Posted by Eric Berger at 8:13 AM
After rather sedate weather on Christmas Day, Houston will fall into a more dynamic weather pattern beginning later on Wednesday, with a front tonight and some potentially severe storms. No one wants a system like this, but at least it’s likely to strike during the overnight hours when most people are at home rather than out and about.
Temperatures are warm and muggy this morning, generally in the low 60s, which is more typical for highs this time of year rather than lows. Some showers and a few thunderstorms will be possible later this morning and this afternoon, but we’re not too concerned about accumulations (probably one-half inch or less for most areas). Highs today will probably top out at about 70 degrees under cloudy skies.
Severe weather outlook for Wednesday and Wednesday night. (NOAA)
After any daytime showers, we think there probably will be diminished rain chances this evening through at least about midnight. However, after that time a line of (likely) strong showers and thunderstorms will sweep from west to east, ahead of a cold front. It seems likely the line of storms will reach the College Station area between midnight and 3am, and push through the Houston area between 3am and 6am. The storms should be clearing the area by around sunrise or shortly thereafter. The primary threat is damaging winds, with a lesser threat of tornadoes (which should be short-lived).
In terms of rainfall, I don’t have a great amount of confidence in the forecast. A lot of models show a fairly progressive system, that should limit accumulations to 1-2 inches for most of the metro area. On the other hand, a few models are showing 2-4 inches, and several recent rain events have out-performed the model forecasts. My best guess is for 1-3 inches today and tonight, with higher isolated totals of 5 inches possible. The threat of heavier rain is generally to the north and west of metro Houston.
Posted by Eric Berger at 7:47 AM
On this Christmas Eve morning, I want to take a moment to thank all the people who work in retail, at restaurants, deliver packages and perform other services during the long holiday hours. This is hard work, especially at this very hectic time. Thank you.
Our clear skies—that Moon has been something else the last few nights—will now give way to partly to mostly cloudy skies for most of this week. The culprit is the weak cold front that eased through Houston early on Sunday. After moving offshore it stalled, and it is now moving back onshore as “warm” front. This will help set the stage for warmer, and more humid weather until later Thursday.
We should still see some sunshine today, and highs probably will get up into the mid- to upper-60s with easterly winds. But by this afternoon or evening, skies should turn mostly cloudy, and I only expect areas well away from the coast to fall below 60 degrees.
Christmas Day high temperatures. (National Weather Service)
The holiday will dawn warm and gray, with some fog possible as warm air moves over the ground. The day may be fairly dreary, with light, spotty showers possible and 99 to 100 percent cloud cover. Highs probably will get into the low 70s, despite the clouds, which is really quite warm for a December day without direct sunshine. Is there any good news? The only real good news is that stormy weather will hold off until at least Wednesday.
Posted by Eric Berger at 10:00 AM
There are several ways to define the beginning of winter—the onset of cold weather, Dec. 1, or the winter solstice. The latter is today, and because we’re only now publishing our winter forecast for Texas, for the purposes of this post we choose to define winter this year as the period from Dec. 21 through March 20, the spring equinox. Anyway, we’re expecting slightly cooler, and wetter conditions.
After a cold November—remember the early freeze and trace of snow?—conditions so far this December have been fairly standard for Houston. Temperatures have been near normal, and there’s yet to be a freeze. The next week or so should be fairly warm for this time of year, with highs generally in the low 70s, before a cooldown to end the year.
The dominant factor for our weather in January, February, and early March should be the arrival of El Niño, warmer sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean that have effects downstream. Generally, this tends to make temperatures a bit cooler in Texas, and wetter, with a more active storm pattern over the southern United States. The official NOAA forecast, just released Thursday, shows near-normal temperatures for Texas for the January through March period.
NOAA temperature outlook for January, February, and March.
This is probably accurate, although we expect to see a couple of rather strong fronts during the coming months, with the coldest period most likely coming during the first half of February. The bottom line is that although the last 10 days of December may be fairly warm, we do not expect this trend to continue through the winter.
Posted by Matt Lanza at 5:39 AM
We’ll be starting off the Christmas period with a bang today and tomorrow before some clouds build in for the holiday, followed by a potentially active period of weather later next week. Let’s dive into the details.
Today & Saturday
As we officially begin winter at 4:23 PM today, the season kicks off on a beautiful note. We had lots of wind yesterday, but most of that is gone now, and we’ll see sunshine with mid-60s this afternoon. A cool, crisp night in the low- to mid-40s will follow tonight. Look for essentially a repeat of Friday on Saturday, along with several degrees of added temperature. We’ll do mid-70s on Saturday under sunny skies.
It may be a bit warm for December, but it will really be a nice day Saturday. (NWS Houston)
It should be a stunner.
A weak cold front will approach the area on Sunday morning and afternoon. After starting the day in the milder mid-50s, we should see our afternoon capped in the mid- or upper-60s. Sunday will probably have a few more clouds at times, though I think we will still see majority sunshine. A stray shower can’t be ruled out with the front, but most folks should stay dry. Some patchy fog is possible around Galveston Bay or on Galveston Island Sunday morning.