Heads up Houston: Storms Wednesday, water hazards Sunday

Good morning. We have some potentially dynamic weather to talk about for the week ahead, with the potential for storms and heavy rain, so let’s get right to it.


Conditions will be fairly pleasant for Houston today, with partly to mostly sunny skies, and highs in the low 80s. The only blemish will come from gusty southerly winds, bringing moisture in from the Gulf of Mexico, and blowing up to about 20mph. Lows will again be very warm for March tonight, only falling to around 70 degrees for most of the region.


As we’ve been discussing, a potent upper-level storm system will sweep across the central and southern United States on Tuesday and Wednesday, generating enough lift and instability to produce some potentially severe weather. Timing remains a little unclear, but right now storm development in Houston seems most likely during the late morning or early afternoon, and running through the evening hours on Wednesday. NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center favors the northern half of the metro area as most likely to see development.

NOAA storm outlook for Wednesday. (NOAA)

This is partly because a capping inversion could remain intact for southern areas of Houston. I’m not convinced that will happen, however, and I think there’s a decent chance of heavy rain and thunderstorms, along with some isolated severe threat of high winds, hail, and perhaps even a few tornadoes for the entire region. Storms should be moving quickly enough from west to east that flooding shouldn’t be too much of a threat, with most areas seeing 1 inch of rain or less.


As a cold front moves through with the system, any lingering rain showers should end Thursday morning. The day should end up being a very nice one, with skies clearing and highs perhaps only reaching into the upper 70s. Nighttime temperatures will fall into the 50s for most of the region, except for along the coast. (This is what late March normally feels like for Houston).


A bit warmer, mostly sunny, and still pretty darn nice.

Saturday and Sunday

Saturday should start out pretty nice, with partly to mostly sunny skies and highs in the low 80s. Unfortunately we can’t say the same thing for Saturday night and Sunday, as another upper-level storm system appears to threaten the area, bringing another chance of thunderstorms. I’m also concerned about the potential for low pressure to move up the Texas coast, as suggested by the European forecast model. This could bring an additional impetus for precipitation—perhaps as much as 2 to 3 inches on Sunday with locally higher amounts.

NOAA estimated rainfall totals for Sunday. Take these with a big grain of salt.

If you’re planning on attending or watching the Shell Houston Open (which runs from Thursday through Sunday at the Gulf Club of Houston), I’d definitely be concerned about rain on Sunday. Right now, at minimum, expect clouds and scattered rain, and at worst I’d expect storms, heavy rains, and potential flooding. We’ll keep watching conditions for you.

Posted at 6:40am CT on Tuesday by Eric

5 thoughts on “Heads up Houston: Storms Wednesday, water hazards Sunday

    1. Eric

      As a best guess right now for Galveston, light rain in the morning, heavier rain in the middle of the day or later in the afternoon.

  1. SkyGuy

    Eric, you said:

    “I’m not convinced that will happen, however, and I think there’s a decent chance of heavy rain and thunderstorms, along with some isolated severe threat of high winds, hail, and perhaps even a few tornadoes for the entire region. ”

    Well, I don’t really agree with you there, I’m afraid. Yes, the capping inversion in place today does begin to weaken on Wednesday, but the latest high resolution forecasted soundings don’ show a complete erosion of this feature especially south of I-10. Just like last Friday, there probably will be a sharp cut off to areas that see thunderstorms and areas that see zilch. I would expect the cap to weaken enough north of I-10 for thunderstorms to develop Wednesday into Wednesday evening. The shear values and instability are favorable for thunderstorms to become severe with all severe modes possible (large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes). SPC Day 2 outlook does bring a category 3 (enhanced risk outline) into SE TX and this area will be at greatest risk for severe thunderstorms (note this area does not include the Houston metro, thank God).

    I think the cap will probably hold at least south of I-10. What do you think, Eric?

  2. Worrybug

    Eric, if this helps:

    I’ve just looked at the 00z model runs of the GFS and the NAM—if they mean anything. The GFS doesn’t seem to ramp up this storm system until it’s over Arkansas. Yes, it does put rain in the area, but being a global model, it may not have a handle on where it falls. The NAM 12 breaks up the line of storms before it reaches SE Tx. Only the NAM 3km seems to support any intense storms over Harris County. The HRRR does have a thin line of rain over Harris County but puts the severe weather (I assume the yellow area) offshore. I’m not you or Matt, but I’d say these model runs seem to be a little more optimistic in regards to Houston than any previous ones you’ve looked

    Please tell me I’m reading these right!!!!

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