|Beach Washing Away at SPI
More Coastal Flooding and Dangerous Surf through Saturday
Water levels beach side were impressive just after sunrise on the 12th, with local residents mentioning that in some areas conditions were worse than Rita, the most recent tidal benchmark. Estimated water levels were at least 5 feet above normal as of 9 AM, as the tide eased through at least five private and public beach access points along Gulf Boulevard, dumping some water onto the road. As of this writing, most structures were protected by either high dunes or the sea wall, though some water did make it over the sea wall in a few spots, putting water onto at least one pool deck. However, tide values may have risen a bit further since 1030 AM, so updates will be provided as updated information is received. Beach Access 3 and 4 just north of the resort area had water in the road; at access 4, the water rippled from beach to bay. It was suspected that more significant flooding had occurred at Beach Access 5 and 6. As of mid afternoon, despite a lowering of predicted tides, the actual tide levels were about the same as they were during the astronomical high tides earlier Friday morning. In fact, as of 7 PM, tide departures continued to climb even as low tide approached, with values at least 2.6 feet above predicted levels.
Waves by the jetty at Isla Blanca Part drew a large crowd of seasoned surfers, and fortunately conditions across the inner waters appeared to be conducive to a good surfing day. Sure enough, spaced sets of towering waves (by Gulf standards) developed every five minutes or so, including some estimated to be more than 12 feet. The worst news, of course, is the significant beach erosion that will largely finish a summer which began promising, but was derailed by Dolly and further hurt by Gustav. Beach erosion due to powerful waves has already run through two high tide cycles, and will likely run a third on the morning of the 13th, as southwest to south flow behind what should be a more northward moving Ike through east Texas locks up water at the coast, along with continued very rough surf. There's always next summer, at least.
Conditions could become more interesting well after Ike has passed. Data are suggesting that Ike will leave an area of disturbed weather in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere, while dragging the first cool front through Texas, probably reaching south Texas before stalling early next week. Additional waves of energy aloft, combining with a low level influx of deep tropical moisture, all interacting with the dissipating front, could spell a number of days of rain next week, some locally heavy. Given that much of the Valley remains close to saturation following a wet July and August, additional heavy rains could become the much bigger weather story for Deep South Texas and the Lower RGV. Stay tuned for continuous updates.
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