Month: July 2020

July to end with a cold front? Really?

Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:58 AM

In summertime, few things are coveted more in Houston than a cold front, and as we flip the calendar from July to August, we’re going to get just that. Now, don’t get too excited. It is not really going to translate into opening the windows and letting the gloriousness flow.

It’s not going to feel quite this nice this weekend, unfortunately.

Rather, this will probably bring us some rain chances, perhaps some strong storms today, and maybe a tinge less humidity than we’ve had late this week. But beyond that? Not much. We never really, truly cool off. Let’s go through the details

Today & tonight

For the most part, today looks fine. Expect a mix of sun and clouds, along with very hot weather. Look for mid-90s and high humidity. Rain chances in Houston and points south should be confined to primarily just a passing downpour. During the afternoon, we expect showers and storms to fire up between Dallas and Huntsville. Those storms will drop into the northern third of the metro area by late afternoon, with places like Conroe or The Woodlands or northwest Harris County standing the best chance at storms before 5 to 7 PM or so.

The Storm Prediction Center has areas north of Houston in a “marginal” (1/5) risk for severe weather today. Any severe storms should be fairly isolated. (NOAA)

Storms today do have the potential to be strong to severe, but we don’t expect widespread severe weather or anything like that.Strong, gusty winds and hail would be the main risks from the strongest storms.

The front will slip into metro Houston tonight. The strongest storms should begin to ease up a bit after sunset, but we wouldn’t be shocked to see some noisy storms with locally heavy rain moving through the I-10 corridor and just south through late evening and toward midnight. We should see storms generally dissipate after midnight, but if they were to continue going, it would areas south of Houston most likely to see them.

Saturday

With showers and storms generally expected to diminish overnight, we think Saturday will start mostly quiet. However, if there are some morning showers or rumbles of thunder, they would likely be close to the coast or well south of Houston toward Matagorda Bay.

I have to be honest here: Given recent model performance of late, there is still see some uncertainty in exactly how things may transpire tomorrow. But in general, look for some additional showers and storms to fire up along what is left of the cold front south of Houston (Brazoria, Matagorda, Wharton, and Jackson Counties most likely) before it dissipates. Additionally, there could be some storms that fire to the west of Houston Saturday afternoon, perhaps near the Katy area north toward Waller and Grimes Counties.For the city of Houston and points north, much of tomorrow could be a quiet and fairly pleasant summer day. But I would not place rain chances at zero. Highs will be in the low-90s with morning lows in the 70s.

Sunday

Sunday’s forecast is a bit tricky as well. The front should have basically lost any definition and fallen apart by Saturday night and Sunday morning. But there will likely still be enough of a “trigger” for thunderstorms around. However, with atmospheric moisture generally on the wane, we suspect Sunday’s storm coverage and rainfall intensity will be less than we see on Saturday. All that said, I would probably take a more pessimistic stance on Sunday than what models are explicitly showing right now (which isn’t very much in the way of rain). So let’s expect scattered storms and hope for better on Sunday.

Sunday’s high will top off in the low-90s with storms, mid-90s with only a handful of them, and we’ll see morning lows in the 70s.

Rainfall this weekend will be erratic, with some folks seeing little to no rain, others perhaps seeing a couple inches, and many seeing something in between. This map gives you an idea of where the heaviest is currently expected to fall, though that could change. (NWS via Weather Bell)

Total rainfall this weekend? Some may see locally heavy rain that could add up to an inch or two or even more. Others may not see much of any rain at all. And still more of us will see something in between, closer to a tenth or quarter-inch. The map above should just give you a rough idea of where the heaviest rain could fall.

Read More…

Good morning. After several wetter days for the region, rain chances will slacken some to end the work week before returning again Friday night. As we head into August this weekend, high temperatures will likely remain mostly in the low 90s, which is fairly “pleasant” for what is typically the hottest time of the year in Houston.

Thursday

Some drier air is mixing into the atmosphere this morning, and this should help to limit shower and thunderstorm activity later today across the region. Rain chances are likely around 20 percent for most locations. Skies should become partly to mostly sunny this afternoon, and this will allow highs to warm into the low or mid-90s for the region. Winds, generally, will be light, coming from the south. Skies should turn partly to mostly cloudy tonight, leading to warm and humid conditions, with lows struggling to fall below 80 degrees for much of the region.

NAM model forecast shows potential of storms developing early Saturday morning. (Weather Bell)

Friday

Conditions will be similar on Friday, with partly to mostly sunny skies leading to another warm day with highs in the low- to mid-90s. Later in the day a dying cool front will approach the region from the northwest. This may ultimately bring some drier air into the northern half of the metro area, but initially it may lead to some storms over areas north of Interstate 10—particularly Austin, Waller, Washington, Grimes, and Montgomery counties. Some models indicate a line of storms moving into these areas between midnight Friday and Saturday morning. We’ll continue to track this to see if it’s likely to come to fruition.

