Month: February 2019

Clearing up through the weekend

Posted by Matt Lanza at 5:48 AM

The good news is that the worst of the weather the next couple days will likely miss the Houston area well to the northeast. The bad news is that we will still have multiple rain chances to contend with through tomorrow before we get on to the good stuff.

Today

While today should not be a washout, there will be plenty of shower activity around. Initially, showers are west of Houston near Katy and north up through Conroe.

Radar this morning shows most shower activity from about Katy north through Tomball and into Conroe. (RadarScope)

As we go into this afternoon, I think we’ll see the focus of these showers shift east of I-45 and north of I-10. Thunderstorms will also be possible, but with the area likely to see some degree of atmospheric capping (“the cap,” as it’s often referred to, which is basically an atmospheric temperature inversion that inhibits thunderstorm growth) I don’t think we will see too much in the way of significant storms. That will be reserved for areas well north of Houston, up toward the ArkLaTex.

Yesterday was cold and drizzly. Today will begin similarly. We should see temps warm a bit further today though and manage at least the upper-60s in Houston, mid-60s in The Woodlands, and low-60s in the Brazos Valley. That being said, sometimes temperatures behave very stubbornly in these types of patterns, so there’s a definite slight chance we don’t get out of the 50s until later tonight. Keep the jacket handy.

For at least the 500th* time this month, fog is pestering the coast this morning once again.
*approximate

Dense fog is an issue along the coast and in the bays, so give yourself extra time if you are traveling to or from those areas today. (NWS Houston)

Dense fog is likely to hang along the coast and in the bays most of the day today. Exercise caution if you’ll be driving to or from those areas today.

Tonight

We will carry a continued chance of showers through the night, but no heavy activity is expected. It may be more mist or drizzle than anything, with a gradual transition toward showers. Fog will continue in the bays and along the coast, though it could begin to become a little more dispersed at times overnight as winds pick up a bit. Look for temperatures to hold steady or finally rise into the mid- to upper-60s if they haven’t gotten there this afternoon.

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As high pressure has scooted east of the area, low pressure has returned, and along with it plenty of moisture that will fall as rain the next few days. Rain chances will remain above 50 percent through Saturday, before a front arrives to bring us some much nicer weather—we still anticipate an outstanding second half of the weekend.

Thursday

Rains developed offshore late Wednesday, and have moved into coastal areas this morning. So far amounts have been more than manageable, with about one-quarter inch the maximum amount. But this surge of low-level moisture and low pressure will nonetheless make for a wet and gray day, with highs struggling to reach 60 degrees. Most of the area likely will not see more than one-quarter to one-half inch of rain. With the southerly flow, temperatures Thursday night will not fall much as on-and-off mostly light to moderate showers continue.

NOAA rain accumulation forecast for Thursday. (Pivotal Weather)

Friday

Friday will be warmer, with cloudy skies, and highs in the 70s. With more moisture moving in Friday, we can expect more come-and-go rain showers. Again, there should be no real concerns with accumulations, as this will be just another gray, wet, albeit warmer day in Houston. The greater rain accumulations—one inch or more—should occur well to the north and northeast of the region. Lows Friday night may not fall below 70 along the coast, and probably will only drop into the upper 60s for the city.

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A cold front pushed through the region Tuesday night, and this should give us a brief bit of drier air and sunshine today before clouds and intermittent light rain return for the rest of the week. The next nice day should come Sunday before rain chances return on—you guessed it—Monday.

Wednesday

It’s chilly this morning, with lows in the mid-40s, and cloudy skies. However, as drier air moves in from the west we’ll see some clearing skies and this afternoon should be pretty nice with partly to mostly sunny skies, and highs in the mid-60s. This should last about through this evening as high pressure exits to the east, and low pressure returns. This will lead to an influx of moisture, clouds and rising rain chances tonight.

Atmospheric moisture levels (precipitable water) for Wednesday afternoon (left), and Thursday afternoon. (Pivotal Weather)

Thursday

As the image above shows, moisture will return rapidly, with drier air Wednesday giving way to moisture return from the Gulf of Mexico by Thursday. Showers and a few thunderstorms will be possible Thursday across the region, but for most accumulations should be a few tenths of an inch of rain, or less. Highs will be around 60 under leaden skies.

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Houston feeling the El Niño pattern this winter

Posted by Eric Berger at 6:52 AM

After a stretch of intermittently sunny weather, with mostly rain-free days, Houston now returns to a more gloomy pattern. Several readers have asked why this winter has been so wet and gray, and the reason is generally due to the recent formation of a weak El Niño in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. This pattern generally favors a wetter winter, and that’s precisely what we’re going to get for the rest of February, at least. (El Niño is not expected to continue into the summer, so it’s unlikely to affect the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season).

January was a typical month during a weak El Nino, with 1-2 inches of rain more than normal for most of Houston. (National Weather Service)

Tuesday

Today will be especially wet and gray, with near 100 percent rain chances for Houston. Until around sunset, bands of light to moderate rain will pulse into the region from the Gulf of Mexico as an upper-level storm system moves through the area. While conditions for heavier rain are better to the east and northeast of Houston (parts of Arkansas could see in excess of 3 inches of rain), for our region we expect most areas to receive under 0.5 inch today. Still, it will be cloudy, and cold, with highs unlikely to reach 60 degrees. Lows Tuesday night will probably fall to around 50.

Wednesday

This has the potential to be a nicer day. Sometime early Wednesday, a cold front associated with Tuesday’s rain showers will push through Houston. This will be a relatively weak front, but it should bring some drier air, and therefore rain chances for the daytime on Wednesday are fairly low. We may also see some sunshine during the afternoon and evening hours as highs rise into the low 60s.

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