Eric and I had a conversation this spring to discuss some new ideas for the site, and ways to help readers navigate hurricane season. We absolutely feel people’s uneasiness every time it rains here, and a general sensitivity to the rumor and speculation that springs to life during hurricane season. So we have decided that every week or two, we will publish a more in-depth outlook for tropical activity in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico so that you understand what’s happening, and what could happen in the next couple weeks.

Tropical outlook in a sentence

Tropical development is unlikely over the next week or so across the Atlantic Basin, but we are eyeing July for a possible increase in activity.

Near-term summary

Historically, we would watch the Bay of Campeche and Gulf this time of year for development.

Historically, storms have formed in the Gulf and Bay of Campeche in the final third of June. (NOAA/NHC)

As of now, no tropical activity is expected over the next week, as conditions should remain mostly unfavorable for storms to develop in those areas and elsewhere.

Looking at satellite imagery from Tuesday morning, we have a couple tropical waves moving across the eastern Caribbean and a couple disorganized waves elsewhere.

The tropics show a few disorganized disturbances and mostly calm conditions today. (College of DuPage)

None of these waves is a candidate for development as of right now, and if anything, they should fizzle out and stay safely away. So: Good news, as we just don’t see much of anything out there.

Weather model fantasy-land

One of the biggest hurdles to good tropical information during hurricane season in the social media era is a tendency for folks to mention a model solution with zero context or just because it shows something extreme. You’ll see something like, “This model is just one solution but it shows a category 10 hurricane in the Gulf in 15 days! You probably shouldn’t believe it, but here it is anyway.”

Is there anything showing up on the models in days 10-15? Not at this time. The GFS model, which is the most frequent offender with fantasy-land storms is quiet right now. The GFS tends to have a bias early in the hurricane season, and then again later in the hurricane season. The bias is worst in May and early June, where it can often spin up systems in the Caribbean that never materialize. I tried to run the math on it last season, and during the month of May 2018, 79% of the time the GFS showed a storm beyond day 10, it never materialized.

Now, the GFS model was recently upgraded which should hopefully lead to reduced false alarms, but we won’t know much about that in practice until next May. Within the season, it still seems to show more false alarms than not, and Eric and I try to sort through the noise for you. Let this just serve as a reminder to be cautious of extreme modeled solutions posted on social media without much context.

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Monday marked the first time in more than three weeks that the high temperature in Houston did not reach at least 90 degrees, but now we’ll put our brief flirtation with somewhat cooler behind us as high pressure begins to build over the area today. Perhaps the biggest question about the forecast from now through the end of the work week is whether highs in the days ahead will reach the mid- or upper-90s.

Also, be on the lookout later today for a tropical update from Matt. There is nothing imminent, but we want to keep readers apprised of what we’re thinking and seeing as we look ahead over the next week or two in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. When we get into July, we probably will begin posting these on a weekly basis, and then probably more frequently during the peak periods of August and early September.

Most of Texas will be in the 90s Tuesday. In a few days there will be more 100s. (Pivotal Weather)

Tuesday

There isn’t much movement in the atmosphere today, which means that despite a fairly moist atmosphere any shower development should be scattered at best. High resolution models are indicating the best chances for rain may come down near Matagorda Bay, or to the northeast of the Houston metro area. In any case, for the most part we should see a mostly sunny day with highs in the low- to mid-90s.

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Overnight rains and storms—there were definitely some impressive lightning displays late Sunday and early Monday—have largely moved to the coast and offshore. Most of the region saw 1 to 3 inches from Sunday through this morning although a few locations, including parts of Montgomery County, saw totals of nearly 4 inches. One benefit of Sunday night’s storms is significantly cooler weather this morning, with rain-cooled lows in the upper 60s for much of Houston. Enjoy this while it lasts.

Rain totals for the 24 hours prior to 6am Monday. (Texas MesoNet)

Monday

The atmosphere is pretty worked over, so although some light rains will be possible today, we’re unlikely to see any real storm activity except near the coast (seas offshore are choppy, to say the least). With lingering clouds, however, temperatures today may only rise into the mid-80s for most of the region. Houston has reached 90 degrees every day so far this month, so that would offer a nice reprieve from the summertime heat we’ve been experiencing. Skies should be partly cloudy tonight, with lows in the mid-70s.

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The Houston region appears likely to see an increasingly wet period beginning later this afternoon through at least Tuesday morning as atmospheric moisture levels spike above normal, and the absence of high pressure allows for the formation of showers and thunderstorms. To be clear, we’re not really expecting any significant flooding for most people—at least not beyond some street flooding—just the potential for several rounds of storms. Check the radar later today before embarking on any outdoor plans.

Severe storm outlook for Sunday and Sunday night. (NOAA)

Unfortunately, it is hard to offer too much detail, as there is not great agreement among the high-resolution models about what will take place later today, tonight, and Monday. At a best guess, the potential for heavier rainfall should remain to the west of Harris County, and north of Montgomery County, through the early afternoon hours Sunday, but after that all bets are off.

NOAA forecast for total precipitation for now through Tuesday morning. (Pivotal Weather)

At some point we are likely to see showers and potentially stronger thunderstorms sag into the metro area—moisture levels may peak after midnight tonight for central and coastal areas of Houston—and this will lead to better rain chances. At a best guess, most of the region will see 1 to 2 inches of rainfall through Tuesday morning, but as always there will be the potential for higher isolated totals, and some people are likely to miss out entirely. Most of Houston hasn’t had much, if any measurable rainfall in 11 days so some precipitation will be welcome for most.

We’ll be watching things later today and will update if needed.