As Valley boils, Tropical Storm Bret emerges

HARLINGEN — A strong high-pressure system over Deep South Texas is expected to continue in place this week, delivering daily high temperatures from the low to mid-90s on the coast to plus-105 inland.

The second named Atlantic storm of the season, Tropical Storm Bret, formed off Guyana yesterday afternoon. Bret should stay far from the Valley, and is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Wednesday.

National Weather Service forecasters yesterday issued a heat alert for all of the Rio Grande Valley, saying heat index values were between 103 and 109 degrees. Those daily heat alerts are likely to continue until the weekend.

The alert area covered Cameron, Willacy, Hidalgo, Starr, Brooks, Zapata, Jim Hogg and Kenedy counties, although separate alerts were issued elsewhere in Texas.

“We’re going to have quite a hot week in store, continuing through the weekend,” said Joshua Schroeder, science and operations officer for the National Weather Service in Brownsville.

“It looks like we’re going to end up on the dry and hot side, depending on what tropical feature might develop out in the gulf,” Schroeder said yesterday.

An area of disturbed weather called Invest 93 in the gulf just north of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico is being watched by forecasters for possible strengthening.

“There’s one developing just north of the Yucatan and one much farther south and east across the Leeward Islands that’s going to be moving to the north coast of South America over the next couple of days, Schroeder said. “That one won’t have any effect on us.”

But Invest 93 bears watching more closely, even though its track at this point would seem to be northward and far to the east of the Texas Gulf Coast.

“It still comes with some uncertainty because it hasn’t actually formed what we call a closed circle or spin yet but indications are it’s trending toward that with the system moving toward Louisiana or the far southeast Texas coast,” Schroder said.

If Invest 93 spins up into a tropical storm, it would be named Cindy.

“Right now the primary impacts we would see immediately would be in marine areas with elevated seas coming in as soon as tomorrow afternoon,” Schroeder added. “Rip current risks will be increasing for the next several days as well.”

The high temperatures are combining with dew points in the 60s and 70s to produce the readings in the heat index, also known as the feels-like temperature.

People planning on outdoor activities today should hydrate, wear lightweight and light-colored clothing, and take frequent breaks from the heat.

Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles, but this is especially true during warm or hot weather when car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes.

Temperatures for the rest of the week will range from the mid-90s along the coast to as high as 108 degrees in the Upper Valley, forecasters say.

“And there’s no real relief in sight until maybe this weekend,” Schroeder added. “If we get a little cloud coverage, maybe it will be a few degrees cooler.”|

From Wednesday through Friday, there will be a 20 percent change of thunderstorms each day.