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Houston Weather Forecast Update

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

As we said earlier, Harvey has been downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm, but the rain is still falling and causing lots of problems, as we've been hearing. Joining us now is Eric Berger. He is a meteorologist of Space City Weather. Eric, thanks so much for joining us.

ERIC BERGER: Well, my pleasure.

MARTIN: How long do we expect this rainfall to continue?

BERGER: Well, that's kind of one of the big questions here. It looks like it's going to continue at least through about Tuesday and possibly into Wednesday or early Thursday for at least the greater Houston area because Harvey, you know, really isn't going to go anywhere.

MARTIN: Might it go somewhere from here? What happens now? I mean, we know that it's stalled, but is there the possibility that it might move elsewhere in the country? Or what can you - just give us - paint us a picture of what the next couple of days could be like?

BERGER: Sure. The next couple of days, it looks like Harvey's eventually going to get pulled southeastern. It may actually go over the Gulf of Mexico for a day or two, kind of the other shore. Not really concerned about it forming back into a hurricane or anything like that. I think it's just going to continue to be primarily a rainmaker as it's big threat. Eventually, it seems very likely to get pulled to the north, northeast and toward a trough of low pressure up there. And that will kind of accelerate it.

And so once it starts lifting out of Texas, you know, it's going to bring lots of rain probably to other parts of the country, but it's going to be moving through. So instead of like, you know, three or four days of heavy rainfall, you know, areas may see six to eight hours. And that should be hopefully manageable for the most part.

MARTIN: When can people expect floodwaters to recede?

BERGER: Well, Houston is set up pretty efficiently. I mean, we get lots of heavy rains down here. You know, it's right on the edge of the tropics, very near the warm Gulf of Mexico. So we're no strangers to tropical rainfall. And the city has an extensive set of bayous that drain us off, you know, but they're at their capacity or over their capacity when you get rains like these, especially days over days. When the rain stops, everything will drain out in 12 to 24 hours for the most part.

MARTIN: So what do the next few days look like for Houston? Is there any break in the weather coming?

BERGER: So we had some breaks today. In parts of the areas, we saw a little bit of dry air intrusions coming in, which helped out a little bit. But there's been kind of on and off pretty steady rainfall. The big concern tonight is that we're going to see these rain bands fatten up a little bit. We'll see some of the heavier rainfall rates that really overwhelm bayous and drainage systems. And that pattern could repeat itself, you know, Monday night, Tuesday night before, hopefully, we see some relief, you know, in the middle of next week.

MARTIN: I have about a minute left. Do you mind if I ask you, how are you doing? I mean, as a meteorologist, does this feel - I mean, this is a big test, I think, for people like you. On the one hand, people very much rely on your analysis. On the other hand, you hear people saying, I don't feel I was prepared for this. Can I just ask what this has been like for you, as briefly as you can?

BERGER: Sure. I mean, it's been exhausting. We've been tracking this threat since last Monday, when it became clear that something was coming into the Gulf, was going to stall and create a lot of moisture. And so, you know, meteorologists have families, too. We have to prepare our residences. We have to deal with rising floodwaters. You know, my wife and children were evacuated, you know, from a house this morning while I was trying to sort of put together the pieces of a forecast throughout the day. So it's, you know, it's challenging, but, you know, you try to rise to those challenges.

MARTIN: Well, thank you for that. That's Eric Berger of Space City Weather. he was speaking to us via Skype. Eric, thank you.

BERGER: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.