He’s back. And he’s packing a lot of rain.
Harvey, a tropical storm that fizzled over the weekend as it crossed the Caribbean Sea, regained intensity Wednesday and flowered into a very wet tropical depression as it crossed the warm waters in the Bay of Campeche. National Hurricane Center forecasters said in a morning advisory that sustained winds topped 35 mph as the depression headed to the northwest at about 9 mph.
The storm was located about 535 miles southeast of Port O’Connor, triggering hurricane and storm surge watches from the south Texas coast to north of Houston.
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Over the next two days, the storm could continue to gain intensity and become a hurricane before it reaches the Texas coast, forecasters said said. On Saturday, after they downgraded Harvey to a tropical wave off the coast of the Yucatan, they warned that the system could rekindle.
A tropical wave hovering over South Florida is expected to continue drenching the region, Miami meteorologists with the National Weather Service said early Wednesday. The heaviest rains will likely occur Thursday and Friday and could continue into Saturday. Southeast Florida will likely get the heaviest rain, with four to six inches possible.
Along the Texas coast, storm surge could reach between four and six feet if the storm arrives at high tide, forecasters said. The deepest waters will likely occur along the coast, to the northeast of the storm where high winds are expected to churn up high waves.
Heavy, intense rain is also expected, with forecasters calling for 10 to 15 inches and isolated amounts of up to 20 inches over the middle and upper Texas coast and parts of Louisiana.
Once Harvey makes landfall, forecasters say steering currents should cause it to slow and possibly stall. Parts of eastern Texas, Louisiana, and the lower Mississippi Valley will have several days of heavy rainfall, which could trigger dangerous flooding, they warned.
Follow Jenny Staletovich on Twitter @jenstaletovich