Author: Matt Lanza

Sublime start to spring break week

Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:14 AM

Well, a good morning to you all. We are in for a treat to start this week. And the back half of the week doesn’t look terrible either. So in case anyone was worried about the forecast changing over the weekend, we have good news that it really has not changed!

Today through Wednesday

All the sunshine. Seriously, the next three days look magnificent. First, a quick note on the wind, which has been howling periodically overnight. It will begin to settle back during the day today. Expect less frequent wind gusts, though it will stay breezy at times. Besides that, over the next few days, the only real risk for a hiccup will be a few periods of high clouds that sweep through. As of right now, they don’t appear to be too thick, but the best chance for a little cloud cover to interfere in the beautiful weather would be Tuesday morning into early afternoon, and again later Wednesday afternoon.

A few high clouds will skirt by today, but otherwise, it should be near-perfect once the wind eases up. (College of DuPage)

As far as temperatures go, we’ll warm from the 40s or low-50s this morning into the middle 60s this afternoon. Look for tomorrow to start in the 40s and warm into the upper 60s during the afternoon. Wednesday should be close to a repeat of Tuesday, warming from 40s to near 70 in the afternoon. All in all, this is pretty close to perfect.

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Quiet spring break appears ahead for Houston

Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:34 AM

Good morning! I want to start with a couple housekeeping items today.

Edit: One of our readers has provided a good explanation for the below that confirms the source of Thursday’s smoke was local, not from Oklahoma. See the comments below for his explainer. For the sake of transparency, I’ve left the original post in tact.

First, the smoke yesterday. We got a couple comments and tweets about it. The unfortunate answer is that we really don’t know for sure where it came from. The going theory is that it probably came from some unknown local source. Certainly possible, but I have a sneaky suspicion it could be because of fires and controlled burns in Oklahoma. If you ran a backwards trajectory on the air mass over Houston yesterday back 48 hours (in other words, where was the air over Houston yesterday 48 hours prior?), our air came from the northern Rockies, traveled across Oklahoma and North Texas, and eventually sank to the surface near Houston.

Yesterday afternoon’s air over Texas may have picked up smoke over Oklahoma as it came south and lowered to the surface in Houston, bringing the smoke with it. (NOAA)

The air mass would have been over Oklahoma and northeast Texas on Wednesday afternoon and evening. I believe there were quite a few controlled burns and a few other fires up in Oklahoma or North Texas then that could have ended up making the trip south with our cooler air. Otherwise, the smoke was indeed from somewhere closer to Houston, but no one really knows for sure. Anyway, I found it interesting and thought I’d share.

And if the smoke wasn’t enough to put a damper on your day yesterday, the pollen count probably was. How bad was it yesterday?

Tree pollen, particularly oak pollen is the league leader in irritating your nose. (City of Houston)

Tree pollen often flares up this time of year. For me, it’s usually a battle between oak and cedar in terms of what can drive me away from outdoor activity. Oak is dominating the board right now and likely will continue to do so for the next few weeks. Oak pollen usually eases up in late March or April. The city of Houston has a pretty good pollen and mold count site I recommend for bookmarking. You can also examine historical data too.

On to the forecast.

Today & Saturday

We’ll start out with sun and some clouds today. I expect clouds to gradually thicken up as the day goes on. I wouldn’t be shocked to hear about a few sprinkles or showers southwest of Houston this afternoon. It’ll be warmer and gradually turn more humid today. Look for highs in the lower 70s. A disturbance passing by overnight should touch off at least some scattered showers or a rumble of thunder. The best chance of this would be south of I-10. Look for mid-60s overnight, and total rainfall ranging from nothing to a few tenths of an inch overall.

On Saturday, there will continue to be a few showers or even a thunderstorm or two around in the morning. As of right now, we expect the afternoon to be mostly quiet. A shower or two is possible, but the atmosphere over Houston will likely be capped, meaning showers and storms will have a tough time developing. It will probably still be a mostly cloudy day with a few sunny breaks at times. You should be able to go about most plans with scant interruption tomorrow. Highs on Saturday will peak around or above 80 degrees.

