We’re sick of the rain. You’re sick of the rain. But it’s not done with us yet.
Moisture streaming in from the Gulf of Mexico has fueled strong showers and thunderstorms across much of Houston today, but the effects have been worst just north and east of the city. Areas between Humble and Crosby have seen 5 inches of rain today, leading to significant street flooding in some locations. So far, bayous and creeks remain within banks.
The worst storms are presently slowly marching north of the hardest hit areas, but additional rounds of showers will be possible this afternoon. Activity should begin to wane by around 6pm CT, and shut off entirely by around sunset.
More rain is possible on Tuesday, but it should be less intense, and concentrated more to the south and west of Houston. How confident are we in that forecast? Not particularly given how badly today’s heavy rains were forecast.
Good morning. The two major talking points heading into a new week are recapping the wet week that was, and looking ahead to when these rains will end. (They will end, I promise, despite our repeatedly wrong forecasts about the timing of all this). First of all, let’s look at the region’s rainfall from Sunday morning, May 16, through Sunday, May 23. Anywhere in red on the map below received 5 inches during the last week, and the areas in Barney purple got 10 inches or more. Those few pixels in white received 20 inches.
Some areas near Matagorda Bay and the general region of Beaumont and Lake Charles flooded significantly during this event. However, the Houston region—which we define as Harris County and immediately adjacent counties—largely fared OK. In fact, these rains obliterated an emerging drought. Last week’s drought report showed only a few pockets of “abnormally dry” soils near Houston, and those will be gone when the new report comes out this Thursday. The upper Texas coast in an excellent posture, rainfall wise, as we approach summer.
Of course the rains didn’t end on Sunday. Some parts of our region picked up another 1 to 2 inches on Sunday, as deep tropical moisture continued to funnel into the Texas coast. If you remember, over the course of the last week, this humble website initially predicted the widespread rains would end on Friday, and then on Saturday, and then on Sunday. And well, he were are on Monday morning, and showers are still streaming into Matagorda.
So when is it really going to end, Eric, you may ask? My answer is probably Wednesday, and for sure on Thursday. More in the daily forecast below.
The overall setup remains the same, with moisture streaming in from the Gulf of Mexico today. However, areas east of Interstate 45 are increasingly unlikely to see more than light rain today and for the rest of the week.
However, areas along and west of Interstate 45—including the hard hit Matagorda Bay region—may continue to see at least moderate showers today. Accumulations of 1 to 2 inches are possible in these regions. Skies will otherwise be cloudy, with high temperatures getting up to around 80 degrees. Rain chances should slacken considerably this evening.
Rain chances will return on Tuesday, although we expect less coverage as the potential for moderate to heavy rain continues to slide further west of Houston. Highs will again reach around 80 degrees, or perhaps a degree or two warmer. The sunshine may peek out through the clouds for a little bit, but no promises.
The reason we’re confident that the rains will end this week is that high pressure will build into Houston from the east and limit the ability of moisture at the surface to rise. We expect Wednesday to be somewhat of a transition day, with partly sunny skies but still a lingering chance—maybe 30 percent?—of light showers. Highs will reach the mid-80s.
Thursday and Friday
We’re pretty confident that high pressure will lead to mostly sunny skies for the second half of the week. This will drive temperatures into the mid-80s to about 90 degrees, with warm nights in the low 70s.
Saturday and Sunday
Right now the weekend looks to remain mostly sunny, with continued warm temperatures in the upper 80s. There is a slight chance of showers on Saturday, but for now I’m thinking we’re going to enter a mostly dry pattern that will become difficult to break.
Just a quick post on this Saturday morning to say that we’re still expecting a wet, but not particularly disruptive weekend for the Houston metro area.
As expected, the Gulf of Mexico tropical disturbance has moved inland into the central Texas coast overnight without developing. The strong easterly winds—Galveston briefly saw wind gusts of about 30 mph around midnight—resulting from this system should subside today and tides will slowly come down over the next couple of days.