Read More…

Scattered, strong storms possible again Wednesday

Posted by Eric Berger at 7:19 AM

Although they were somewhat scattered, storms that developed Tuesday across the metro area were briefly quite intense. Cells over areas such as the Energy Corridor west of Houston, Clear Lake, and near Sienna Plantation briefly recorded rainfall rates of 4 inches per hour, quickly backing up streets. We should see a similar pattern today, with the potential for some scattered, strong storms before a few drier days.

Wednesday

Although they should number fewer than on Tuesday, showers and thunderstorms will likely develop near the coast this morning and then gradually spread inland. Probably about 30 or 40 percent of the area will see anything between a few sprinkles and briefly heavy rainfall. Between any showers, skies will be partly sunny, and this should help high temperatures warm into the low- or possibly even mid-90s for areas that see mostly sunshine. Winds will be out of the south at 5 to 10 mph. Rain chances will (mostly) die back during the evening and overnight hours.

High temperatures by Friday will rise into the mid-90s for most. (Pivotal Weather)

Thursday and Friday

Houston will lie on the periphery of high pressure and this will help to bring rain chances down to the 10 to 20 percent chance level. As a result this should be a pair of mostly sunny, hot days with highs likely reaching into the mid-90s, and possibly upper-90s for inland areas. Winds will be light, out of the south or southwest, so don’t expect too much relief from these typical days for the end of July.

Read More…

With Hurricane Hanna behind us, the obvious question is, “What’s next?” We have one system at present to watch, and then the situation gets a little trickier to figure out.

Tropical outlook in a sentence

The disturbance just dubbed “Potential Tropical Cyclone 9” by the National Hurricane Center is the one we are watching for development this week. Although we do not expect an especially strong system, it is still far too early in the game to dismiss any scenario or track.

PTC #9

The road forward on where Potential Tropical Cyclone 9 goes and what it does is a long one, and we are still at the beginning. Possibilities range from no impact at all on the United States to an impact on the Gulf, US East Coast, or something in between. Basically, everything. That’s a less than helpful forecast, but it’s the only realistic one that can be offered right now. The National Hurricane Center’s designation of this disturbance as a “potential tropical cyclone” means it has confidence a depression or storm will develop and impact land soon. They will initiate advisories on this system this morning, which will allow for watches and warnings to be issued for Caribbean islands. Their first forecast is below.

The National Hurricane Center’s opening forecast for Potential Tropical Cyclone 9. There is *very* high uncertainty on details later in the forecast. (NOAA)

From their technical discussion, it’s worth noting that there is a very high degree of uncertainty. As they note:

It cannot be stressed enough that since the system is still in the formative stage, greater than average uncertainty exists regarding both the short-term and longer-term track and intensity forecasts.

PTC 9 has some hurdles ahead. A look at the satellite image from this morning shows a lot of “stuff,” but not a lot of healthy organization right now.

Potential Tropical Cyclone 9 has a lot of thunderstorms associated with it as of this morning, but it remains mostly disorganized. (Weathernerds.org)

That shouldn’t minimize it as something to watch, but given how things have gone in recent years, it’s nice to see a disturbance struggling to organize. One of PTC 9’s problems is that it has a large size. It’s a lot easier to spin up a smaller system that grows, but this one covers a large chunk of real estate already, so to get it started requires some effort. The other problem is that there are multiple clusters of thunderstorms within the broader circulation, any of which could become dominant. That obviously has implications on the long-term track.

The disturbance is also surrounded by a lot of dust and dry air.

PTC 9 has dust or dry air to content with on its west, north, and east flanks. (University of Wisconsin CIMSS)

The problem here from a forecast standpoint is that since we don’t know where in this broad circulation the thunderstorms will consolidate to help develop a defined tropical depression or storm. we cannot quite give you a definitive starting point. Without a solid starting point, forecast accuracy 3, 5, or 7 days from now will obviously suffer.

What we can tell you is that PTC 9 has hurdles in front of it. Between the dry air, a likely encounter with a weak trough in the Bahamas Friday, and another, stronger trough over the Southern U.S. next week, as well as any land interaction on its way west, it will need to overcome some challenges and insulate itself from these threats or else it will struggle to develop.

That said, anything from where the system consolidates to how strong these troughs and other features actually are (compared to what they’re currently forecast to be) could impact where PTC 9 goes and how strong it is. For now, the best advice with this system is to not worry about it (we’re certainly not), but check back in on it every day or two to see what has changed.

And for those of you wondering, if we do get a storm out of this one, it will be named Isaias, and pronounced:

Beyond Isaias

Things get complicated beyond PTC 9/Isaias. Intriguingly, there are no other systems showing up on the models with any frequency or confidence right now. This is implying that we may enter a quiet stretch for a time again. There’s some background support for this as a feature that typically helps suppress storm development should move through the Atlantic Basin this week. On the flip side, the 2020 M.O. has been for random stuff to flare up seemingly out of nowhere. So in that sense, it’s tough to argue a quiet period.

Whatever the case, I do think we will have a slightly quieter stretch post-Isaias, with the risk of a more significant ramp up in activity by the middle or late portion of August.