Fall begins—where the heck is Houston’s first cool front?

Today marks the autumnal equinox, which means it is the first day of fall. But Houston has felt anything like fall so far this September, as low temperatures have rarely fallen below 75 degrees. The city has yet to see its first real fall cool front—which for the purposes of Houston we define as a daily minimum of 65 degrees or cooler. As you can see on the chart below, the first fall front typically comes around September 16th, or one week ago. The bad news is that there is no front on Houston’s horizon for the next week or so, but the good news that I don’t think we’ll quite break 2005’s record, and have to wait all the way until October 7th. More below.

When is the first day of “fall” in Houston. (Brian Brettschneider for Space City Weather)


On Sunday, some nasty but very localized storms developed in northwest Houston along Cypress Creek near the Willowbrook area. We’re going to see the potential for similar storms today, although there should be a bit more south-to-north motion as moisture streams in from the Gulf of Mexico. Overall rain chances are about 50 percent, and while accumulations for most will be under one-half inch, we can’t rule out some isolated thunderstorms bringing a quick 1 to 2 inches of rain. High temperatures should be near 90 degrees.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

As high pressure extends its reach over the Houston area, we should see rain chances drop back to around 10 to 20 percent for each of the mid-week days. Accordingly, we should see high temperatures around 90 degrees, with overnight lows in the low- to mid-70s. Mostly sunny skies should really help the area dry out after Tropical Storm Imelda’s nastiness.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

We don’t have much confidence in the forecast for next week, as high pressure backs off some, and moisture flowing in from the Gulf of Mexico could lead to some increased rain chances. Right now I’d peg daily rain chances in the 30 to 40 percent range with partly to mostly sunny skies. Highs likely will be near 90 degrees.

First cold front?

It’s not coming this week. However, there are indications in the global models of a pattern shift by around the weekend of October 5th that should usher in the region’s first front. Based upon the historical information in the chart above, that would be awfully late for Houston. But right now we don’t see much evidence for a front much before then—sorry.


We’ve had some questions about Tropical Storm Karen, which will approach Puerto Rico on Tuesday of this week. It will be moving due north at this time, but later this week there are some significant questions about what will happen to Karen, which should remain a relatively small storm.

NHC Tropical Storm Karen forecast track.

High pressure developing to its north could block its movement and force it westward—or Karen could dissipate altogether. Readers of this site will probably be worried about Karen eventually moving westward, across the Florida Peninsula, and into the Gulf of Mexico toward Texas. However, there are way too many unknowns right about after about day five of this forecast to make any confident predictions.

European model ensemble forecast for Karen. (Weathernerds.org)

Bottom line: Never say never, but any effects for Texas are low probability. We’re definitely not worried. You shouldn’t be worried. And if that changes we’ll certainly let you know as soon as possible.

28 thoughts on “Fall begins—where the heck is Houston’s first cool front?

  1. Michael Swaim

    Evidence of how traumatized my family is after Harvey. Most of the tropical depression of last week missed us, but all but me were sure we were going to flood again. The rainstorms this weekend, same thing. Maybe it will pass with time.

  2. Dave

    After 45 years, I decided to let go of living in the Houston area. I saw too many people, family included, lose everything due to storms and flooding…too many times. I miss my friends. But I do not miss the hurricane seasonal stress,,,,year after year after year.

    1. Blackhawks Fan

      Dave, I’ll be joining you in a few years. This city has too many problems as it is (and which are only getting worse), annual 100 year flooding is the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.

    2. Jon

      I am at that point. Houston is great place with wonderful people – the friendliest of any big city ever IMO. But with the worsening flood and storm threat on a warmer gulf, the longer and hotter summers… I would rather deal with the occasional blizzard or ice storm.

