Author: Matt Lanza

Officially, we won’t have a heat wave in Houston. We “only” hit 88° at Bush Airport yesterday, after Wednesday’s 90 degree high. No matter: We are in the midst of one of the hottest stretches of weather this early in the year on record. If you look at the last 4 days in Houston, our average temperature has been a whopping 78.9°. The earliest we’ve ever had a 4 day stretch that warm prior to this year was April 7-10, 1999, when we averaged 79.4° for the four days.

The hottest average temperatures for a 4-day stretch for January, February, and March, with March 23-26, 2020 supplanting the previous record in 1907 by a full degree. (NOAA)

We broke the previous record for earliest hottest 4 day stretch (1907) by a full degree. The heat continues for one more full day before a bit of a respite this weekend.

Today

Look for more of the same today. Any low clouds this morning should eventually give way to sunshine. We’ll have a steady south wind at 10 to 15 mph (Side note: The breeze yesterday afternoon was actually quite lovely, despite the abnormally warm weather). Expect highs in the upper-80s to perhaps near 90° in spots.

Another warm day ahead for the entire region. (Pivotal Weather)

We expect another muggy night ahead tonight, with lows in the upper 60s to low-70s.

Saturday

Tomorrow will start much like every other day in recent memory. But we’ll have a twist via a cold front Saturday afternoon. Expect clouds and some sun with temperatures warming into the lower 80s by late Saturday morning. Thereafter, scattered showers and a few thunderstorms with heavier downpours should begin to move west to east across the area. Any severe weather should be off to the northeast and out of the Houston area. Rain-wise, it wouldn’t be shocking to see some places receive no rainfall with the front. Those would be mainly southwest of Houston. Other areas could see a few tenths of an inch or even more if any heavier storms develop.

Temperatures will drop only a couple degrees behind the front, into the 70s, as it moves across the area between about Noon and 5 PM.

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I filled in for Eric all of last week, which feels like it was 25 years ago at this point. Between the profound changes to our daily lives and the lack of virtually any day to day change in our weather since then, it certainly has felt like a warmer version of “Groundhog Day.” Alas! As Eric has been discussing all week, changes are on the way. They begin today. And they continue next week. Break out the shorts. I explain below.

Today & tonight

Rain is falling this morning basically on a line from Columbus in the west to Conroe in the north. Some areas just west of The Woodlands have picked up close to an inch of rain so far today. We’re also watching a batch of storms between San Antonio and Victoria that will try and work across parts of the area this morning.

Rain and thunderstorms are mostly north and west of Houston this morning, but we’re watching some storms southwest of Houston that could move in later this morning. (College of DuPage)

I think a good rule of thumb for the Houston area this morning: Rain will be most likely north or west of US-59. As we go through the morning and into this afternoon, rain will continue to creep south and east but a lot of the support for heavier rain and storms should sneak off to our east. This means while many of us will see some rain today, it will become less concentrated, more scattered, and less significant as we go into this afternoon, even with the front approaching.

Rain totals should be quite variable. Areas north of Harris County should see 1-3″ total today. For northern Fort Bend and northwest Harris Counties, expect an inch or so, give or take a few tenths. For southern Fort Bend and southeast Harris Counties to the coast, some folks may be lucky to see even a quarter-inch of rain from this.

Total rainfall through midnight will range from 1-2″ or more in far northern reaches of our area to maybe a quarter-inch near the coast. (Weather Bell)

Outside of minor street flooding issues north of the Houston area where the heaviest rain falls, we do not anticipate any real flooding problems today.

Timing-wise: The shift to offshore winds should move through northern and western suburbs soon and before midday. It should pass Downtown Houston around early afternoon and reach the coast by late afternoon. Once the front (or pre-frontal trough) passes, we’ll see temperatures stop rising. So that means there will be a wide disparity in temperatures today. We’ll drop from the 70s into the 60s in far northwest suburbs. For Houston and points south and east, we should get close to 80 or warmer again before the front clears the area and drops us into the 60s and low-70s.

Temperatures will continue to drift downward tonight, dropping into the 50s just about everywhere except coastal counties. Houston proper will bottom out near 60 degrees. Look for a few showers tonight, likely coming to an end.

Saturday

The morning should just be mostly cloudy but dry for most folks. If you’ve been trying to get outside for an hour or two each day, I would strongly recommend the morning, especially north of Houston. Showers could develop in the morning south of Houston. Look for temperatures to only slowly warm from the 50s or low-60s into the mid- to upper-60s.

Things change again Saturday afternoon. Today’s cold front is coming back north tomorrow as a warm front. Look for a burst of showers or thunderstorms as this passes by from south to north. The heaviest rain may initially be in the Houston area, but as the warm front progresses north, watch for that to quickly shift back into northern counties, so places like the Brazos Valley, Conroe, or Cleveland will see heavier rain chances again late Saturday afternoon into Saturday evening. All the heavier rain should lift even north of there overnight Saturday into Sunday morning.

