Will Hurricane Irma Hit Houston, Too?
Have you seen this picture floating around?
It’s fake. Update: This post has finally been taken down. It’s good to see professional forecasters debunking this kind of thing. I can think of no better, than Doug Delony of KHOU. You may remember their studios flooded while they were bringing the residents of Houston vital updates on the storm.
Even knowing that someone made this to scare folks (in an effort to get more shares or clicks I’m sure), it’s still a terrifying image. The last thing that Southeast Texas needs is another hurricane. And, while an accurate prediction of a hurricanes path this far out is all but impossible – it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Houston is safe from this particular storm.
When weather professionals try to forecast the path one of these destructive storms, they rely on complex computer programs that take an almost incalculable amount of variables into account. Because of these variables, it makes the prediction more and more inaccurate the further out it is made. Here is what a long-term forecast map for Hurricane Irma should actually look like:
Major Hurricane Irma now … I'd be surprised if storm didn't become Cat 5 during next 5-7 days. Many EPS ensembles are very intense. pic.twitter.com/EyjSojsG6r
— Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) August 31, 2017
Even though the map that shows one path for Irma straight to Houston was most likely made for scaremongering reasons – it might not be technically wrong. As you can see, it is entirely possible for this storm to impact the areas that were hit by Harvey. In most cases, a hurricane of this size will cause a lot of trouble wherever it lands – but if it comes ashore on the already flooded Gulf Coast, it will be devastating.
The only silver lining in this hypothetical situation would be that the flooded areas are already being evacuated because of Harvey’s destruction. Make no mistake, the 2017 hurricane season is one of the worst so far, and it’s not over until November 30th. With roughly 3 months to go – we may see quite a few bad storms before the year is up.