Author: Matt Lanza

Fantastic Friday before mixed results this weekend

Posted by Matt Lanza at 5:56 AM

Quick note: If you were woken up by or heard/felt an explosion this morning, you were one of many. There was indeed an explosion northwest of Houston near the intersection of Gessner and Clay Road. This is just south of 290 and east of the Beltway. As is often the case in situations like this, weather radar picked up the actual explosion or fire.

I’ve seen people as far away as Clear Lake hearing the explosion. We send our best to readers in that part of the area that may be cleaning up this morning. An unfortunate morning northwest of Houston.

On to weather, we are back into a really nice pattern today, but we do have a couple minor issues to discuss for the weekend.

Today

Friday should be a beautiful day with sun, light winds, and highs reaching into about the mid 60s.

Saturday

While I believe we will start out with sunshine, high clouds should begin moving into the region in the morning. The day will get progressively cloudier from there. Clouds thicken up in the afternoon, and at least a slight chance of light rain or some showers will begin by late afternoon. The best chance for seeing some of that rain during the daytime hours will be south of Houston, particularly from Freeport south through Matagorda Bay. Most areas north of Houston will likely remain dry during the daytime Saturday. Temperatures will warm from the mid or upper 40s in the morning to the mid 60s or so in the afternoon.

Saturday night & Sunday

From Saturday evening through Sunday morning, it will be fairly dreary across the region. Look for periods of mostly light rain and showers. A brief period of heavier rain cannot be entirely ruled out, especially along the coast. So if you placed an “X” over downtown Houston, areas to the south and east of there have the chance to see some higher rain totals. Inland from Houston, the odds drop off for seeing anything heavy.

Rain totals from Saturday night and Sunday should be manageable, although a few areas southeast of Houston may see higher amounts than shown here. (NWS via Weather Bell)

Regardless, no serious flooding is expected, and rainfall totals should be manageable across the vast majority of the region. It will just be a fairly dreary Saturday night and Sunday.

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As we’ve been discussing this week, the Houston area will see showers and thunderstorms later today or tonight and severe weather will be a possibility. I’m going to walk you through the day and hopefully provide answers to most of your questions.

Overview

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) is continuing to keep the majority of the Houston area in the enhanced risk for severe thunderstorms today.

The SPC has most of the Houston area in the enhanced risk (3/5) for severe weather for storms tonight. A slightly more significant risk exists well off to our north. (NOAA Storm Prediction Center)

Based on what we’ve seen in modeling, for the Houston area, this threat will primarily occur much later today, after 5 PM and more likely closer to Midnight. So if you don’t see any rain or hear any thunder through this evening, do not be shocked. There may be isolated severe storms in the evening hours before a squall line of widespread strong to severe storms moves through just before midnight.

One model’s interpretation of what the forecast radar could look like between Noon today and 6 AM Saturday. (Weather Bell)

The severe weather threat quickly ends from west to east after midnight. The weekend looks fine.

This morning

Look for clouds and maybe a few passing showers. No severe weather will occur this morning. Temperatures, which actually rose a couple degrees overnight will continue slowly warming through the 70s. It will begin to turn breezy again, and winds could pick up to 15 to 25 mph or even stronger, especially along the coast and bays.

This afternoon (Noon to 4 PM)

We should see clouds, wind, and showers at times continue. Temperatures will warm into the mid- to upper-70s. We do not believe that the Houston area will see much in the way of thunderstorms this afternoon. Any strong to severe storms through afternoon will more likely occur way off to our north and west, well out of the metro area and region (think: Hill Country or perhaps up toward Tyler).

This evening (4 PM to 9 PM)

This is the part of the forecast in which we have the lowest confidence. Our best guess right now is that most of us will only see a couple passing showers in this timeframe. However, there is some chance that a couple rogue thunderstorms may begin to develop. Should this occur, any of those storms could quickly turn severe with hail, damaging winds, or even a tornado. To be clear: We believe this will very much be the exception, not the rule in the evening hours. Still, if you’re out this evening, ensure you have a way to receive weather warnings, just in case things get a little more chaotic than we are expecting right now.

Tonight (9 PM to 3 AM)

This will be the main timeframe that we see impacts from this event. Severe storms in Hill Country and the I-35 corridor should have congealed into an organized squall line by later this evening. Ahead of the line, we should see more numerous showers and a few thunderstorms begin to develop here. Any of those storms could become strong to severe, but it seems as though the primary concern will come from the squall line itself, which is going to quickly sweep across the region toward midnight.

Snapshot of the NAM model’s forecast radar around midnight, which shows a well organized squall line. Typically, these types of systems have a higher risk of damaging winds than other modes of severe weather. (Weather Bell)

As of right now, we expect the line to hit College Station around 9 or 10 PM, Huntsville through Sealy by 10 or 11 PM, the majority of the Houston metro area between 10 PM and Midnight, Galveston through Lake Jackson between 11 PM and 1 AM, and Beaumont/Port Arthur between about 1 to 3 AM. All those times are approximate and give or take an hour or so.

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Happy New Year to you! So it rained a bit yesterday. Most areas received a quarter-inch to half-inch of rain, and just a few higher amounts to the north and along the coast.

Rain amounts were generally in the quarter to half inch range yesterday, with some higher amounts north and west and also along the coast. (Harris County Flood Control)

We could certainly use some rain, and while the totals were fairly low overall, the pace of mostly steady light to moderate rain and just some occasional embedded downpours was helpful. We will now return to pleasant weather for the weekend.

