According to the latest US Drought Monitor, no drought has crept into the entirety of the Houston metro area, and only extreme southern Brazoria County is seeing “abnormally dry” conditions. And yet for large chunks of the Houston area, this has been a dry spring. Galveston, for example, has notched a rainfall deficit of about 6 inches just for this calendar year.
This is true for a lot of coastal parts of the region as well. And because our forecast looks quite dry after Saturday, there’s a lot riding on rainfall chances Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately, they’re not overwhelmingly great for the Houston area.
The high temperature inched up to 87 degrees at Bush Intercontinental Airport on Wednesday, and some locations were a smidge warmer than that. This is the warmest the region has gotten so far in 2018—welcome to what most of May is going to feel like.
After a warm, muggy start in the low 70s, today will be another warm one, with highs likely reaching into the upper 80s for most of Houston despite pervasive clouds across the area. Rain chances will again be near zero. The other noticeable feature will again be those brisk southerly and southeasterly winds, which will gust up to around 20 mph. Lows again tonight will probably only fall into the lower 70s.
We are now just less than one month away from the beginning of hurricane season (June 1). Despite what you may have heard, forecasters have very little sense of what will come this season, as there aren’t any strong climatic signals at this point. The most probable outcome is a near-normal, or slightly more active season than normal in the Atlantic, but this really means nothing. If just three hurricanes form in 2018, but they’re all in the Gulf of Mexico, that’s a busy year. If no hurricanes come into the Gulf of Mexico, but a slow-moving tropical storm stalls over Houston, that’s a really busy year. The bottom line is that you should have a plan for this if you live here.
If a hurricane threatens, will you evacuate from the storm surge? If so, where will you (and any pets) go? How will you get there?
If you’re staying behind, the time to load in supplies is not 24 hours before landfall. The stores will be picked clean by then.
Buy flood insurance now. It takes 30 days to kick in.
I’ll add one more suggestion: Don’t freak out. Storms like Hurricane Harvey are rare, rare beasts. The chance of Houston seeing significant effects from tropical weather are, historically, only about once every five to 10 years, and a large, powerful hurricane typically only affects Houston about every 20 years. So be prepared, but not paranoid. (Also, you can be thankful for Reliant, which has sponsored Space City Weather all year, so we’ll be with you every step of the way during hurricane season).
And just like that, with the transition from April to May, spring as we knew it is gone. Monday morning’s low temperature across most of Houston fell into the upper 50s. On Tuesday morning, the low has only fallen to around 70 degrees. We certainly will see a few more cool fronts this season, but I doubt we’ll see many (or more probably, any) more highs in the 70s or cooler nights in the 50s. I would love to be wrong—but I don’t think I am.
Today will be another partly to perhaps mostly cloudy day, as the onshore flow continues to blow moisture into the Houston region. Due to clouds this afternoon, highs will likely remain in the low 80s, but it’s going to be another warmish night, with lows only falling to around 70 degrees.