Cold and gray for two more days before sunny weather is on the way

Mostly light rains are falling across the Houston region this morning, with accumulations of around one-half an inch for most of the area overnight. These rains are exiting the area to the east, and should be mostly gone by noon. After this we’ll have a few more chilly days and nights before transitioning to a warmer pattern this weekend. And the sunshine! It’s coming back tomorrow, and will be on full display this weekend. It will make a nice change from the gray.

High temperature forecast for Thursday. Will this be the region’s coldest day until at least next December? Probably. (Weather Bell)

Thursday

Rains will depart as high pressure moves into the region today. However, as clouds will linger, it’s still going to be a cold day. Expect highs only in the low 40s, with blustery northerly winds that will gust up to about 25 mph adding to the “frigid feelings” party. Fortunately the already slackening rains will end altogether late this morning or during the early afternoon hours. Given today’s highs, it would not surprise me if this is the coldest daytime of 2023 until at least December. So if you’re more of a warm weather person—and I’ve been complained to by enough people about the cold to know that there are a lot of you out there—take some solace in that. Lows tonight will probably drop into the upper 30s.

Friday

Some clouds will remain Friday morning, but we’ll see clearing skies, with plenty of sunshine during the afternoon hours. This will help push high temperatures into the mid- to upper-50s. You’ll still feel those northerly winds at 10 to 15 mph, but they won’t be as brisk as Thursday and Thursday night. Overnight lows Friday, with clear skies, should be the coldest of the week due to efficient cooling and a lack of clouds to insulate surface temperatures. The central Houston area will see lows in the mid-30s, with inland areas seeing colder temperatures and few areas a light freeze far from the coast.

Friday night’s lows will be pretty darn low. (Weather Bell)

Saturday

This will be a mostly sunny day with highs of around 60 degrees. Moderate winds will shift to come from the southeast, which will mark the beginning of an onshore flow. As a result, lows on Saturday night will be about 10 degrees warmer than Friday night.

Sunday

Expect more sunny weather, with highs reaching about 70 degrees. Winds will again be light. This day will be another winner for those planning outdoor activities this weekend.

Next week

Some clouds will start to return Monday, with continued warming conditions. The first couple days of next week will likely bring highs in the mid-70s with a bit muggier air. And after that? Well, I am sorry to say there is no lot of concurrence in the models we look at for such forecasts. At some point, perhaps on Tuesday night or Wednesday, a front is going to push into the region. It will elevate rain chances, and perhaps bring a few thunderstorms. It’s difficult to say. This probably will knock highs down in the 60s, and lows into the 40s, for the second half of next week. But the details for this forecast will have to come at a later date. For now, bundle up!

February is starting out rather cold in Houston. What about the rest of the month?

February is coming in with a chill, as highs today may only top out in the low 40s. And conditions will be cold for the rest of the week, with a light freeze possible for inland areas on Friday night. But what does the rest of the month look like after that? We should see a return to warmer temperatures next week. And then, the second half of the month looks slightly warmer than normal. After this week it would not surprise me if the Houston region is done with freezing weather for the 2022-2023 winter. Of course that is not an official prediction yet, just a guess.

Temperature outlook for the month of February. (NOAA)

Wednesday

Today, alas, will feel like the depths of winter. Fortunately, however, temperatures across the metro area this morning are remaining in the upper 30s to about 40 degrees. I say this because some areas are seeing a light rain, instead of a freezing rain. Central and Northern Texas remain in the grip of an ice storm, and travel west of Columbus on Interstate 10, and north of Huntsville, is not advised today or tonight. There are many reports of icing in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and other areas of Texas. It is a mess.

Back in the Houston area, light to moderate showers will be possible today and tonight ahead of a front that will finally shove this low pressure system away and clear our skies. Overall accumulations today, tonight, and into Thursday probably will be on the order of 0.25 to 0.75 inch, so this will be more of a nuisance rain rather than something that prompts a flooding concern. But the wetness will just add to the misery of gray skies and chilly winds. Don’t expect highs today to rise above the low 40s, and overnight lows will drop into the upper 30s.

