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Tropical disturbance could be big rainmaker for drought plagued South Texas

National Hurricane Center

The National Hurricane Center has labeled a disturbance in the lower Gulf of Mexico "Potential Tropical Cyclone One."

The National Weather Service (NWS) defines a "potential tropical cyclone" as "a disturbance that is not yet a tropical cyclone, but which poses the threat of bringing tropical storm or hurricane conditions to land areas within 48 hours."

All of South Texas can now expect rain and potential flooding this week.

The NWS issued a flood watch for Bexar and surrounding counties for Wednesday and Thursday. It also increased anticipated rainfall amounts to two to five inches for the San Antonio area by Friday.

Up to eight inches was expected in some isolated spots during that same time.

The Wednesday and Thursday afternoon rush hours and Thursday morning rush hour could be hazardous due to flooded low water crossings.

Rain and clouds will cool daytime highs into the 80s through Friday.

Light rain drenched San Antonio by midday Tuesday. More waves of rain were expected through Wednesday.

The tropics may be the region's only hope for any rain as a mostly hot and dry summer continues. August and September tend to be the more active months for tropical disturbances to approach the Texas coast.

Drought conditions are now moderate in Bexar County, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, after El Niño conditions resulted in a slightly wetter start to the year here. But the city has been slipping — it is now an inch below the year-to-date rainfall average at San Antonio International Airport.

San Antonio residents remain under Stage 2 water restrictions, only allowed to water by automatic sprinkler once a week based on street address.

Permitted water pumpers from the Edwards Aquifer have been placed under Stage 4 water restrictions by the authority that manages it. Their pumping has been reduced by 40%. Historical first-ever Stage 5 water restrictions could be coming if rain does not trickle into the aquifer's recharge zone soon.

One added benefit of the current disturbance in question is the thick cloud cover it was expected to produce by mid-week over South Texas. Highs will remain in the 80s Wednesday through Friday before warming again.

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