Is winter over?

Houston just experienced an absolutely stunning weekend, with highs climbing into the 70s on Sunday. As a result, several people have asked whether winter is now over. It is decidedly not, but we are having quite mild conditions during what is normally the “dead” of winter. Historically, the first 10 days of January represent the coldest time of the year, when the average low in Houston falls to 43 degrees, and the average high is 62 degrees. With that said, Houston can have pretty strong cold outbreaks through the middle of March, so “winter” will likely last for about two more months. Inland parts of the region, at least, have a pretty good shot at reaching the 30s next weekend.

Welcome to the coldest time of year, Houston. (National Weather Service)

Also, please note that today begins the first of our daily looks at weather for the upcoming Houston Marathon, which takes place on Sunday, January 19. Those updates will occur at the end of each post.


Today will be another warm and pleasant one across Houston, with highs likely topping out in the mid-70s under mostly sunny skies. Winds will be light, out of the southwest. We would definitely be on a major upward trend in terms of temperatures but for a moderate cold front tonight. Expect it to pass through the region around midnight, give or take an hour or two, without the prospect of any rain. Lows should get down to around 50 degrees early Tuesday.


If you’re wondering what winter typically feels like in Houston, in January, today’s the day. Look for highs in the low- to mid-60s with lows in the low- to mid-40s. Skies will be sunny.


Winds will return from offshore on Wednesday, and you may notice them begin to kick up during the afternoon hours. They could gust up to about 20mph, or a bit higher along the coast. Otherwise, highs will reach into the upper 60s, with sunshine in the morning, and likely increasing clouds during the afternoon and evening as moisture levels rise in the atmosphere.

Thursday and Friday

Gray skies and much warmer air returns to end the work week, with highs both days in the 70s under mostly cloudy skies, and warm nights in the 60s. Some scattered rain showers will be possible Thursday, with a better chance of showers and thunderstorms on Friday and Friday night as a cold front moves across the region. With plenty of moisture to work with, we’re watching Friday for the possibility of severe weather along the front, but for now we don’t have too great of a concern. Overall accumulations through Friday night will likely be on the order of 0.5 to 1.0 inch of rain for the region.

Rain accumulation forecast for now through Sunday. (Pivotal Weather)

Saturday and Sunday

Next weekend looks seasonal, with sunny skies, highs in the 60s, and lows in the 40s (or possibly 30s well inland). Enjoy!

Houston Marathon

Runners will care less about next weekend than the weekend after that. In the big picture, we have high confidence in a cold front on Friday, January 10. After this, both the European and GFS model depict some kind of fairly strong front arriving around Wednesday, January 15, or Thursday of next week. The strength and timing of this front will in large part determine the weather for the marathon. If the front comes through on Thursday and is particularly strong, we likely will see a chilly Sunday morning for the run. If the front is weaker and arrives earlier, a warming trend may be well under way by race day. Right now, the model average points to a race time temperature in the mid-50s, warming into the 60s during the daytime.

My personal preference is for something about 10 degrees colder than that. In any case, there are 13 days to go, so the forecast remains highly uncertain—but that should go without saying.

7 thoughts on “Is winter over?”

  1. Funny how in the summer some want it to end and now is not soon enough (I’m in that camp), but then in the middle of a moderate winter when you’re not sweating out of every pore, they want to know if THAT’S now ending…smh.

  2. If the normal January temperature is 62/43, this weekend just passed wasn’t too much warmer than that. I wouldn’t consider 62/43 to be a cold day by any measure. The day light is getting longer, and I suspect that after the very early cold snap, there won’t be any unusually cold weather, but it is still way early to think that winter is ending.

  3. Seems like some of the coldest days I can remember, since moving to the Houston area, have come in February.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the mild weekend, was outside all Saturday afternoon taking down Christmas lights, and wish I would have been able to be out again on Sunday.

  4. I like cold weather and wish we had some more. I remember in November we had a big cold snap that gave us our first freeze with highs in the 40s, but for the most part it’s been warm ever since. I keep checking the 10 day looking for those big chill days with lows in the 30s and highs in the 40s or 50s, but it’s just not happening. My winter clothes are going mostly unused.

  5. During the 2018-2019 winter period, our coldest weather around here occurred during mid-November and early March (and not during the Dec – Feb time period)… So far this period, our coldest weather occurred during mid-November. Penny for your thoughts on this Matt or Eric?

  6. Strange SPC is showing such a high confidence level for day 5. They seem pretty persistent for IAH area. Guess for now it’s hurry up and wait. Looks like some good ingredients but where we are the strong storms seem to miss us. We could use a good rain dumper or two

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