Author: Matt Lanza

Back to your regularly scheduled Houston winter

Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:33 AM

After finding our way into the middle 50s yesterday afternoon, we’ve emerged from significant cold air for Houston to more standard cold air for Houston. And we’ll be warming up further this weekend. Let’s move into the details.

Today & Saturday

After our first four day streak of 30° or colder since 2011, we start today a bit milder. We’re starting Friday generally in the upper-30s or low-40s. We will warm up to the mid-50s this afternoon, or probably around to a couple degrees warmer than what we did on Thursday.

We’ve got clouds still moving across the area this morning.

This fun satellite setting lets you see clouds easier at night. You can just see the back edge of clearing (as of 6:20 AM) in the top left part of the image. Decreasing clouds today. (College of DuPage)

The clouds will be prevalent for a few hours this morning. There is some precipitation falling from them west of Houston, but it isn’t reaching the ground in most places. A stray sprinkle or ice pellet could fall this morning, but it won’t amount to anything. As the day goes on, we’ll see more sunshine, and it should end up a fairly nice afternoon.

We’ll continue with a theme of sunshine Saturday as well. Expect morning temperatures to start in the lower 40s and warm up to the low-60s tomorrow! If you’ve been waiting for a couple nice, fairly comfortable Houston winter days, Friday and Saturday will be acceptable.

Sunday

Onshore flow returns to the picture later Saturday into Sunday morning. Sunday will start with temperatures in the 50s and work on up to about 70 degrees or a little warmer. Water temperatures near the coast have dropped dramatically recently. The entrance to Galveston Bay is only around 50° this morning, and it has been in the mid to upper-40s at times this week.

Water temperatures near the Gulf Coast are quite chilly. (NOAA)

Although water temperatures aren’t quite that cold offshore, with the increasing air temperatures and humidity passing over cooler water, we’ll likely see some dense fog develop, especially around Galveston Bay on Sunday. There could be a shower or two Sunday, but for the most part it looks to be a dry, mostly cloudy day.

Read More…

This has been a rocking winter for H-town if you like snow or sleet. We had some surprise sleet across much of the area this morning, and if what we’re seeing is correct, we’ll be talking about some more surprise sleet or even snow this evening.

As of 4:15 PM Tuesday, some light snow is showing up on radar between Houston and Austin. Though that is likely not yet reaching the ground, as it slides east and organizes a bit more, we could see that change.

Radar as of 4:15 shows light snow falling (though likely not reaching the ground just yet) between Houston and Austin. (Radarscope)

All of this is being driven by a pretty potent little disturbance a few thousand feet up that will help deliver snow or sleet to Florida and Georgia tomorrow and eventually New England on Thursday. That slides into Houston after 9-10 PM or so tonight.

I’ve been watching the HRRR model literally all day today, and with each run it has boosted or maintained its depiction of what happens over Houston as the disturbance exits tonight. The HRRR is a really short-term weather model that we use in the 0-18 hour timeframe for forecasting. By no means is it perfect, but it’s been tough to ignore the trend it has shown today, somewhat corroborated by some other modeling this afternoon.

Here’s a forecasted radar depiction from the HRRR model this evening at 10 PM.

The HRRR model indicates some snowflakes or a mix of snow and sleet (ice pellets) this evening across Houston, especially east of I-45. (Weather Bell)

This shows a quick burst of snow or mixed snow/sleet as it moves through. The prime time for this to occur would be 7 PM-1 AM. After that, it will move offshore and skies will clear out allowing temperatures to plummet.

So what to expect? 

  • A brief (1-4 hour) burst of snow or sleet this evening is possible.
  • Snow or sleet could actually come down at a healthy clip for a short time in a few places.
  • Any accumulations would be minor and probably not cause severe problems for travel, but (there’s always a but) just keep in mind that this may occur tonight if you have to be on the roads after, say, 8 PM and drive with extra care just to be safe.
  • With cold temperatures in place and several days of cold built up, if it were to snow a little heavier than expected, it could lead to a dusting on roads (similar to what we saw southeast of Houston this morning from the sleet).
  • Any snow or sleet ends from northwest to southeast from 11 PM to 2 AM, with clearing overnight, followed by bitter cold overnight and Wednesday morning low temps in the Houston metro area. A hard freeze is likely over most of the metro area tonight.

Please share any of your observations tonight with us here, Facebook, or via Eric or Matt’s Twitter feeds!

New Year’s hard freeze on the way for Houston

Posted by Matt Lanza at 9:18 AM

Good morning. We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve today and tonight. There have been a lot of questions about how cold it’s going to get, whether it’s going to snow or ice and what to expect over the next few days. So, we’ll set out to answer those questions for you this morning!

Right off the top, we do expect hard freeze type conditions in most of the area at multiple points over the next several days. If you need tips or advice on how to prepare for cold weather, here’s some info from the city of Houston. I grew up in the Northeast, where we’d laugh about getting worked up about low temperatures in the low or mid-20s. Turns out, cold of that level can indeed be quite damaging here. If you’re new to the area, I can tell you from experience, it’s smart to go through the checklist and do what you can.