    3. Jack

      Yeah…unfortunately, me too. Been here since 1964. Went to the first baseball game in the Astrodome. Was at the 1968 “Game of the Century” between UCLA and UH in the Astrodome with Elvin Hayes and Lew Alcindor. As a teenager, worked as an usher at the long-gone Sam Houston Coliseum when Led Zeppelin, The Who, and countless other legendary bands came to town. My sister worked at Astroworld the first year it was open so I got in for free. I can remember the cow pastures out Westheimer past the where the Galleria ended up being built, and the horse stables along Post Oak Road south of the Katy Freeway. A million memories. But me and my family will be getting out while the getting is good, before the seas rise and the property values drop to nothing.

        1. Brian

          Does acknowledging the literal and measured rising of sea levels make one Al Gore? Was it something else they said? Was Al Gore a LZ fan?

      1. Dave

        I just moved to San Diego in August. I had been planning to relocate here for some time after Harvey, etc. Watching Imelda from here on the Weather Channel 1500 miles away was surreal. I feel for those fine people who lost so much again. The pain appears to have no end.

    4. Abe

      My family and I left Houston in July after 30+ years of living there. Enjoyed it for the most part. We relocated to Raleigh, NC and love it here. Every area has its won unique set of issues to deal with but for us the flooding threats for Houston were something we no longer wanted to deal with. No knocks against anyone who doesn’t mind the the issues that living in Houston presents.

      1. nubbypants

        As a native to the area, I’ve begun to seriously think of moving, despite having most of my family and friends here. A recent vacation has only added/reinforced this thinking.

        Our land here is flat and the soil not very porous so it will only get worse. Plus, I’m getting too old for the heat + humidity for months on end. I can take one or the other but both is just annoying.

        To answer Johnathan’s question: I’m thinking of the Pacific Northwest. Coastal or inland to be determined. Coastal zone offers jobs, jobs, jobs. Inland offers less humidity. Both offer cooler temps.

  3. Monty

    Thanks guys. Hope everyone has recovered or is making great progress in the road back to normality.

  4. Elizabeth

    Thanks for the update guys. It goes a long way to soothe my rattled brain. Seeing pictures of flooding again and having a close friend that flooded again in Splendora, did a number on me. PTSD is real for those that are Harvey survivors. Don’t ignore it guys. Take extra good care of yourself this week. This site is the best!

  5. Hank

    Are you guys going to do any kind of post storm summary? I’m curious just how bad it really was. On one hand it was nowhere near the size and scope of Harvey, but on the other hand there were some who flooded this time that did not during Harvey. It also seems to have been worse because it was during the day when many of us were not at home just watching the water rise before our very eyes, where as the last few seemed to have struck at night.

  6. An Other

    Do you guys not understand climate change? Half the year I live in southern England. Happy to not live in Houston. lovely friends and family who still vote against change. Wasn’t hard to figure out Imelda was going to devastate my area.

  7. 2019ALWestChamps

    One small gripe with your post: I’m pretty sure we broke the 2005 mark by several days last year. Looking at data from a couple different sites, I don’t see a low at or below 65 until 10/11 for 2018.

  8. Arianda

    On the next tropics update, can you please comment on the Weather Channel posting about the MJO and how hurricanes are 4 times more likely to form in the Gulf during a favorable MJO? (which it is – favorable, at least according to them) – would like your opinion and outlook on this.


  9. D

    How likely is it that we’ll get another major weather event during the remains of this year’s hurricane season? Historically has Houston ever been hit by two or more such events in the same year?

  10. timbuys

    I’m very sympathetic to many of the earlier comments. As it stands, I note that at noon, IAH is officially showing 86 degrees, 70% humidity and a heat index of 95.


  11. Joel Johnston

    Thanks for the hard work guys. Having had a tree fall into my house during Ike, flooded during Harvey, and having witnessed 3 flash floods in KIngwood since May (gutting a friend’s house yesterday), my endurance is at an end. Love Houston and many good friends here, but retirement will be away from the Gulf Coast.

  12. Lake Effect Snow

    Love your blog. Are you still planning to do a hindsight review of Imelda or have we officially moved on? Just curious about what you think the major takeaways are??

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