Today is December 1st, but is it the first day of winter?

Good morning and welcome to the first day of winter. Or is it? Meteorologists define the start of winter as Dec. 1, running through the end of February. Then spring starts on March 1, and so on. But there are no hard-and-fast definitions of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Some people use the winter solstice, which marks the point at which the Sun is the lowest in the sky. That’s reasonable. Still others have more esoteric definitions, as I discovered by reading this fun, unscientific poll recently published by FiveThirtyEight.

I thought we would do something similar here, so I’ve set up a poll for readers to gauge when you think winter begins. If you have some other method of determining the first day of winter, please write it in the comments below. I’ll write a summary post of the results next Monday. I’m genuinely curious what you all think.

One thing is for sure, it won’t feel like winter any time soon here. As we enter December, the overall pattern looks quite mild for the next 10 to 15 days. After this morning, many locations in Houston may not see overnight lows below 50 degrees during the first half of December, and high temperatures will generally be in the 70s. A quick look at the 8-14 day outlook for temperatures from NOAA supports the idea of warmer than normal weather ahead for “winter.” (If you consider early December winter, that is).

Temperature outlook for Dec. 8 to Dec. 14. (Pivotal Weather)

Wednesday

As expected, we’re seeing fairly widespread fog this morning, with low temperatures around 50 degrees matching dewpoints. Like we saw on Tuesday, this fog will burn off as the Sun rises and warms the air temperature later this morning. After the fog dissipates we should see mostly sunny skies, with highs generally in the mid- to upper-70s and light southerly winds. Overnight lows will drop into the 50s for Houston.

Thursday and Friday

These will be mild, partly sunny days, with highs in the upper 70s to near 80 degrees, and overnight lows around 60 degrees. Some fog will be possible on both mornings, but otherwise there are no weather concerns.

Saturday and Sunday

The forecast is starting to become a little more clear for the weekend, and generally I think we can expect a mix of sunshine and clouds, with only a slight chance of rain both days. (I’d guess nearly all of the region stays dry, and areas that do see rain will only receive a light mist). Highs will remain in the range of the upper 70s to 80 degrees, with nights around 60 degrees. If you have outdoor plans this weekend, you’re probably safe.

Mild weather ahead for Houston. (Weather Bell)

Next week

A weak cool front should arrive on Monday to bring some drier air into the region, and cooler weather. Highs on Monday may peak at about 70 degrees. After a quick warm up, another front appears to be on track for Wednesday. This one may bring a little bit of rain with it, and push nighttime temperatures down into the 50s for a few nights.

The story of the next few days will be morning fog, with pleasant fall days

Good morning. Temperatures have generally fallen into the 40s across the region this morning, and this has brought them down near dewpoints. When the air temperature matches the dewpoint temperature water droplets form, and because winds are light they allow fog to form and thicken. Parts of the Houston area, accordingly, are seeing dense fog this morning. For other areas, where the air temperature is a few degrees above the dewpoint, it’s simply clear and cool outside. This radiation fog will “burn” off as the sun rises and increases air temperatures this morning. Conditions for early morning fog will persist for much of this week.

Tuesday

Monday was a splendid day, and Tuesday will be rather nice as well with mostly sunny skies and highs in the mid-70s. Winds will generally be light, shifting to come from the southeast, and this will allow for temperatures to be 5 to 10 degrees warmer tonight than Monday night. But there will definitely still be a fall-like chill in the air, as lows drop into the 50s.

Wednesday and Thursday

The middle of the week will bring more sunshine and fine weather, with mostly sunny skies and highs generally in the mid- to possibly upper-70s. Winds will remain light, generally out of the south. Overnight lows will drop to around 60 degrees in Houston, with cooler conditions inland and away from the city, and slightly warmer ones closer to the coast.

Friday

As the high pressure that will dominate our weather this week drifts eastward, our region will become a little more susceptible to atmospheric disturbances. As a result, Friday will be partly sunny, with a slight chance of showers. (In the unlikely event that it does rain, accumulations would be very slight). Highs probably will reach the upper 70s. Lows on Friday night may only drop into the 60s in Houston.

Saturday and Sunday

Confidence in the weekend forecast remains somewhat low, although most likely we will see a mix of clouds and sunshine, with highs in the mid-70s on Saturday. Some light rain showers are possible on Saturday afternoon and evening, but again any accumulations look fairly light, measured in the hundredths of inches most likely.

Temperatures on Saturday will be about 10 degrees warmer than one would expect in early December. (Weather Bell)

It still appears as though a weak front will come into the region late on Saturday night or some time on Sunday, although the details surrounding this remain fuzzy. For now let’s go with partly sunny skies on Sunday with a high in the low 70s. We can’t yet rule out rain chances for Sunday, but my sense is that they’ll wrap up during the morning hours. Stay tuned!

Later next week

Sunday’s front looks to be fairly modest, so I think the first part of next week will be mild, with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. Another, probably stronger front, looks to come through around next Wednesday or Thursday, but you should only write that forecast down in pencil, on cheap paper, that you’re willing to toss into the waste bin.

This is the final day of our 2021 fundraiser, and it will be a fine one

Today marks the last day of our 2021 fundraiser, during which we are raising money to support the site next year, further app development, and more. You may either buy merchandise, donate, or both. The response this year has exceeded our expectations, and your support is humbling to both Matt and myself. We would like to offer sincere thank you to everyone, and we do mean everyone, who pitched in for this year’s fundraiser. We’re in great shape heading into 2022 and promise to be here every step of the way.

