A chilly (but hopefully dry) New Year’s Eve, and a leaden start to 2016

It’s a chilly morning with temperatures in the upper 40s across most of Houston, and we’re not going to warm up much for the next several days.


New Year’s Eve will remain, for the most part, gray and cold with highs only in the mid-50s. If there’s an upside it’s that I expect most areas will not see much, if any rain this afternoon and evening during the hours of revelry. Any rain that does fall will be light. However conditions tonight will be cold, and with a 10 to 15 mph northerly wind it will feel like about 40 degrees out.

GFS model forecast for wind chill temperatures at midnight tonight. (Weather Bell)
GFS model forecast for wind chill temperatures at midnight tonight. (Weather Bell)



The New Year is going to start out cold and gray. Both Friday and Saturday will struggle to reach 50 degrees as cold air moves in from the north. Skies will remain leaden, with light rain possible day and night. Accumulations should be slight.


After a cold morning with temperatures possibly falling into the upper 30s our skies should finally clear, leading to a sunny day with highs in the mid-50s. Do not be afraid of the big, bright orange ball in the sky. That is a normal condition.


After sunny and cool conditions on Monday and Tuesday the forecast remains a bit tricky for next week. Although I’m fairly confident we’re going to continue to see winter-like temperatures in Houston, the second half of next week could see some decent rain chances. We’ll have to wait and see.

The unofficial forecast for the 2016 Chevron Houston Marathon

Having turned 42 this year I decided to try and run a marathon for the first time. Perhaps it was a way to push back against father time. Certainly registering for the Houston Marathon proved a cheaper antidote to a mid-life crisis than buying a fancy convertible.

As I trained this fall I soon discovered the importance of weather in distance running, and most critically humidity. Cold and dry weather made running 10 or even 15 miles a breeze. (Well, sort of.) But even in December, when dewpoints were in the upper 60s, running five miles was pure misery. So I feel you when it comes to weather on January 17.

We’re still 19 days from the Houston marathon, and the major global forecast models only run out to 16 days. Truth be told, they have very little accuracy after about 10 days, so we’re still more than a week away from what might be considered a “moderately” accurate forecast for the marathon. With that said we can draw some inferences from seasonal weather models, which I will now do.

NOAA makes monthly forecasts, and right now its outlook for January calls for a slightly better chance, than average, for colder-than-normal temperatures in Houston. But this isn’t terribly helpful because the first half of January could be freezing cold, and the second half somewhat warmer than normal. When we’re out there sweating our butts off on the morning of the Houston marathon, we won’t care if it was 25 degrees the week before.

Fortunately some seasonal modeling has higher resolutions than this. One of the models is NOAA’s Climate Forecast System (v2) which makes temperature predictions for 5-day chunks. Here’s its latest forecast for the period of January 16 through January 21st. Reading the map below, it shows temperatures a good 6 to 7 degrees F above normal for Houston.

(Weather Bell)
(Weather Bell)

See full postThe unofficial forecast for the 2016 Chevron Houston Marathon

A gray start to the New Year, but will it rain?

I hope everyone is enjoying their end of the year weather. My wife, who loves the heat, is miserable, hiding beneath an electric blanket. I’m loving the colder air after what seemed like a never-ending summer. Anyway, here’s a quick look at what’s ahead.


Parts of Houston saw light rain overnight and this morning, but I expect that to end this afternoon except, possibly, for areas immediately along the coast. Most areas will see high temperatures near 60 degrees today under mostly cloudy skies.


The big question is how long the break in the rain lasts. Thursday won’t be warm, with highs in the mid-50s, but moisture levels in the atmosphere will begin to increase later in the day, setting the stage for light rain. But will it hold off during the crucial evening hours, when many will venture outside to ring in the new year? If I had to guess, I’d say yes, but it’s a tough call. Temperatures between 6 p.m. and midnight will be in the upper 40s.

The GFS (and other models) now seem less bullish on rain on Thursday night. (Weather Bell)
The GFS (and other models) now seem less bullish on rain on Thursday night. (Weather Bell)

See full postA gray start to the New Year, but will it rain?

A gray day, a gray week, a new year

In honor of the Houston region finally reaching consistently winter-like conditions, we open today weather post with a simple haiku.

A gray day, today

A gray week, this week, all week

Finally, it’s winter


Most areas are seeing partly cloudy to mostly cloudy skies this morning after overnight lows dipped down to about 40 degrees. Highs today will reach the upper 50s. After sunset light, misting rain will be possible during the overnight hours.

See full postA gray day, a gray week, a new year