Rain totals should be around a quarter-inch or less in Houston and points south again. We could see a half-inch to inch or a bit more in northern counties again.

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We hit 84° officially at IAH yesterday, matching our warmest day of the year so far. These temperatures are more typical for early May than mid-March (and today’s morning lows around 70° are more typical for late May). So for how long will this continue? Let’s explain.

Today through Sunday

Yesterday I mentioned we were pretty much on autopilot, and we are still. For today, we’re slowly losing the fog that’s been with us most mornings this week. Still, some patchy fog at least is possible south and east of Houston. Otherwise, it’s just cloudy. Look for another day of low- to mid-80s with a mix of clouds and sun developing.

Temperatures more typical for May will continue until further notice. (NWS Houston)

Heading into tomorrow and Sunday, we should still see some patchy morning fog or low clouds giving way to sunshine in the afternoon. We’ll see temperatures within a couple degrees of 80 away from the coast (where it will be somewhat cooler). A shower cannot be ruled out on either Saturday or Sunday, but I think the best chance of any rain will be north of Houston toward The Woodlands or Conroe or even points north from there. Just don’t be shocked if you see some raindrops for a time, especially Sunday.

Sunday night and Monday

Humidity will remain high, but things actually get interesting by late Sunday. One of our better performing models this winter in terms of cold front strength and orientation is suggesting that what we call a “backdoor” cold front is going to slide through the area later Sunday or Sunday evening.

The potential is there for a weak front that could sneak in and drag down cooler temperatures for Monday morning. (Weather Bell)

We call it a backdoor front because it usually comes from the north and east, rather than the more common north and west. So what does it mean? Sunday should still be warm and humid, regardless. But if that front sneaks in here late PM or in the evening, we would see temperatures drop off a good 10-15 degrees Sunday night, perhaps into the 50s on Monday morning. The best chance of this occurring would be north of I-10. I don’t think this will make it all the way through the area, and even if it did, it would begin retreating back north as a warm front by Monday afternoon. Still, for those that want even a brief break from the humidity, this would be pleasant. I’d enter this one with low expectations and enjoy a pleasant surprise if you get one on Monday.

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Good morning! We will get into the weather in a moment. Just doing our public service announcement here: With the remainder of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo being cancelled, we will obviously cease rodeo forecasts. We know how disappointing the cancellation is to so many people, us included. Local officials obviously determined that the risk is significant enough to take these precautions, and you’re definitely seeing that in many places right now. While not a meteorological event, there are so many parallels I keep finding between the information flow with COVID-19 and how we cover hurricanes or floods. Remember, as it is with weather, make sure you’re getting your information from reputable sources, and heed the advice of local officials. Harris County has a dashboard already setup that will have the latest information, both from a big picture and locally.

The only interjection we can really make is that there have been comments made by some folks that the threat will end once the weather warms up. They may be a bit overconfident. A colleague, Bob Henson, writing for Weather Underground discussed this in depth the other day, and I’d encourage you to read that article to get a better understanding of the actual science and potential scenarios of how weather may impact the progression of the virus. A lot of unknowns, a lot of weird stuff going on, and a lot of drastic measures being put in place to make an effort to flatten the curve. As we do with storms, we’ll get through it all. Eric and I will continue to provide our typical daily updates of course, though hopefully the weather doesn’t add to our woes in the weeks and months ahead.

Alright, on to the weather.

Today

Dense fog advisories are posted once again this morning along the coast and just inland, as we again have some fog in place. This is becoming “the norm” for now, and I would expect this continues to some extent off and on into next week.

Much like yesterday, the fog and clouds should slowly clear this morning, leading to probably a nice afternoon, albeit a warm one again.

High temperatures look toasty, mainly away from the coast today. (Pivotal Weather)

Look for highs in the 80s for most folks away from the coast with continued high humidity. Our normal high temperature today is 72° at IAH Airport. More impressively, our normal low is 52°, which we aren’t even in the same area code as right now.

Friday and weekend

So the chance of rain this weekend will probably be higher than it is today and was yesterday. But it will still probably be on the low side. Most of us should remain dry, but a few of us could see a shower on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. The highest odds are probably still north of Houston, even north of Conroe. Look for more nighttime fog at the coast and a good deal of cloud cover each day. We should see at least a little sunshine here and there but perhaps a bit less than we’ve had lately.

High temperatures will be in the 70s to low-80s and low temperatures in the 60s to perhaps even near 70 degrees. Expect southerly winds of about 5 to 15 mph.

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