Otherwise the story of the day will continue to be on-and-off rain showers with the potential for isolated heavy rain showers. I expect most of Houston will see between 0.5 to 1.5 inches of rain today and tonight, with rain chances beginning to slacken by around sunset give or take a few hours.
The potential for heavy rainfall ends after today, but we’ll continue to see a decent chance of showers on Sunday and into early next week. Chances most days will be in the 30 to 40 percent range, with modest accumulations. Beginning on Monday or Tuesday, days should steadily become more sunny, and temperatures will rise from highs of about 80 degrees to the upper 80s by week’s end.
Good morning, Houston. The radar is quiet as the sun begins to rise, but it’s not expected to remain so. We still anticipate a pair of rainy, but not menacing days, before we finally move beyond the persistent threat of rain on Sunday. The Atlantic tropics are also starting to heat up, but again, we don’t see any really significant threat from this. More on the tropics below.
I’ve had so many questions from readers about the weather for this Friday and Saturday that I know many of you have outdoor activities planned for this weekend. So for those of you with birthday celebrations, graduations, and weddings, I am sorry. The news is not great. It’s gonna rain.
Showers should remain rather scattered this morning, before becoming more widespread this afternoon. We may also see a few stronger thunderstorms that produce some briefly heavy rain. However, these showers should scoot through the area, from southeast to northwest, at a pretty good clip, helping to limit accumulations. Totals for most people today should be on the order of 0.5 inch, with some areas seeing more, some less. Highs today will reach about 80 degrees, with plenty of humidity, and skies will of course be mostly cloudy. Rain chances back off during the evening and overnight hours, with lows only dropping to around 70 degrees.
We’re not sure when the bulk of the precipitation is going to come on Saturday, whether its largely during the overnight hours into the morning, or whether it’s more of a midday or afternoon thing. What we can generally say is that most areas will probably see about 1 inch of rain, give or take, and the better chances for heavier rainfall will lie west of Interstate 45. The bottom line is that while this rain will put a damper on outdoor activities during the daytime, I think things should begin to clear out during the evening and overnight hours. Highs will again be around 80 degrees.
We can’t rule out some light showers again on Sunday, but I think these will primarily occur west of Interstate 45 and should be fleeting. Skies will start out cloudy, but we may see a few flecks of sunshine before the day ends. Highs will again reach about 80 degrees.
Rain chances won’t be zero next week, but they’ll be in the 20 percent range for most days, with overall very low accumulations. Highs will climb into the mid, and probably upper 80s as skies turn from partly to mostly sunny by mid-week. We might reach the 90s by next weekend.
So what’s going on in the tropics? I want to talk about three things. First of all, not much has changed with the Gulf of Mexico disturbance overnight. It’s still there, it’s still disorganized, but it still has a narrow window to develop into a tropical depression as it moves toward the Texas coast. The National Hurricane Center gives the system a 40 percent chance of becoming a depression before moving into Texas tonight. Even so, we don’t think it will change our forecast much. If that changes, we will of course update later today.
Another system in the open Atlantic is more likely to become a subtropical storm over the next day or two. This one won’t affect land, but would gain the name “Ana,” and become the Atlantic season’s first named storm even though the season doesn’t begin until June 1. A weak storm forming before the official beginning of hurricane season happens fairly regularly, so it’s nothing to get alarmed about.
Finally, NOAA released its Atlantic hurricane outlook on Thursday, and it calls for an “above normal” hurricane season, with 13 to 20 named storms. This is in line with other season predictions, and I just want to reiterate what we wrote in April about all of this.
Seasonal hurricane forecasts are far from perfect. I think, generally, we can expect a busier Atlantic season, but we’re almost certainly not going to see a brute of a year like 2020. Moreover, the chance of the Houston area being directly affected by serious tropical weather (in terms of floods, winds, or surge) is pretty low. Historically, the region only sees a significant storm about once a decade or so. Therefore, while it certainly is time to begin planning for the 2021 Atlantic season, I very much do not want you to start worrying or obsessing about it. Matt and I will, of course, be here every step of the way.
We’ll be back with another post this evening, or Saturday morning, to wrap up the Gulf disturbance situation, and our expectations for rainfall on Sunday.