Today

It’s a gray, drizzly morning, and that probably won’t change a ton as the day goes on. We may see a bit less drizzle later this afternoon or evening. Temperatures today aren’t going to be any warmer than they are right now. We’ll stay steady in the mid or upper-40s, slowly dropping back toward evening. Upper-30s arrive in the Brazos Valley by late afternoon. Winds will gradually increase through the day today too. Expect gusts of 20-25 mph today.

But bottom line here: No travel issues are expected during the day in Houston. If you’re headed north, there are icy spots reported west of I-35 and north of I-20, mainly in the Panhandle and up toward the Red River. If you are traveling out of Houston today, I’d strongly suggest you check DriveTexas.org for the latest.

Tonight

Winds will continue to howl and temperatures will continue to drop. By Midnight, temperatures in the city of Houston will likely be down to about 34-36° north of I-10 and 36-38° south. Up toward College Station, it’ll be at or below freezing by Midnight in all likelihood. Same goes for areas around Conroe or Huntsville. Some wet roads may have patchy black ice on them, so if you will be out returning from holiday festivities or commuting late, use extra caution along and north of Hwy-105. In and around the city of Houston, we do not expect any travel issues even after midnight.

Monday morning low temperatures will be cold enough for a hard freeze along and north of Highway 105. (Weather Bell/NWS)

Overnight, it gets colder. Expect low temperatures on Monday morning around 30° in the city of Houston proper and near freezing in Galveston. North of Houston, it gets more into hard freeze territory, and indeed Hard Freeze Warnings are posted for Liberty, Montgomery, Walker, Grimes, and San Jacinto Counties tonight. We should see lows in the upper-20s in The Woodlands and mid-20s in Conroe. Further north, we could do low-20s in spots in the Brazos Valley or up toward Huntsville. Same goes for East Texas north of Beaumont.

In addition, we’ll still have some wind, so expect wind chills down to around 15° in Houston and colder in spots north of Houston. Take extra steps to secure any coverings for sensitive plants as well to ensure you can lock in as much ground warmth as possible. If you’re heading out tomorrow morning, bundle up.

(Space City Weather is brought to you this month by the Law Office of Murray Newman) Read More…

2018 to dawn quite cold for Houston

Posted by Matt Lanza at 7:07 AM

Out with the old, in with the cold. This weekend, we will bid farewell to a 2017 that will end up as Houston’s warmest (likely) and wettest (definite) on record. 2018 will subsequently start as one of Houston’s coldest on record. Start making some plans now to protect the four P’s: People, pets, plants, pipes. It’s likely going to get cold enough next week in most of the region that you’ll need to take action on at least one night, if not multiple nights.

Plan now to understand and implement some cold weather protection next week. (NWS Houston)

First, let’s look at the weekend.

Today & Saturday

No serious weather issues are anticipated the next couple days. That said, there’s a couple things to track. Clouds are likely to dominate the picture again today. There will be some drizzle or mist around this morning, particularly south and east of Houston.

Onshore flow begins in earnest later today and tonight. That means a couple things. First, we might see more drizzle in spots and perhaps even a few showers (mainly Saturday near coastal locations). Second, fog will probably reappear in the area. I think coastal fog is possible tonight into Saturday, with perhaps even some inland as well. Saturday just looks kind of dreary with clouds and some showers or drizzle around.

Temperatures today will warm into the upper 40s to low-50s. It’s possible that temperatures don’t drop at all tonight, and Saturday will see temperatures warm further into the lower or middle 60s in Houston. It could be a degree or two warmer south or a little cooler north.

New Year’s Eve

So the first part of the day will be mild and cloudy. We’ll likely have fog in spots, and a few showers will be possible throughout the day. We should top off in the upper-50s to around 60° or so for highs. A cold front is on track to plow through at some point Sunday afternoon or evening, give or take a few hours. That will send temps down into the 40s for evening festivities. After Midnight, we’ll drop into the 30s everywhere. So if you’re heading out to celebrate, the weather you experience on your way out the door may not be anything like the weather you’ll experience when you’re coming home.

Overnight lows Sunday into Monday morning will be about 25-35 degrees colder than Sunday morning’s temperatures. (NWS/Weather Bell)

We don’t see a lot of risk of ice or frozen precipitation in Houston proper Sunday night. But these situations can be a bit fickle, so you’ll probably want to pay attention to the forecast for late Sunday night if you’ll be out traveling. If you will be up north (think Brenham-Conroe-Cleveland), it’s more likely that you could see some freezing drizzle after midnight. With a possibly damp day, some black ice will be possible on the roads up north too, even if there’s no freezing drizzle. So just exercise extreme caution in northern areas and pay attention to the weather in southern areas Sunday night if you’re going to or fro. If something changes significantly, look for us to update you Sunday morning or afternoon.

(Space City Weather is brought to you this month by the Law Office of Murray Newman) Read More…