Month: October 2019

It will feel more like a winter day today than a mid-autumn one as we struggle to get out of the 50s! Dress appropriately. Read on for details, as well as the latest thinking for Halloween.

Today

The cold front is already through basically the entire Houston area as of early this morning. Temperatures are noticeably colder this morning.

Temperatures were in the 50s over much of the area as of 5:30 AM Friday with the cold front approaching Beaumont. (NWS)

Most places have dropped into the 50s, and if they haven’t they will soon.

The heaviest rainfall is exiting Houston as I write this post. Look for continued clouds and showers or light rain through the afternoon, along with a good bit of cloud cover. There is a slight chance we do clear out in the afternoon, setting up a nice back half of the day, but right now we would lean toward clouds. Additional rainfall totals should be rather light. We did see some impressive rains overnight.

Rain totals as of 5:30 this morning are approaching 4 inches in some spots southeast of Houston. (Harris County Flood Control)

Unfortunately, the areas west of Houston that needed the rain most saw the least with a half-inch or less in most spots. As you move south or east of downtown Houston, rain totals increased. The area around Santa Fe seems to be the jackpot with close to 4 inches falling.

Temperatures should hold in the 50s for much of the day, maybe inching back up close to 60 degrees, especially west of Houston. Winds will continue gusty at times, generally up to 20 to 25 mph inland and 30 to 35 mph along the coast or bays. Higher gusts are possible in a few spots.

Saturday

If there are still a few clouds Saturday morning, don’t be surprised, but I expect we will clear out rapidly and entirely by afternoon. Winds will gradually subside as well, and all in all Saturday should be a nice day. After a morning low near 50° or in the low-50s, we should warm to the middle or upper-60s.

Sunday

Another fine day is in store on Sunday. We will start off in the 50s (near 60 along the coast) and warm into the 70s on Sunday afternoon. Look for oodles of sunshine, really a sublime day.

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Good morning. Muggier weather will briefly return on Thursday before a cold front pushes into Houston on Friday morning. This frontal passage will bring some fairly heavy rainfall to the region from about midnight Thursday through noon Friday, before much cooler air arrives for the weekend. Saturday and Sunday should be brilliantly fall-like.

Thursday

Breezy conditions today will help pull moisture into the region, but we should still see partly sunny skies this morning. (A coastal flood advisory is in effect due to the pronounced onshore flow). High temperatures will likely get into the low 80s, limited later this afternoon by some developing clouds. Some scattered showers are possible later today, but for the most part any heavy rain should hold off until tonight, probably at least a couple of hours after sunset.

Timing of Thursday night and Friday morning’s front. (National Weather Service)

Thursday night through Friday morning

The cold front should reach College Station by around 10pm Thursday night, push into Houston a couple of hours after midnight, and move off the coast before sunrise. The combination of the front, ample Gulf moisture, and favorable dynamics in the upper atmosphere will help generate a broad line of showers and thunderstorms as the front pushes slowly to the southeast. Most parts of the Houston area will likely see 1 to 2 inches of rain between midnight and noon, although we can’t rule out few isolated areas—most likely in Liberty and Galveston counties—seeing up to 4 inches.

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After Tuesday’s stellar weather, conditions will turn a little bit warmer before a cold front sweeps into the area toward the end of the week. The big question remains when this will happen—anywhere from early to late Friday—and this timing will help determine how wet things get in Houston.

Wednesday

Most of the region is starting out this morning somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 degrees. An east wind will turn southeasterly later today, allowing for the onshore flow to resume. Winds could become a bit gusty this afternoon. All in all, however, this still should be a pretty nice fall day with high temperatures tickling 80 degrees and mostly sunny skies. Lows tonight should fall into the mid-60s for central Houston, a bit warmer to the north, and a bit cooler to the south.

Highs Thursday will reach the 80s for much of Texas ahead of the next cold front. (Pivotal Weather)

Thursday

This should be a more cloudy affair, as moisture begins to stream inland. This will augur the potential for some heavier rain, but for now this appears unlikely before sunset, and most likely after midnight. Highs Thursday will be in the low 80s, with ample humidity, and lows Thursday night probably won’t drop much below 70 degrees.

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Note: We’re big fans of the Capital Weather Gang site in Washington D.C. So to mark the beginning of the World Series between the Astros and Nationals, we have agreed to publish their best attempt to trash talk Houston’s weather. In turn, Matt and I got to set the record straight on their site about catastrophe that is Washington’s bullpen, err, weather. Here, then, is why Houston’s weather allegedly sucks. 

Houston: You have a weather problem. From hurricanes, to 500-year floods, and the relentless heat, I am not sure how you stand it. Washington’s weather is clearly superior.

We Washingtonians like to whine about our hellish heat and humidity, which occupies about two months of summer here, from roughly mid-June to mid-August. In your city, it starts to feel gross outside starting in April or May and doesn’t abate until around now.

Let’s examine this year, for example. You’ve already posted 10 days with highs in the 90s and lows in the 70s in October. You’re running your air conditioners full blast when you should be outside in the crisp autumn air picking apples and pumpkins while watching the leaves change.

There’s been a lot of October heat in Houston. (NWS)

Seasons are something you know little about. You have six months of summer and six months of “meh.” Fortunately, you’re about to enter “meh” when you’ll finally be able to step outside again without sweating through your clothes.

As your average high temperatures fall through the 70s and 60s, you’ll be able to boast about some nice days between November and April. But, frankly, these days have little to offer. It will neither be warm enough to be out at the pool nor cold enough to enjoy winter activities like skiing and sledding, sadly foreign to you.

For anyone who likes snow, your city is a nightmare. It’s cute in a pathetic sort of way that a local news organization writes “Snow in Houston happens more than you think” when measurable snow has fallen at Houston Hobby airport just 10 times in the last 89 years, the most being 4.4 inches on Feb. 12, 1960.

Washington isn’t exactly a snow town, but it averages about as much of the white stuff in one winter as you’ve seen since 1930. (Yes, we are aware that 20 inches fell in your city in 1895 during a single storm and, props, that was impressive.)

Now let’s talk about rain. I need to be sensitive here because I feel for the folks who have been flooded repeatedly over the past few years. But the deluges you’ve dealt with are perhaps the most challenging and unsettling aspect of Houston’s climate.

You’re probably painfully aware that five exceptional rain events have inundated your region in the last five years, some  of them, like Harvey and Imelda, considered 500-year rainstorms.

An all-too-familiar scene in Houston. (HCSO)

Likely fueled by climate change and exacerbated by land-use decisions, the situation is getting worse. Since 1970, your average yearly rainfall has climbed between four and eight inches.

It is true that Washington can be rather soggy, and 2018 was our wettest year on record. But the rain we see is but a sprinkle compared to the tropical torrents in your city. Unlike Houston, which can get hit by hurricanes head-on, the tropical storms affecting Washington are typically weaker since they first pass over tens of miles of land.

For having four real seasons and for our tamer breed of heat and rain storms, we’ve got you beat in the weather department, Houston. Trust that our winning ways will carry over to this week’s World Series.

Jason Samenow is The Washington Post’s weather editor.