Today & tonight

First, some fog. Use caution this morning, as fog has developed in parts of the area, restricting visibility. Look for any fog to lift by late morning, leaving us with partly to mostly sunny conditions. We should top off in the mid-60s or a touch warmer today. It will be a chilly night tonight with mainly clear conditions. We should drop into the low- to mid-40s in the city and around 40° in outlying areas.

Weekend

Saturday should be gorgeous. Expect sunshine and mid-60s once more. We will cool back into the 40s or low-50s Saturday night under continued clear skies. Sunday looks mainly sunny again. It will be warmer, with highs approaching or exceeding 70° in most spots. Winds should be light Sunday, but if you’ll be out on the bay Friday night or Saturday morning, it will be breezy with offshore wind gusts approaching 25 mph or so.

Monday

Onshore flow will be with us Monday, helping temperatures to warm from the 50s into the 70s in most places. We will see a few more clouds on Monday as well, so call it partly sunny.

Tuesday and beyond

Our next cold front is penciled in for Tuesday morning. As of right now, the front does not appear to have too much going for it as it passes through Southeast Texas, so while a brief passing shower will be possible, I think most places will stay dry.

Tuesday morning’s forecast from the European model shows the next cold front just east of Houston, with higher humidity (in green/blue colors) swiped off to our east. (Pivotal Weather)

Behind the front, it will turn breezy and cooler. Expect morning lows Tuesday around 50° or so, depending on the exact timing of the front. We will clear out quickly behind it, and warm into the low-60s. Temperatures will stay chilly behind the front for Wednesday, with morning lows in the 40s, if not some 30s in spots. We should warm back up through the 60s, perhaps into the 70s again toward next weekend, as onshore flow takes hold.

The details beyond next Wednesday are fuzzy, but I would expect us to be discussing some more rain chances, fog, and the potential for another cold front by next weekend or so. There are some questions surrounding that, but forecasts for the day 6 through 10 timeframe suggest above normal rainfall.

The NWS Climate Prediction Center outlook for days 6 through 10 calls for an increasing probability of above normal rainfall. (Pivotal Weather)

We will dive more into that topic in Monday’s conversation. More for you then. Enjoy the beautiful weekend!

2019’s final weekend will be a mild one

Posted by Matt Lanza at 5:55 AM

Good morning. As we begin to close out 2019, it will continue to feel a bit springlike before a Sunday cold front cools us back off a bit.

Today

Dense fog is the main forecast issue, and it will continue to be the biggest problem today and probably tomorrow. Fog is almost everywhere this morning, and it will be stubborn and slow to clear from inland areas back to the coast.

Erratic visibility this morning, sometimes down to a quarter-mile in spots. (NOAA)

Some coastal or bay-adjacent locations and some other places, mainly south and east of Houston may hold on to fog well into this afternoon. Outside of the fog, it will gradually turn partly cloudy and quite mild. We hit 76° yesterday, and we will probably come close to that again today.

Saturday & Saturday night

Tomorrow should begin similarly to today with widespread fog, especially closer to the bays and coast. Again, that could linger into afternoon. As the day goes on, look for shower chances to slowly increase, mainly north and west of Houston. We’ll start in the 60s Saturday and by afternoon, look for highs perhaps near 80° in Houston. The cold front will push through the Houston area from northwest to southeast between Midnight and 5 AM or so Sunday. During that time, almost everyone should see at least some rain and thunderstorms.

Total rainfall should average between a quarter-inch and half-inch this weekend, with higher amount possible north and east of Houston. (Weather Bell)

We don’t anticipate too much rain when all is said and done, but a quarter-inch to half-inch or so on average, with lower amounts south and west of Houston and higher amounts north and east being the most likely outcome. Any fog risks will end behind the front as well. Some storms, especially north and east of Houston could be a bit strong overnight.

Saturday will warm up from the 60s in the morning into the 70s during the afternoon. Behind the cold front, temperatures will drop into the 50s by Sunday morning.

Sunday & Monday

Some lingering showers are possible Sunday morning. By afternoon, any remaining clouds should rapidly dissipate, and we are going to be left with delightful weather for both the second half of Sunday and Monday. Look for sunshine and high temperatures in the 60s both afternoons. Morning lows will be in the 40s for most folks on Monday morning, though outlying areas could sneak into the upper-30s.

New Year’s Eve & Day

Yesterday, it appeared that a storm system would begin to approach on Tuesday, bringing a slight chance of showers for New Year’s Eve. That has slowed down today, pushing any rain chances to Wednesday. The image below shows the last 6 runs of the European model’s forecast of rainfall from 6 PM to Midnight on New Year’s Eve

Models are trending drier for New Year’s Eve now, holding off on rain until later New Year’s Day. The forecast may change more between now and Tuesday, however. (Pivotal Weather)

What you’re seeing is that until the most recent run, the model indicated shower chances. The latest version holds the rain back for another 12 to 18 hours. What does this mean? It means check back with us on Monday while this system’s timing gets sorted out over the weekend. We don’t trust this model explicitly and would lean toward increasing rain chances after the calendar flips to 2020, with rain becoming most likely during the afternoon and evening hours of Wednesday. Either way, our chances of a widespread, meaningful rain and some thunderstorms continue looking higher as we move into the new year.

Daytime highs should be in the 60s on both days. For New Year’s Eve celebrations, look for temperatures dropping into the upper-40s. We will update this forecast for you on Monday for sure.