Good morning. After a spectacular stretch of spring-like weather in Houston last week, conditions will turn more gray, with some rain chances, for most of this week. There’s only a modest chance that storms stray into Houston, however.

Today

The main driver of the region’s weather over the next couple of days will be a slow-moving cold front that will bring some storms across central Texas as it drifts to the east. For most of the Houston area this probably won’t mean a whole lot, but there is a chance of stormy weather to the northwest of the metro region, particularly for College Station and other areas in the Brazos Valley later today and tonight.

Regions of most likely storm activity today and tonight are shaded yellow. (NOAA)

For Houston, highs today will climb to about 80 degrees under mostly cloudy skies, with some gusty southerly winds. I don’t think most of the area will see significant rain today, or this evening.

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We’ve had a number of really, really nice spring days in recent weeks. And expect us to get another one today. Let’s get to it.

Colorado State Hurricane Outlook

First, I want to just touch on a report released yesterday from the tropical weather research group at Colorado State University. The CSU team produces one of the most widely used and anticipated seasonal hurricane outlooks for the Atlantic. Their forecast for this year calls for below normal activity in the Atlantic basin.

They’re going with 11 storms, four hurricanes, and two major hurricanes for the 2017 season. Recall that last year saw 15 named storms, seven hurricanes, and four major (Category 3 or stronger) hurricanes. Last year’s CSU April forecast called for 12/5/2 in that order. This year will be challenging with risks of another El Nino developing and some uncertainty as to what the ocean temperature profiles in the Atlantic Ocean will look like during the peak of the season. We’ve been in an active period of Atlantic hurricanes since 1995, and there are questions as to how much longer that will last. They will monitor these variables and update their forecast in early June.

Klotzbach’s team also helps put together landfall probabilities by county. You can examine the details yourself, but in the interest of ease, they give a 3.7% probability of one or more named storms making landfall in Galveston County, compared to a 4.3% chance historically in any given year. Texas as a whole has a 38.2% chance using their methodology, compared to a climatological average of 43.3% that a named storm will make landfall. In a nutshell: Slightly lower than normal odds for a landfall than in an average season.

Use hurricane outlooks with caution

There’s a BIG caveat here. Remember, seasonal hurricane outlooks are primarily an academic exercise. Operationally and for most of you, they don’t matter. If we have two storms in the Atlantic all season and one is category 4 that plows into Galveston, it was a below normal season but an awfully bad one for a lot of people. They’ve become a curiosity we need to share, and the group at Colorado State does really good and ultimately important research. But you should ignore this forecast and go ahead and think about preparing for hurricane season anyway. 

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Our run of lovely, spring-time weather will continue through the weekend before rain chances return early next week, including the possibility of some thunderstorms. Texas won’t be this cold again for some time.

Thursday

Lows this morning fell into the upper 40s for inland areas of Houston, and even Galveston is going to get down to around 60 degrees. Given the warmth of the Gulf of Mexico already this season, barring a very strong cold front later this month or early in May, I suspect Thursday morning’s lows will be the region’s coldest until late October or November.

This may be Texas’ coldest morning until late October or early November. (Weather Bell)

We’ll have another splendid day today, with highs near 80 degrees, and another cool night with temperatures just a couple of degrees warmer than Thursday morning.

Friday through Sunday

Mostly sunny skies will prevail through the weekend, along with highs in the upper 70s to 80 degrees. The only really noticeable change will be a rise in humidity, beginning later Friday or early Saturday, that will bring overnight lows up from the mid-50s on Friday morning to around 70 degrees by Sunday night. Enjoy.

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Good morning. After a torrid day on Tuesday, when Houston tied a record high of 88 degrees set back in 1897, spring returns to the region. We’ll see moderate temperatures for now through most of the weekend.

Wednesday

A cold front swept through Houston during the pre-dawn hours, bringing a few scattered showers. But mostly it was a dry front, heralded by a wind shift to the northwest. At Bush Intercontinental Airport the relative humidity dropped from 89 percent at 2:30am to 59 percent at 6am.

A cold front has knocked pre-dawn temperatures (black) into the 50s this morning. Gray numbers denote relative humidity. (NOAA)

So it will go for much of the region today, with highs in the mid-70s, much drier air, and breezy, northwesterly winds. Gusts could reach 25 or 30mph today before dying back tonight after sunset. Lows tonight should fall into the upper 40s for inland areas, and mid-50s along the coast.

Thursday and Friday

As I’ve been suggesting, the end of the work week will be spectacular for early April. Look for mostly sunny skies, highs in the upper 70s, and lows in the mid- to upper-50s.

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The return of warmer air from the south, and mostly sunny skies today, should lead to quite warm temperatures. In fact, there’s at least a slight chance that Bush Intercontinental Airport will record a high of 90 degrees today—and that would be early, but not unprecedented. Houston’s earliest high temperature in a calendar year has come on Feb. 20 (1996), but a more normal time of year is the end of April, or early May. In this case, the heat won’t last long before we return to spring-like weather.

Today

Sunny conditions today, and very warm, before a mild night tonight in the mid-60s.

Wednesday

A cold front will move through Houston early on Wednesday, likely just before, or around sunrise. Despite the moisture return on Tuesday, there probably won’t be more than enough water in the atmosphere to squeeze out a few light, scattered showers. Certainly nothing to be concerned about. Skies should clear out after the front’s passage, and the bigger issue later on Wednesday will be winds, gusting out of the north-northwest at about 20 to 25 mph for most of the day. Winds will die down around sunset, and overnight temperatures will cool down into the low- to mid-50s for most of Houston except for the coast.

Brisk, northwesterly winds bring a taste of spring back into the Houston area on Wednesday. (earth.nullschool.net)

(Space City Weather is sponsored this month by The Mole, a Jonathon Price novel.)

Thursday and Friday

We’re looking at two gorgeous days across the Houston region, with highs generally in the mid- to upper 70s, and lows in the mid- to upper-50s. Ample sunshine. Hard—very hard—to beat the weather to end this week. Summer may be coming to Houston, but for now enjoy spring!

Saturday, Sunday, and beyond

We’ll remain mostly sunny this weekend, with highs of around 80 degrees. Lows are going to creep back up, however, with the return of moisture from the Gulf and rising humidity levels. By Sunday night into Monday morning, I think we’ll again see lows only touching about 70 degrees.

The forecast is cloudy for next week—probably the oldest meteorology joke right there, folks—as the potential returns for rain next week. But it’s not clear how much rain comes in. The European model is pretty aggressive, bringing 1-3 inches of rain during the first part of next week, while other models are less wet. Not something to be too concerned about at this time.

Posted at 6:50am CT on Tuesday by Eric