Month: September 2017

We recommend: Weather books for weather enthusiasts

Posted by Matt Lanza at 10:00 AM

In the wake of Harvey, it’s been interesting and fun to see so many people seeking out ways to learn more about weather, flooding, hurricanes, and more. Knowledge is power, and both Eric and I want to see our community more knowledgeable about weather risks. We will attempt to give you a few book suggestions here. This list isn’t comprehensive by any means. It’s just a listing of books we’ve read about weather that we think our readers may find interesting, and hopefully it’s a group of books some of you can learn something new from! All links point to Amazon for simplicity, but I’m sure you can find some of these on local shelves or order them through local bookshops.

“Isaac’s Storm,” by Erik Larson – No, we couldn’t make a weather book list in Southeast Texas without including this title. “Isaac’s Storm” tells the story of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane and Isaac Cline, the weather observer at the time, and what he was able to do (and not do) through the storm. You won’t get a full meteorology education here, but this is a must-read for anyone interested in Houston, Galveston, or hurricanes.

“Hurricane Watch,” by Jack Williams & Bob Sheets – Jack Williams is one of the best weather journalists out there, and Dr. Sheets is a former director of the National Hurricane Center. He is also one of my childhood meteorology “heroes” who inspired me to be a strong weather communicator. This book walks you through the history of hurricane observation and prediction, going way back in time and bringing you up through Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It includes a look at the history of the Hurricane Hunters, why we can’t control hurricanes, and closes with a look at the future (as written in the early 2000s). This is a great introduction to hurricanes, their prediction, and the history behind that.

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Brief pause in Houston’s late summer doldrums

Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:17 AM

Quick note: Many of you have reached out to us looking for book recommendations about weather. Well, we listened. Look for a post later this morning that has a handful of recommendations we hope you enjoy.

On to the weather. After some scattered showers and storms on Thursday, things will begin to calm down today, setting up a warm but pleasant weekend. A couple interesting notes about rainfall,¬†courtesy of the NWS Houston office: First, officially, it’s the third wettest year on record (back to 1889) already for Houston. We only need 0.82″ of rain between now and New Year’s Eve to set a new record for wettest year in Houston. On the flip side, if Galveston manages to not receive 0.03″ of rain before tomorrow night, they’ll set a new record for driest September on record (back to 1872). It’s been a weird year.

Weekend

So we’ll keep mentioning a chance of a shower or thunderstorm today, but I think most of us will stay dry.¬†Precipitable water, which is a good measure of how much moisture is available in the atmosphere, will drop off through the day today as we advect in drier air.

Simulated HRRR model radar today shows very little in the way of showers around Houston. The best chance is south and well west. (Weather Bell)

In English, that means chances of showers and thunderstorms should diminish today. It will not quite get to zero south of I-10, and I think the majority of us will stay dry. We’ll gradually usher in even drier air tonight, leading to comfortable dewpoints and low humidity on Saturday and completely shutting off rain chances. The weekend should be dry for the entire region.

Though the humidity will lower, the temperatures will stay relatively warm for the turn of the calendar to October, and we should see continued high temperatures in the upper 80s, with morning lows in the slightly more pleasant upper 60s.

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Houston’s kinda, sorta cool front on the way

Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:25 AM

As Eric described yesterday, this weekend’s front is not packing much punch with it. I mean, look, a break from the high humidity is definitely nice, but we would all probably prefer something more definitive by now. “Autumn” is fickle in Texas.

Today & Friday

More of the same is expected. Portions of south-central Texas have received over 10″ of rain this week, and there’s currently flooding on the Rio Grande near Laredo. We’ve been far enough east to really avoid most of it, and we’ll remain there again today. Just a smattering of hit or miss downpours should be expected today. It will probably be a bit more than the last two days with the front approaching. Otherwise it will be partly sunny and continued hot and humid.

The front should work through here either late today or early Friday. You probably won’t notice much of anything though until Friday night. So expect another warm to hot day Friday, with a good bit of humidity. Perhaps it won’t feel as oppressive as Thursday. We’ll continue with a very slight shower chance Friday before the drier air arrives Friday night.

Weekend

All in all, this weekend should be a decent one. We’ll certainly have lower humidity on Saturday. In fact, if you watch the animation below, you can see how the dewpoints start to drop off Friday night into Saturday morning. That will lead to a really nice, albeit still hot Saturday.

Lower humidity via lower dewpoints will arrive Friday night and Saturday morning. (Weather Bell)

Sunday will be similar, with a good deal of sunshine, but humidity staying under control. Both days will see high temperatures generally in the upper 80s (perhaps a couple degrees cooler north). Morning lows will bottom out in the upper 60s in Houston proper, but cooler in some of the suburbs. I don’t know if it will feel “refreshing” per se, but it will be nice for a change.

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I wish I had better news, but the much anticipated cool front seems likely to disappoint most of us. Houston hasn’t had an overnight temperature below 68 degrees in two weeks, but more and more this week’s front looks more like something we’d expect in late August than in late September. That is, while we’ll see a change in wind direction and decreased humidity, temperatures are unlikely to fall much.

Wednesday and Thursday

Atmospheric moisture levels are fairly high across the area, which suggests a better possibility for rain today and Thursday than we experienced on Tuesday. However, conditions aren’t such that we should expect widespread showers or heavy accumulations. For the most part, we’ll just see partly sunny skies and continued warm days with highs of around 90 degrees. Winds shift from southeast to northeast on Thursday, but it will take time for the drier air to work its way into Houston.

It’s a warm morning for late September in Texas. (Weather Bell)

Friday through Sunday

Some slight rain chances may linger near the coast on Friday morning, but for the most part we’re going to see mostly sunny skies as drier air works its way into the area from the north. With mostly sunny skies, daytime highs will remain in the upper 80s, but nighttime temperatures should be a few degrees cooler than we’ve been experiencing.

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