Thursday

Some additional light showers will be possible on Thursday morning before the rains end during the afternoon. Skies will remain gray for awhile, however, so highs Thursday probably will only reach the mid-40s. Thursday night will be fairly unpleasant as northerly winds kick up in the wake of the front, and gust up to 25 mph. So yeah, don’t make any outdoor plans for Thursday night. Lows drop to around 40 degrees.

Friday

Skies will finally start to clear on Friday morning, with sunshine prevailing during the afternoon hours. Winds will be out of the north, but less blustery than Thursday night. Highs should reach the upper 50s. With lesser winds and clear skies, lows on Friday night will bottom out. A light freeze will be possible in Montgomery County, but I think most of the rest of the metro area will remain at least a few degrees above freezing.

Low temperature forecast for Friday night. (Weather Bell)

Saturday and Sunday

I still expect mostly sunny to fully sunny skies this weekend. Highs on Saturday will reach about 60 degrees, and overnight temperatures will be 5 to 10 degrees warmer than Friday night as the flow turns more southerly. Sunday will be warmer, with highs of around 70 degrees. This will be a welcome balm for those who don’t like the cold.

Next week

The early part of next week looks warmer, with partly to mostly cloudy skies and highs in the mid-70s. Some sort of rain chances return by Tuesday or Wednesday, but it’s not clear to what extent the next front will march all the way into Houston. So for now, I’m putting a big to-be-determined on our weather from Wednesday onward.

Daily e-mails working again—probably!

Howdy folks—my name is Lee, and I run the Space City Weather servers & back-end. (I don’t post much, so you might not recognize the name!) I wanted to weigh in real quick on the status of the e-mail deliverability issues some readers have experienced over the weekend, and explain what’s going on.

(This is not a weather post! If you’re interested in hearing more about our current cold snap, Eric & Matt will be posting their normal update tomorrow morning. This is just a quick technical update on recent e-mail issues.)

Here’s the short version: there were some hiccups this weekend, but things are working fine now. If you don’t care about the deep technical details, you can stop reading now 😀

The deep technical details

SCW runs on Wordpress. (See this post for details on the SCW hosting stack.) For cost reasons, the site relies on the Wordpress Jetpack service for the delivery of the daily e-mails—which means that, ultimately, e-mail is out of our control. The ultimate reason for this boils down to cost: the Wordpress Jetpack service will happily—and more importantly, for free—send e-mails to all 20,000+ SCW subscribers whenever Eric or Matt (and Maria!) make a post.

It turns out that e-mail in bulk is an incredibly expensive service to provide, and leaning on the built-in Wordpress Jetpack e-mail service saves SCW literally tens of thousands of dollars per year. (Seriously, we’ve run the numbers, and going with a commercial e-mail service provider like Mailgun or Mailchimp, or even rolling our own solution with something like Amazon SES, would be a massive cost burden at the scale we’re operating at.) As the sole infrastructure person, I feel a heavy sense of fiduciary responsibility with where and how we choose to spend resources on hosting, and so in spite of the inherent compromises, we’ve stuck with using Jetpack for e-mail updates.

One of those compromises is that we don’t have a lot of control over when and how the daily e-mails are delivered—we are dependent on the Jetpack service to be up and running. Which it usually is! However, for some reason that remains unexplained, over the last few days there have been some failures with the daily e-mails.

I’m very sorry, and I take personal responsibility. We’ve made the conscious choice to use the “free” Jetpack e-mail service in lieu of standing up our own, due to the cost and complexity involved (which truly would be a not-insignificant >$1k/mo expense—sending out millions of e-mails per month has a real cost!). Occasionally, the Jetpack service will have issues that we don’t have much insight into—and that’s apparently what happened over the last couple of days.

