Southern Texas is at risk of flash flooding as Tropical Storm Lidia gathers strength in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
Tropical Storm Lidia is brewing in the eastern Pacific and heading northeast toward Mexico at 6 miles per hour. The storm is expected to strengthen and begin a faster track later today and into Tuesday, according to the most recent update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Forecasts show the storm passing through Las Islas Maries on Tuesday and moving inland over west-central Mexico Tuesday night.
After it barrels through Mexico, forecasts show the storm continuing through southern Texas.
Texas could pose to benefit from a slew of heavy rain, as severe drought has plagued the Lonestar State all summer. The U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that more than 93 percent of the state is battling dry conditions, with 12 percent of the state suffering from exceptional drought, the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) most severe classification for drought.
However, the drought also could exacerbate the risk of flash floods since the soil is too dry to absorb excessive amounts of precipitation.
AccuWeather meteorologist Alex DaSilva told Newsweek that some moisture from Lidia will be wrung out as the storm moves through the mountains in central Mexico.
“Some of it will make it over the mountains and can impact southern Texas,” DaSilva said. “The ground is so dry that it initially can be hard to absorb some of the water. If you get a lot of rain, it can run off and cause some flooding issues.”
DaSilva expects the storm to dump 1 to 2 inches of rain on southern Texas.
NHC forecasters are already warning of heavy rains associated with the storm, and the most recent public advisory warned that Lidia will likely produce flash and urban flooding. Much of the risk is centered on Mexico, but the National Weather Service (NWS) said southern Texas also could be at risk from heavy rains as the storm continues toward the state in the coming days.
“Heavy to excessive rain ahead of Hurricane Lidia in the eastern Pacific may bring a risk of flooding to south Texas late Tuesday into Wednesday,” the NWS posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday morning.
The NWS included an image of the United States with the post showing where rain and flash flooding was expected. Southern Texas and the southern half of Louisiana are forecast to receive rain from the storm. The highest risks for flash flooding are centered in the southern tip of Texas.
Louisiana also is suffering from drought, but the NWS doesn’t forecast flash flood risks for that area.
As of Monday morning, maximum sustained wind speeds for Tropical Storm Lidia were near 65 miles per hour, and the NHC expects the storm to be classified as a hurricane by the time it nears Las Islas Marias. Storms must have sustained wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour to be categorized as a hurricane.