A Friday morning Houston winter wonderland

Roughly three and a half months ago, Houstonians took to social media late into the night to post frightening pictures and harrowing accounts of flooding devastating the city. Houstonians took to social media again late into last night and early this morning, this time to post festive pictures and share (mostly) joyous accounts of about as good a snow event as you could hope for in Southeast Texas.

As I write this, we don’t have official totals in yet, but based on pictures from all over, it looks like anywhere from a coating to 2″, give or take, in most of the Houston area. Obviously, College Station did quite well last night. They received 5″ officially, which would rank it their second biggest snow on record.

For the “official” number in Houston, I’d expect somewhere in the ballpark of 1.5″, which would rank somewhere in the top 10 or 15 for Houston snowfalls on record. The king, unlikely to ever be dethroned, is Valentine’s Day 1895’s estimated 20″, followed by 4.4″ on February 12, 1960.

This Morning

I know some people aren’t exactly overjoyed at the snow, especially those commuting early this morning. If you’re one of those folks, the good news is that most, if not all of the snow will be gone by about 9 AM.

Radar as of 6 AM shows lingering light snow near the coast and Bay Area. Snow should end completely by 7 AM or so. (GRLevel3)

That said, roads are icy in spots this morning, especially the flyovers on freeways. Use extreme caution while commuting. Any icy patches should dissipate as we warm above freezing by 7-8 AM. Temperatures will actually rise now that the snow has ended.

As we go through the rest of the morning, expect to see mainly cloudy skies. But things will get noticeably brighter as we work toward afternoon, and I think hopefully by Noon or so, Houston will see the sun again for the first time since before this cold snap began.

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

Weekend

This weekend looks spectacular. Expect highs in the upper 50s to around 60° both Saturday and Sunday with full sunshine on both days. The only item of concern would be overnight lows tonight into Saturday morning.

Overnight lows tonight into Saturday morning will flirt with the freezing mark. (Weather Bell/NWS)

We should be able to get close to the freezing mark tonight in Houston but not much lower than that. We’ll probably get below 30 degrees in areas to the north and west. The traditional coldest spots like Conroe will probably do 27-29° and temperatures below 30° for at least 2-4 hours. But I don’t expect 20s in the immediate Houston area. It’s always a good time to review cold weather tips.

Next Week

Beyond Sunday we should see one, perhaps two more cold fronts move through the area, none of which will be nearly as strong as what we just went through. In fact, they should be dry cold fronts, meaning mostly sunshine and rain chances near zero through the middle or end of next week. Temperatures should generally be in the 60s during the day and 40s at night. Not bad weather at all. We could see a more aggressive warm up next weekend. We’ll talk more about that next week and begin to offer some early Christmas weather thoughts next week as well.

23 thoughts on “A Friday morning Houston winter wonderland

  1. Blackhawks Fan

    Matt –

    This has to be one of the earlier snowfalls in Houston, though I think we had a Dec 6th in 2009 or something like that.

    Rest assured, the ABC13 Eyewitless News Team started an hour early today to cover 1/2″ of snow on the ground…..C’mon people, please act like you’ve actually seen snow before.

  2. Janette Larson

    Yep. Snow on the roofs here in Webster/Friendswood. Just not in my yard. I have these oak trees……. I will see if I need to clean the car when it is time to leave for work.

  3. Milt

    Like us, mostly seniors on our block…however next door is a young family…hearing their two youngsters outside this morning before heading off to school made be decide this blizzard was ok…

  4. Eric Sisson

    Historically, has Houston seen more events of measurable snowfall or more named (*) tropical systems?

    * Including tropical systems that would have been named had that been the practice at the time.

    1. Matt Lanza

      So since 1970, this is the 14th measurable snow (>= 0.1″) in Houston. We’ve had 19 named tropical systems within 65 nautical miles of Houston in that same timeframe. Since the 1840s we’ve had 52 storms. We’ve probably done about that in snow days too. So the two should be pretty comparable.

  5. Paul

    Matt, it seems the meteorologists dropped the ball on this one (the others, not you guys). They were saying yesterday a slight possibility of sleet outside the metro area since it wouldn’t be enough moisture or cold enough, they were still saying that at 10 o’clock when snow was falling in my yard. Was it just a lot colder than we expected?

    1. Matt Lanza

      Paul: Thank you. It was definitely colder than expected. But overall, I think most people did an ok job just based on what I saw and read of at least hedging the risk. Snow in Texas is tough. Accumulating snow is tougher. And heavy accumulating snow is like hitting the jackpot. So to forecast snow here and to get all those ingredients to combine together, you are probably a super lucky individual! Eric and I saw a good bit of model data…some of it conflicting, but we saw enough to be confident in at least the potential for snow being something possible. Noticed it Tuesday, then decided we should write about the chances Wednesday. (even then, we hedged a lot and undersold it!) I also dealt with snow for a number of years in the Northeast so it didn’t feel quite as impossible based on the data. But that said…forecasting in the South in winter is hard. Really, really hard. Sometimes things just break right!

  6. Tom

    If I’m perfectly honest, driving to work at 6:00am with the roads basically empty and the fluffy snow in the trees and the grass was beautiful.

    I can now say I’ve done it.

    Don’t need to do it ever again.

  7. Chuck

    Was able to build a very mediocre “snowman” (term used very loosely) in The Woodlands. Put an Astros’ World Champs hat on “him” and took a pic for posterity. Yes, the ‘Stros did win the 2017 Series, but Southeast Texas never will win the “World’s Largest Snowman Contest”

          1. Chuck

            Chicagoland? Been there on biz trips during winter. That’s REAL WINTER. Good luck to the Hawks, even though I’m a Blues fan having lived in STL for 8 years. Since the Cubs broke their drought last year and the Astros this year, maybe the Blues will win their 1st ever Cup in their 51 year existence.

  8. Chuck

    🙂 So having retired at the end of 2016, this “snow” is an opportunity for a 2nd career. I saw the slight amount of snow on my lawn and decided to be a novelist. Having grown up and lived in various snow and ice storm areas (then 20 years in this area), I chose the title of my first “book” as “Snow Fury.”

    An excerpt: And then, breaking the eerie silence, a primal scream arose from native-born Houstonians . Thy wailed, “The gods have forsaken us! The sky has fallen! We are doomed to an icy, cold and painful death, when our cars slide off into the abyss alongside the Hardy Tollway!”

    Despite repeated emails, texts and tweets, none of the major publishers have offered an advance. 🙂

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