Fear not, though—Jetpack e-mail has been reliable (more or less) for every day of every year since I took over hosting the site in 2017. And the Wordpress Jetpack support crew have been extremely responsive in the past when I’ve had to open support tickets to work issues. Eric and Matt and Maria are committed to getting all y’all the best possible forecast data, and the backend crew of Dwight, Hussain, and I are committed to making sure those forecasts get to you immediately and without delay—come rain, snow, or server crashes 🙂

Cheers, everybody. Thanks for reading Space City Weather!

Very cold conditions in Houston, with ice just to our west and north

Good morning. Houston’s chilly and gray weather will continue for several more days. For the most part the cold and wet conditions will be mostly a nuisance, but we do have some concerns about the potential for icing in far north and west parts of the Houston metro area. Some sunshine will finally return to the region on Friday, with mostly clear skies prevailing through the weekend. Soak it up!

Issue with email newsletter

Some readers have reported problems receiving our daily email newsletter, which delivers our posts directly to your inbox. This has been going on since Sunday, and I appreciate everyone who took the time to let us know about the issue. Rest assured, we’re working to fix it, and I hope to have the service restored in a few days. In the meantime, you can always check the site after 7 am each morning for our daily post, download the Space City Weather app, or find us on our social media channels.

Tuesday

Coastal areas are seeing some patchy sea fog this morning, and this may persist over the seas until mid-morning. Lows have dropped into the upper 30s in Houston, and we’re only going to warm into the mid-40s today beneath cloudy skies. North winds, gusting to 15 or 20 mph, will not help it feel any warmer. Light, scattered showers will be possible today and tonight, but any accumulations will be slight. Lows overnight will drop into the mid- to upper-30s in the Houston metro area.

Hazardous conditions may be found on roads west and north of Houston. (National Weather Service)

As you drive west and north of Houston, particularly past Katy, Waller, and Huntsville, icing may start to become a concern on elevated roads and bridges tonight. Those concerns will become more acute to the west of Columbus and northwest of College Station where conditions will be colder. A major winter icing event is presently unfolding in Central Texas, particularly along the I-35 corridor in places such as Austin and the Dallas-Fort Worth area. These conditions may persist through Wednesday night for Central Texas, and travel should be avoided if at all possible.

Wednesday

Highs on Wednesday may only reach about 40 degrees in Houston, with continued gray skies. Showers will start to become more numerous on Wednesday afternoon and overnight in the Houston region, but again I’m not expecting too much in the way of heavy rainfall. This is good because our soils are already pretty wet, and cold grounds do not absorb much moisture. Any rain that falls will run off, and a few low-lying streets may flood, but I don’t anticipate serious disruptions from these mid-week showers. Lows on Wednesday night may actually be a few degrees warmer than Wednesday night, in the low 40s.

Thursday

Expect more gray skies and rain chances, but these should end later in the day as a cold front moves into the area and drives low pressure away. Overall accumulations for precipitation this week likely will be on the order of 0.25 to 1 inch, with a slight risk of 1 to 2 inches for areas north of Interstate 10. Highs Thursday will be somewhere in the mid-40s, with lows dropping to around 40 degrees Thursday night.
NOAA rain accumulation forecast for now through Friday. (Weather Bell)

Friday

Some sunshine, finally. Skies should clear out on Friday morning, helping to push highs in the mid-50s. Lows Friday night will drop into the upper 30s in Houston, with a few inland areas possibly seeing a light freeze.

Low temperature forecast for Saturday morning in Houston. (Weather Bell)

Saturday and Sunday

Both days should see partly to mostly sunny conditions, with highs Saturday of around 60 degrees, and perhaps the upper 60s on Sunday as the onshore flow gets going.

Next week

It looks like a warming trend will continue into about Tuesday, when some rain showers will be possible ahead of the next front. At this point, these rains look mostly light. We’ll just have to wait and see.