:32 pm

“It’s flooding time in Texas”.

Nick Graves
Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
May 13, 2023 1:31 am

I wonder why Stevie Ray Vaughan wrote ‘Texas Flood’ if it’s never happened before…

Gonna dig that one out, now.

May 12, 2023 7:47 pm

I live in Temple, TX (Bell County, Central Texas). It was been a very wet spring. Last year the lawn suffered from the summer drought and then the winter ice storms and freezes. Trying to get the grass to come back but it is too wet and worse, all the rain has kept temperatures below normal so warm temperature grasses like Bermuda and St. Augustine are struggling. And I sure don’t want to fertilize the lawn because the heavy rain will just wash it away.

I just hope we don’t get all our rain now and nothing at all in July and August.

Reply to  BenVincent
May 16, 2023 10:52 am

Round up (Texas is good at that, isn’t it?) a few dozen of the interlopers to fertilize that lawn!

May 13, 2023 3:59 am

if it stops illegal crossings then thats a good thing surely?

Reply to  ozspeaksup
May 15, 2023 1:36 pm

Mother Nature’s Remain in Mexico policy.

Ireneusz Palmowski
May 13, 2023 11:38 pm

The formation of the long-dormant Tulare Lake was the product of an extraordinarily wet winter, culminating with a series of big storms in March.

The basin’s many dams, canals, levees and ditches normally contain the water that runs out of the Sierra and into the valley, but this year it was too much. The lakebed, which is mostly farmland with the exception of a few communities like Corcoran, has subsequently flooded. Earlier this month, more than 100,000 acres was under water.

Ireneusz Palmowski
May 14, 2023 8:38 am
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