Month: May 2019

High pressure begins to clamp down on Houston

Posted by Eric Berger at 6:47 AM

The story for the remainder of May will be building heat, the absence of rain, and lots and lots of sunshine. This isn’t full-on summer with highs in the mid- to upper-90s, but it’s darn close. We haven’t really experienced this kind of sustained heat in eight or nine months, so be sure and take care during any outdoor activities.

Thursday

The atmosphere may be able to squeeze out a few isolated showers today, especially to the southwest of the Houston area, but for the most part this will be a dry day today. A wind advisory will remain in effect along the coast, with gusts up to 30 mph. Otherwise, we can expect a partly sunny day with high temperatures of about 90 degrees.

Friday

This day will be a lot like Thursday, albeit with slightly lesser winds and rain chances near zero.

Summer, for as far as the eye can see. (Weather Bell)

Memorial Day Weekend

Not much to say as high pressure exerts control over our weather. Look for lots of sunshine, with highs in the low 90s, and overnight low temperatures in the mid-70s.

Next week

The Memorial Day weekend pattern of mostly sunny skies and hot days will persist through much of next week. A slight chance of afternoon showers, likely due to the sea breeze, may creep back into the forecast by Tuesday or Wednesday. Forecast models are showing some slightly better rain chances by Thursday or Friday as the ridge of high pressure weakens somewhat. We shall see.

The story over the next couple of days will be high pressure building in from the east—where a dominant ridge will probably bring some 100-degree weather to Atlanta or other parts of Georgia and South Carolina—that will push Houston’s temperatures to around 90 degrees. Memorial Day Weekend, in a word, looks very summer-like.

Why has it been so windy? Houston is caught between high pressure in the east, and low pressure to the west. (Pivotal Weather)

Wednesday

Today will be another breezy affair as winds again blow from high pressure in the east to lower pressure over western Texas and the plains states. Although not quite as windy as Tuesday, we can probably expect some gusts to reach about 25mph. Due to these robust onshore winds, a Coastal Flood Advisory remains in place, although waters are unlikely to get as high as they did on Tuesday. Look for clearing skies this afternoon, with high temperatures in the upper 80s to 90 degrees.

Thursday

This will be another transition day as high pressure continues to build in from the east. We can’t entirely rule out a few isolated showers, but for the most part this should be a partly sunny, breezy day with highs in the upper 80s.

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Houston will have one fairly dynamic weather day on Tuesday before high pressure takes control for the rest of the week, and probably at least early next week. There are three weather concerns to discuss today:

High winds: A wind advisory is in effect for the entire region through 6pm Tuesday as winds race onshore. Gusts of 25 to 35mph will be possible before there is some easing later this afternoon and during the overnight hours.

Coastal flooding: Because of those strong onshore winds, a Coastal Flood Warning in effect for the coast from High Island to Freeport, including areas surrounding Galveston Bay. Elevated water levels and high wave run up will cause coastal flooding near times of high tide today. Portions of low lying areas and roads along the bay could flood. This includes portions of Todville Road in Seabrook, and lower sections of Red Bluff Road between Bay Area Blvd and Highway 146.

The HRRR model forecast for 4pm CT Tuesday shows a broken line of storms moving into Houston. (Weather Bell)

Thunderstorms: Areas north of Interstate 10 in Houston face a minor risk of strong thunderstorms this afternoon as a (likely) broken line of showers and thunderstorms traverse the area from west to east. We can’t rule out some isolated hail, but the overall risk appears fairly low.

Otherwise, inland areas will see rain chances in the 30 to 50 percent range today, and the coast 10 to 30 percent as this line of storms pushes through this afternoon and early evening. Any accumulations should be slight, and given the dry weather that lies ahead I’d rather have the rain than not. Highs, otherwise, should be in the upper 80s under mostly cloudy skies.

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After the potential for storms fizzled on Saturday night—the worst of them simply passed well north of Houston—the region’s story now turns toward heat as we get deeper into May and closer to June. (We are but one month and one day away from the summer solstice, when the Sun reaches the highest point in the sky). Although daytime highs have not been at all oppressive, our nights have turned muggy and warm. On Sunday College Station (77 degrees) and Bush Intercontinental Airport (78) both tied records for warmest “minimum” temperatures, and Houston’s Hobby Airport (79) broke a record of 78 degrees set in 2017. We’re experiencing more of the same on Monday morning.

Monday

Today should eventually bring mostly sunny skies, allowing highs to tick up into the upper 80s, if not 90 degrees. Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of our weather will be southeasterly winds really starting to blow this afternoon, perhaps gusting to 25mph or higher.

Severe weather outlook for Monday and Monday night. (NOAA)

This will offer a nice illustration of how weather around the country (indeed, the world) is connected). These winds will be blowing from high pressure in the east toward low pressure and a strong storm system over northern Texas and Oklahoma. If you’re traveling toward the Panhandle today, take care, as there is a high potential for severe weather, including some very strong tornadoes. For Houston, Monday night will be another warm one.

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