A dreary start to the week will continue today with a number of things to watch for in the region. Let’s get to it.
Today & tonight
Two issues this morning: Fog and rain. Starting with visibility, we’ve got Dense Fog Advisories up for the entire region. Visibility is restricted just about everywhere in Southeast Texas, so give yourself a few extra minutes this morning. Fog will be most persistent near the coast, so if you’re traveling south on I-45 or east on I-10 this morning, you should expect a much slower than usual go of things.
In addition to the fog, we’re also watching rain. Most of the heavier and steadier rain is well north of Houston this morning. If you live in The Woodlands or Conroe or north and west of Houston toward Sealy or Hempstead, you’re seeing occasional rains this morning. Those will probably lift off to the north through the morning.
The rest of today will feature steady to perhaps heavy rainfall almost totally out of the Houston area. This would be most likely north of a Brenham-Huntsville-Lufkin line. In and around Houston itself, we could see a sporadic shower or a thunderstorm. After the fog slowly dissipates this morning (and in places, it may linger into early afternoon), it should be mostly dry. Expect temperatures to reach the mid-70s this afternoon.
Tonight is when we’ll need to pay attention for some quick moving thunderstorms. A cold front should sweep through between roughly 9 PM and 2 AM. It will bring a broken, thin line of storms, which means it’s possible that not everyone sees rain or thunder. That said, parameters over Southeast Texas will be favorable for some of the storms embedded in that line to be strong to severe. A few places may see some gusty winds, and while we can’t entirely rule out a stray storm capable of producing a tornado, that would be most likely well northeast of Houston into the Piney Woods I think.
Behind the front, westerly winds take control, and much drier and slightly cooler air will arrive overnight.
This is the pick of the week. Perhaps it’s the pick of the next few weeks, actually. I mean, it looks stunning. Wednesday should be partly to mostly sunny, not too humid, and quite warm. Expect temperatures to max out in the middle or upper-70s. This is less of a Christmas spirit type day and more of a “this is why we live in Houston” type day. Hope you’re able to enjoy it a bit.
(Space City Weather is brought to you this month by the Law Office of Murray Newman)
Thursday & Friday
The time between weather systems has narrowed quite a bit lately, and we’ll run through the process again Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, onshore flow comes back, allowing humidity to surge. This should allow for more murky skies with fog back in play as well, especially near the coast. I wouldn’t rule out a shower Thursday, but as of right now I’m not too impressed by what I see.
We’ll see temperatures gradually warm through the 60s and into the 70s Thursday. Thursday night might be so humid that temperatures struggle to drop below 70° over much of the area. A cold front should blast through Friday evening. So while we will stay in the 70s during the day, temperatures should tumble Friday evening. It may be a case where we’re 75° at 6 PM and 50° by Midnight. We’ll fine tune this timing as we get closer.
With the front, a broken line of showers and storms. As of now, it doesn’t look too serious, but we could see some modest rain accumulations.
Saturday through Christmas and beyond
We’ll run through yet another transition over the Christmas weekend. Saturday looks cloudy and cool with temperatures mainly hovering in the mid-50s, though we could hit the upper 50s to near 60° if we can get some afternoon sunshine.
Naturally Sunday into Monday will be the most challenging part of the forecast, even when you take holiday festivities out of the equation! We do know this: A secondary cold front is going to push through at this time. Temperatures on Christmas Eve will probably be mild, but more like mid-60s rather than the mid-70s of Thursday into Friday. Onshore flow is going to try and start back up again, but I don’t think it’ll have a chance to rev up like this week.
The next cold front probably pushes through Sunday night. Temperatures will plummet behind the front. Models continue to bounce around on details here, but the flavor of the day today favors a dry frontal passage, which means no precipitation for Christmas. We’ll keep you posted on this though.
It also means cold temperatures Christmas morning, with lows near freezing in Houston a possibility. I expect sunshine on Christmas, but it will stay cold. Temperatures may limp into the mid or upper 40s during Christmas Day. We will have another cold night and possible freeze risk Monday night into Tuesday morning. We’ll keep you posted on details, as we’ve seen possible temperatures in this timeframe bounce around between the mid-20s and mid-30s. So still a good deal of uncertainty on specifics for Christmas and Tuesday morning.
Beyond Christmas and Tuesday morning, it will likely be colder more often than not through the end of 2017. That doesn’t mean cold every day, but on average, the majority of the time will be spent with below normal temperatures. Stay tuned!