Month: September 2017

So you’re thinking about buying a generator …

Posted by Eric Berger at 10:00 AM

This is the third in our series of posts sponsored by Reliant. They’re covering our site for the entire 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, and in return we’re writing a handful of posts that highlight their services to readers. Today’s post relates to your questions and answers regarding choosing a generator.

We’re now three weeks past the storms of Hurricane Harvey, and the rains are still fresh in our minds as we’re thinking about the next time. For most homeowners, the power didn’t go out this time, a real blessing amid the torrential rainfall. The power remained mostly on during Harvey because winds never reached sustained tropical storm speeds in Houston—but for hurricanes making landfall closer to our region that won’t be the case. Therefore, as you’re updating your hurricane survival plans after Harvey, this post will answer some questions you may have if you’re considering a generator.

For Houston residents, our sponsor, Reliant, has the expertise to help take the guesswork out of the process. They can help by providing guidance about the installation process, selecting the right model, the right fuel—natural gas, portable, even solar— and addressing costs. The purpose of this post is to answer some of those questions.

Deciding whether to purchase a generator is a big decision. Here are some tools to help you. (Reliant)

The first step is to request a free assessment. Reliant will come to your home to determine the best generator for your needs, installation location and budget. This is a good time to ask all of the questions you have about the whole process. Here are some of the general installation questions likely to come up:

  • Is my home eligible for a Reliant generator installation? You must own the home and have natural gas line access to the house.
  • Where do you install the generator? Reliant tries to place the unit near the breaker box. If it can’t be installed there, Reliant will work with you to find a desirable location.
  • Will any construction be needed at my home? A concrete slab will be poured, similar to what an outside air conditioning unit sits on. A licensed plumber and electrician will run piping and wiring to connect the generator to the gas line and electrical breaker box. Sometimes these are below ground; sometimes they are attached to the house. All work done complies with building code standards.
  • Who will perform the construction and install the generator? Professional technicians who are licensed, insured and background-checked perform all construction, installation and maintenance.
  • How long does it take to install a generator? From start to finish, it usually takes 5 to 7 business days.
  • Do I need to contact the city about permits for my generator installation? No. Reliant will handle all permitting for you, and notify both the city and your transmission and distribution provider (CenterPoint in Houston) on your behalf.

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Houston weather: A tale of two Septembers

Posted by Eric Berger at 6:36 AM

This September started out with some great weather. In the aftermath of Harvey, the region saw drier winds on the back side of the storm, and then, just six days into the month, we received a surprisingly strong early front. Usually the first front washes out in a couple of days, but this one stuck around for nearly a week. Since then, it’s basically been typical end-of-summer weather for Houston.

Temperatures this September. (National Weather Service/Space City Weather)

Now we’re about to get the second “front” of the season, but unfortunately this one is going to be weaker than the first. Indeed, this front is more like what we typically experience as the season’s first fall front, which more often brings dry air and slightly cooler weather.

Tuesday and Wednesday

Did you like Monday’s weather? Because the greater Houston region can expect more of the same today and Wednesday. While central and southwestern Texas is pounded by some heavy rains, the greater Houston area should remain mostly dry. I certainly think we’ll see some scattered showers and thunderstorms, especially to the southwest of the Houston metro area—but none of these should present much of a flooding threat. Highs will remain warm, around 90 degrees, with ample humidity.

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The Texas hurricane season is probably over

Posted by Eric Berger at 6:50 AM

Every year I struggle with whether to write this post—because there’s always a chance it will be wrong. However, the fact is after this date the chance of a hurricane striking Texas is vanishingly low, about 1-in-50 for any given year. I’ll discuss this more below, after the forecast.

Monday through Wednesday

Houston’s late summer-like pattern will persist over the area for the next few days, with hot days and highs of around 90 degrees, steamy nights in the 70s, and scattered showers. A few thunderstorms could be pretty strong, but most of Houston will see moderate, little, or no rainfall over the next three days. Area-wide accumulations will probably be measured in tenths of an inch, if that.

Thursday and Friday

Warmer weather will hang around as a cold front backs into the area from the northeast. These northeasterly winds should arrive by sometime on Friday, but we may not feel the drier or moderately cooler air until Friday night or Saturday morning. Until then we can expect more warm days and muggy nights, with slight rain chances.

Dewpoints early on Saturday morning show drier air “backdooring” into Houston. (Weather Bell)

Saturday and Sunday

Houston is going to have a great weekend to end September and begin October. It’s not going to be cold by any stretch, but the air will be drier and that will make a big difference. Expect mostly sunny skies with highs most likely in the mid-80s. Overnight temperatures should fall to the mid-60s for inland areas, with warmer conditions near the coast.

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As expected, Thursday produced some heavy showers across the metro area, with as much as 3 inches of rain falling in parts of Clear Lake. Fortunately, the deeper moisture associated with these heavy rains should now move off to the west—giving Houston some drier weather in the days ahead.

Friday and Saturday

A few showers and thunderstorms will be possible, but for the most part the combination of lower atmospheric moisture levels and sinking air should reduce rain chances both days. You may still want to take an umbrella with you for a stray storm, but if you’re planning an outdoor activity chances are you’ll be fine. Mostly, it’s just going to be hot, with highs of around 90 degrees, and humid.

Precipitable water levels on Friday and Saturday are forecast to be comfortably below 2.0 inches, which should limit rain showers. (Weather Bell)

Sunday and Monday

Moisture levels creep back up during the second half of the weekend, but again, the atmospheric dynamics do not appear to be such that we’re going to see widespread showers like on Thursday. Instead, expect scattered storms, with most of Houston seeing moderate amounts or no rainfall. Temperatures remain warm, with highs near 90 degrees.

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