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'Brown ocean' effect may bedevil soggy Texas as storm nears

1 year 11 months 1 week ago June 15, 2015 Jun 15, 2015 Monday, June 15 2015 June 15, 2015 4:20 PM in News
Source: Associated Press
By: David Warren

DALLAS - The historic rainfall that inundated Texas in May continues to leave the soil saturated and rivers engorged. But it also could strengthen a storm in the Gulf of Mexico as it moves over land.

A broad area of low pressure that developed near the Yucatan Peninsula could brew nasty weather along the Texas and Louisiana coasts and inland. Often, these low-pressure systems become tropical storms that gather power from the warm waters of the ocean, and then weaken once they move over land.

But Marshall Shepherd, director of atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia, says NASA-funded research has found some storms can actually strengthen over land by drawing from the evaporation of abundant soil moisture, a phenomenon known as the "brown ocean" effect.

Image: Weather Bell

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