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March strolls in like a (sunny) lamb for Houston

Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:28 AM

Thursday ended up being a beautiful day. It’s almost like we turned a page after February. With all the data from last month in, we can crunch some numbers now and tell you just how cloudy February ended up. Iowa State University’s Iowa Environmental Mesonet has a useful tool that takes every hourly observation and tells you what percentage had overcast conditions reported. Keep in mind that how hourly observations are taken has changed a bit over time, so there are likely inconsistencies from 1970s data to 2018 data. But since at least 1973, no February has been cloudier in Houston. Of all hourly observations last month, 81% had cloud cover reported.

Why, yes, February was a terribly cloudy month, which some of you loved and some of you hated.

The next closest February was 1989, when 65% of the month had cloud cover. What’s more interesting? February 2016 was the least cloudy February since at least 1973. So, of the last three Februaries, we’ve had both extremes recorded. Impressive.

Of the last three Februaries, we’ve experienced both the cloudiest since at least 1973 as well as the sunniest.

You can enlarge either image above by clicking on it. So, that was February. The responses I’ve seen from people have been impressively divided and partisan. Some of you absolutely loved that kind of February. Others were really struggling without sunshine. I fall about 80% of the way into the latter camp, but take what we can get before summer sets in, right?

Either way, we’ve turned the corner. Let’s run down the forecast.

Today & Saturday

We have the antithesis of February’s weather today. Expect ample sunshine and low humidity. We’ll generally top off in the lower or middle 70s this afternoon after a refreshing morning. “Perfect weather” is a very subjective definition, but I have to think today will come close to checking most of the boxes. Overnight lows tonight into Saturday morning could even be a couple degrees cooler than today. Expect some scattered 40s north and lower or middle 50s elsewhere (though milder at the beach).

Saturday looks fine for now. We’ll begin to notice clouds creeping in through the day as onshore flow kicks back in. If you live from about Sugar Land south and west, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a few showers or sprinkles pop up in the afternoon tomorrow. But I don’t think it would be anything too problematic. High temperatures Saturday will reach for the lower 70s once again. Most Saturday outdoor plans should be fine.

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Houston’s perpetual clouds continue

Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:45 AM

Statistically, I don’t know whether or not February has been Houston’s cloudiest month on record, but I think we all know it has to be close. Yes, we’ve had sunny periods at times, but they’ve been short-lived and fleeting. I’m not sure what the exact number is (we’ll probably tally it for you at the end of the month), but roughly 70% of the month appears to have had some level of overcast cloud cover. February averages somewhere around 45% cloud cover in Houston. Sunny weather will return eventually. That much we promise.


Low clouds and fog are pretty prevalent this morning as this pesky front we’ve been dealing with begins to try and advance back north. Temperatures are all over the place, but it’s pretty easy to see the front.

Morning temperatures (6:30 AM) suggest grabbing a jacket north of Houston and perhaps putting on shorts southeast of Houston. (NWS)

The front has made it back to almost US-59. It’s in the 70s in southeast Houston, but 50s on the west and north sides. As the front pushes back north and west today, expect warmer, more humid air to win out just about everywhere. Low clouds and fog should gradually lift, but it may be a process in spots, meaning clouds and drizzle could mar a good chunk of the day. Folks well north and west of Houston may have the most trouble getting warm and clearing at all today.

Disturbances will continue to push through, but the heavy rain should stay oriented well to our north, where 1-3″ will be possible north of Waco and across the DFW Metroplex. Temps will top off in the mid or upper 70s southeast of Houston, perhaps near 80 with some sunny breaks. Northwest will probably see low-70s or so on average (warmer closer to Houston, cooler further away).


Saturday will likely behave somewhat similar to Friday afternoon with an isolated shower, but mostly just AM clouds or fog, some sunny breaks, and humidity. Folks way north of Houston, such as up toward Huntsville, could see a little steadier rain Saturday morning. Again though, the bulk of the rain will stay well north.

With any sunshine, we’ll easily scoot above 80 Saturday, but otherwise it’ll be upper 70s. The front comes back at us tomorrow evening as a cold front. The good news is that while we should see some showers and perhaps a thunderstorm Saturday evening, it shouldn’t be anything too serious. Right now, I’d be on the lookout for that between 4 and 8 PM, maybe a little a later southeast. And any heavier rain you see will probably be brief.

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