Category: Tropical weather

After a stormy Tuesday, the rains should be over for now, as high pressure builds over Houston and somewhat drier air works its way into the region. For us, the next two big events to watch for are a tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico, and a much-anticipated cold front next week. Let’s discuss.

Wednesday through Friday

Building high pressure should lead to mostly sunny skies—look for highs in the upper 80s—along with warm nights with lows around 70 degrees. Aside from the late-summer like feel to the weather, we should have no concerns.

Saturday and Sunday

For now, the weekend simply looks pretty hot, with partly to mostly sunny skies and highs near 90 degrees. Lows should only fall to around 70 degrees. The good news is that after this weekend I’d say there’s only about a 50 percent chance of seeing another 90-degree day this year, so the end of summer really is nigh.

Saturday’s high temperatures could be one of the year’s last 90-degree days. (National Weather Service)

The caveat to this weekend’s forecast is the tropical system likely to form in the Gulf of Mexico, which could bring us some increased moisture and rain chances by Sunday—although for now I’d bet against that.

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The Texas hurricane season is probably over

Posted by Eric Berger at 6:50 AM

Every year I struggle with whether to write this post—because there’s always a chance it will be wrong. However, the fact is after this date the chance of a hurricane striking Texas is vanishingly low, about 1-in-50 for any given year. I’ll discuss this more below, after the forecast.

Monday through Wednesday

Houston’s late summer-like pattern will persist over the area for the next few days, with hot days and highs of around 90 degrees, steamy nights in the 70s, and scattered showers. A few thunderstorms could be pretty strong, but most of Houston will see moderate, little, or no rainfall over the next three days. Area-wide accumulations will probably be measured in tenths of an inch, if that.

Thursday and Friday

Warmer weather will hang around as a cold front backs into the area from the northeast. These northeasterly winds should arrive by sometime on Friday, but we may not feel the drier or moderately cooler air until Friday night or Saturday morning. Until then we can expect more warm days and muggy nights, with slight rain chances.

Dewpoints early on Saturday morning show drier air “backdooring” into Houston. (Weather Bell)

Saturday and Sunday

Houston is going to have a great weekend to end September and begin October. It’s not going to be cold by any stretch, but the air will be drier and that will make a big difference. Expect mostly sunny skies with highs most likely in the mid-80s. Overnight temperatures should fall to the mid-60s for inland areas, with warmer conditions near the coast.

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Welcome to the weekend! Some rain chances will return to Houston later on Sunday, and most days next week. But it’s nothing we’re concerned about. In response to a number of questions about the tropics, however, we wanted to provide an update on all of the activity out there. We have a lot of it in the Atlantic.

As we get deeper into September, the Atlantic tropics remain active. (NOAA/Space City Weather)

Hurricane Jose

This storm, which has been waggling around the tropical Atlantic for days, finally is beginning to follow a track—and this track may eventually lead to some tropical effects for the East coast. Here’s a look at the European model ensemble forecast for the center of Jose on Wednesday morning, which shows a fairly large tropical storm or hurricane moving up the east coast, but offshore, early next week.

European model Hurricane Jose position forecast for Wednesday morning. (Weather Bell)

Most of the model guidance suggests the storm will turn northeast by around Tuesday or Wednesday, and this would keep the center away from Long Island and Boston, Mass. Right now for those locations I’d expect some gusty conditions and swells, but nothing too significant. Some areas of Boston and Cape Cod could see 2 to 4 inches of rain, but again, nothing too extreme.

If the track for Jose moves west and brings the center to shore, and the storm becomes stronger than forecast, its effects could become more concerning.

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During Hurricane Harvey, I think we did a good job making pretty clear that our focus was to be on flooding. And ultimately, the majority of the damage and devastation wrought by Harvey as it moved through our region came via water. But one of the most surprising and occasionally unsettling aspects about Harvey’s impacts on Southeast Texas were the tornadoes. The warnings came fast, they came furious, and a number of them were confirmed.

The fine folks over at U.S. Tornadoes put together a really nice summary of this event, which likely ranks Harvey close to or in the top ten for most prolific tornado-producing tropical systems in the United States.

The Houston National Weather Service forecast office issued over 150 warnings for tornadoes through the storm. During that hellacious Saturday night and Sunday morning, over 30 tornado warnings were issued, most of them overlapping with flash flood warnings. We strongly encouraged people to keep their phone alerts on that night because the frequency of tornadoes was almost shocking (and because of numerous videos of an actual tornado in northwest Harris County late that Saturday afternoon that sort of drove home the point). That, coupled with the flooding likely lead to a long, sleepless night for many in the area. I’ll have some comments about the phone alerting issue at the end of the post.

The early tornadoes

First, let’s recap some of the tornadoes that actually occurred. The NWS Houston office has confirmed nearly 30 tornadoes as of September 14th, all of them either EF-0 or EF-1 strength. Here’s a look at some of the tornadoes.

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