Weather during the last half of July is often fairly benign in Galveston County. Weather systems over the country tend to be quite sluggish this time of year, with persistent high pressure and minimal impact from frontal systems that tend to stall to our north. So, barring the occasional tropical system, mid to late July tends to be characterized by hot, mostly sunny afternoons with only widely scattered afternoon or early morning thundershowers.
This is exactly what we will probably see over the coming 6-7 days, as surface low pressure extends west across the Gulf of Mexico and a large upper-level high remains anchored over the western 2/3 of the country. The gusty winds of the past day or two should subside as well as high pressure exerts its influence.
Looking further down the road, a low pressure trough may develop over the East late this weekend as the high pressure ridge in the West amplifies. This could provide enough support to allow a weak cold front to move into East Texas, possibly setting off showers and thunderstorms over Southeast Texas.
As for the Tropics, despite an active eastern Pacific, the Atlantic Basin remains quiet with intermediate term models suggesting that this lull will continue for at least a couple of weeks more.
Speaking of the Tropics, I must mention that Category 1 Hurricane Debra made landfall near Freeport on this day in 1959. The system, which rapidly developed from a disturbance in the northwest Gulf of Mexico, caused widespread, but relatively minor damage in Galveston where 59-mph sustained winds and 85-mph gusts were observed. Tides in Galveston generally ran about 5 feet above normal levels, while a 7.9 foot tide at Morgan’s Point on Galveston Bay, resulted in a little more serious flooding in that area. At any rate, Debra is a good reminder that storms can develop quite rapidly in the Gulf, given the right conditions.