Weather-wise, the forecast calls for a slow warming trend this week after a chilly start. One noticeable change will be a transition to more sunny skies. Matt promised you lots of clouds this weekend, and very little sunshine was to be found. But now, the sunshine is back, and we’ll see a week of partly to mostly sunny days. Rain chances won’t return until toward the end of the week.

It is a cold morning across the entirety of Texas at sunrise on Monday. (Weather Bell)

Monday

As temperatures drop into the 40s this morning near dewpoints, some patchy fog has developed in some areas. This will burn off quickly as the sun rises, and temperatures go up. Highs today will reach 70 degrees, with light northerly winds, beneath sunny skies. Lows tonight should once again drop into the 40s for all but coastal areas, with some patchy fog possible again.

Tuesday

This should be another fine fall day, with mostly sunny skies and highs in the low 70s. Winds will shift to come from the southeast on Tuesday, and this will kick off a slow warming trend that probably will last into the weekend. Overnight lows for most areas on Tuesday night should still drop into the 50s.

Wednesday and Thursday

These should be a pair of warmer days, with high temperatures in the mid- to upper-70s across the area and partly to mostly sunny skies. Dewpoints should remain about 60 degrees, so the air will neither feel dry nor overly humid. Overnight temperatures will continue to creep up, with lows on Friday morning probably not dropping below 60 degrees in Houston.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

If you have plans for this weekend, I’m afraid you may have to wait a day or two before confidence increases in the forecast. I’m pretty sure that Friday will see a continued warming trend, with partly sunny skies and highs around 80 degrees. By Friday night, or so, with several days of an onshore flow, moisture levels will be high enough to support some kind of rain. But overall chances are probably fairly low.

Some parts of Houston could hit 80 degrees by Friday. (Weather Bell)

As for the weekend, some kind of mild front—originating from the Pacific Ocean, rather than Canada or to the north—will probably move through. My best guess in terms of timing is Saturday night, but that’s just a hunch. So at this point I’d say to expect some slight rain chances on Saturday and perhaps Sunday morning, with the airmass turning somewhat drier by the second half of the weekend. Highs, for the most part, should be in the 70s, with lows in the 50s. We’ll try to get some more clarity for you, soon.

Thanksgiving review

This is pretty shameless, I admit. And a good general rule of thumb for forecasters is to never get too confident about this job, because the unpredictability of weather can be pretty darn humbling. But in our very first outlook for Thanksgiving, 10 days before the holiday, here’s what we wrote:

So my best guess is that Thanksgiving starts out fairly warm, but may cool down later with a wet frontal passage.

What goes around comes around, of course, so all this really means is that Space City Weather’s 10-day outlook for Christmas probably will be about as worthless as a lump of coal in your stocking.

Black Friday deals on clouds for Houston this weekend

Alright, this weekend won’t be that bad, but you will notice a lot of high clouds streaming across throughout the day today, rain developing tomorrow, and lingering clouds on Sunday.

First, some quick housekeeping. Our annual site fundraiser is in the final days! We are so incredibly grateful for everyone’s support. Thank you so much.

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. Yesterday’s rain was a bit weird in that it was widespread, but some areas saw quite a bit and others saw mostly minor amounts.

Rain totals across the region varied with some areas seeing little and others seeing quite a bit. (Harris County Flood Control)

Places like Mont Belvieu saw nearly 3 inches of rain. The Woodlands got 1 to 2 inches of rain. Sugar Land saw nearly an inch. Downtown Houston and most of western Harris County? About a quarter-inch. Same story for most of Galveston County and the Island. At least we salvaged the latter part of the day in most places.

Today

With all of Thanksgiving’s mess cleared out, we transition today to fair weather. Expect sun filtered through periods of high cloudiness today. Temperatures are starting the day in the 40s for most with a few pockets of 30s here and there.

It’s a chilly start to Black Friday across the area. (NOAA)

With the clouds around, we will likely stay in the 50s in most spots today for high temperatures.

Saturday

Clouds will thicken up some tonight. This should prevent temperatures from falling quite so far, and we should expect generally 40s to low-50s on Saturday morning. A disturbance will be approaching from the west through the morning and afternoon, and it will allow rain to begin to break out from west to east through the day. This will be a mostly light to moderate rain, though perhaps it will be briefly heavy at times south of I-10. Temperatures will warm until the rain starts, and then they’ll drop a few degrees. Look for mostly 50s, and areas west of Houston could fall back into the 40s by late afternoon. Rain will end from west to east on Saturday night.

NOAA’s rainfall forecast for tomorrow into Sunday is a bit aggressive, but totals up to an inch or so will be possible with the steadiest, heaviest rain. (Weather Bell)

Rain totals should be a quarter to three-quarters of an inch for most, with a few higher amounts possible.

Sunday

Look for clouds to linger, but the rain should be done. Some sun is possible, which would allow us to crack 60 degrees in many spots after beginning the day in the upper-40s to low-50s.

Next week

The week should start off lovely with sunshine on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Temperatures will add a few degrees each day, and we should see 70s by Wednesday. The late part of next week could even see temperatures approach 80 degrees depending on the timing of our next cold front. There are hints in the models today that we could briefly see some pretty chilly air next weekend with 30s for lows possible over a wide area. Not a major freeze or anything like that, but chilly! We’ll watch that next week to see how it evolves. Enjoy the weekend!