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Why Harvey’s future is so uncertain, hard to predict

Just like Hurricane Sandy’s weird and infamous left turn into New Jersey in 2012, Harvey’s forecast of several feet of rain in Texas is one that’s never been seen before.

The historical record of U.S. hurricanes gives few, if any examples of a major hurricane landfall that transitions into a multi-day rainfall event as prolonged, extensive and intense as the scenario painted by multiple forecast models for Harvey, said Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters.

The National Weather Service forecast office in Corpus Christi said “once the storm makes landfall, its future is uncertain as it stalls between two high-pressure systems and along a stationary front.”

Basically, after Harvey makes landfall, which occurred late Friday night as a Category 4 storm, there is no exact consensus for what it will do next, the weather service said. It weakened to a tropical storm on Saturday and is expected to meander around the region for a couple of days.

The problem is Harvey will be “trapped” in an area of extremely weak steering flow, said Colorado State University hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach. Basically there are almost no winds to push it one way or the other, he said.

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