Before I dig into the main feature of focus, Felix, here's whats going on across the rest of the Atlantic.
1. There is a Tropical Wave located around 10N, 40W that has been watched over the past several days by the National Hurricane Center. Chances of this developing are slim to none has it is elongated in nature and has plenty of windshear inhibiting any potential development. However, movement will follow that of Felix and Dean, so if it holds together somewhat over the next week or so -- we could have the next storm on our hands.
2. There is a dying cold front off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina. This may do what Andrea did and form into a Tropical Storm over the next couple of days if it tracks a bit more to the East. Let's hope it does develop into something as this could be a potential drought buster in areas that need it the most.
3. There is nothing else out there, the cloud mass in the mid-north Atlantic is just a cold front, not tropical in nature and the "wave-train" in Africa seems to be quiet right now. Other development is not likely for the next few days.
Meanwhile in the Pacific (I'll just highlight Henriette as it poses a threat to the US in terms of heavy rainfall.)
There is Tropical Storm Henriette moving to the NNE and will track across Baja California into Arizona. This will bring significant rains to Arizona, New Mexico as the main surface low will spin around in these areas with a ton of tropical moisture. Flash flooding is a major concern.
Meanwhile, the upper level moisture will track across the mountains of Mexico into Texas where Flash Flood Watches are already in effect. Any additional rainfall in this state will lead to flooding.
Now on to Felix:
This storm is nothing short of a monster. As of the 8PM AST advisory, Felix was a powerful category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 165 miles per hour! This, actually could be good news in the long term --- and you may be wondering why the heck I'm saying this. Well, typically with hurricanes that intensify this much in open waters do not strike land at Category 5 intensity. The reason being is that there is a point that a storm gets so powerful that it actually cannot sustain itself. In a satellite loop, you will notice that the eye will start filling in and become less symmetrical -- and kind of weaken as a result. That process is called an "Eyewall Replacement Cycle" -- this happened to Dean plenty before making landfall in the Yucatan.
The bad news, however, is that the storm is still showing signs of strengthening and no sign of an Eyewall Replacement Cycle any time soon. We will not know for sure how strong the storm gets tonight as the Airforce Reconnaissance flights into the storms have been cancelled for the night as they reported Extreme Turbulance which is too dangerous to fly in. These missions have only been aborted a couple of times in the past -- so this is truly a rare event.
Here's what the models are saying:
http://my.sfwmd.gov/sfwmd/common/images/weather/plots/storm_06.gif (broken link)
There isnt much model consensus out there right now, however I am leaning towards a more northern track as Felix has had a stronger northward component than Dean did with his track. The good news, for Texas, right now is that Felix is much further south than Dean -- but again, that northward component does make a recurvature to the North not out of the question.
Regardless, I do think its fair to say that the track will be similar to that of Dean in terms of it getting back into the Gulf of Mexico. That means that yes, Texas still needs to keep a close eye on the progess of the storm. As I said last night, the main players to watch will be that ridge of High Pressure located off the East Coast and the stalled out trough located across Texas. If Felix continues to have a northern component attached to his movement, these two features could interact together and drag Felix further north once in the Gulf of Mexico. Nevertheless, any storm that tracks in the western or southern Gulf of Mexico will bring in more enhanced moisture into Texas -- meaning that the rain chances will not go away any time soon.