Locally, the weather this week will be pretty standard for mid-August. It’s going to be hot. There will be a few opportunities for storms, but the majority of the week will see the majority of Southeast Texas dry. More on this in a second. First, let’s talk solar eclipse.

Eclipse outlook

We’re one week from one of the most talked about astronomical events in the U.S. in a long time. It’s certainly exciting, and understandably, there’s demand for eclipse weather forecasts. So, we’ll be happy to offer up our opinions here. First, locally, I think we look pretty standard in terms of thunderstorm chances. Odds are it will be partly to mostly sunny with just a few developing showers, mainly south and east of downtown Houston.

The initial outlook for eclipse viewing in Houston looks pretty typical for mid to late August: Sun, some passing clouds, and developing showers southeast of town.

 

The good news is that, assuming standard summer weather here in Houston, you probably won’t have to drive very far to get out of a downpour and into sunshine. All in all, I’m optimistic on our weather for the eclipse right now. We’ll keep you posted.

Some of you may be considering traveling into the path of totality of the eclipse, which stretches from Oregon into Wyoming across Missouri and offshore from South Carolina. We take a crack at things here, using some major cities along the path (Hopkinsville and Carbondale are the approximate locations of the greatest eclipse and longest duration of the eclipse respectively).

It’s a bit early to pin down exactly how things will look, but initially, the greatest chance of disappointment may be on the eastern edge of the eclipse path over the U.S., in South Carolina. This can certainly change, however.

 

Based on a brief look at the weather models for next Monday around the time of the eclipse, the best chance of rain may be in the Carolinas. Models disagree further west (including Nashville, Hopkinsville, Carbondale, and St. Louis), with a chance of rain showers potentially. For now, I’d spin it optimistically. I don’t see any reason to be overly nervous in any given place. I am watching a band of cloud cover showing up on some models from northern Colorado into Wyoming and perhaps the Plains (think Lincoln, NE & Kansas City). Again, it’s quite early for a precise cloud cover forecast, but we wanted to offer up an early opinion for you. Look for further updates this week.

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Houston officially clocked in at 97° on Thursday, registering our hottest day since way back on July 29th, when we hit the century mark. So, yeah, summer is back in style. And it’s not going to be in any hurry to let go.

Today & Weekend

We’re gradually settled back in to a typical late summer pattern of high heat, high humidity, and at least a handful of showers and storms each afternoon. For today, a Heat Advisory has been issued for the Houston metro area, Galveston, and College Station. Heat index values near 110° at times will be possible this afternoon. Actual temperatures today will top off in the mid or upper-90s.

It never hurts to reacquaint yourself with the symptoms of heat stress. (NWS)

 

Meanwhile, as showers and storms go, it appears today will see the highest coverage this weekend, which is to say it will be fairly similar to how Thursday ended up. Expect scattered noisy storms by mid-afternoon spreading inland from the south and east. Some folks see nothing, others may see an inch or two in some downpours. No serious trouble is expected. On the whole, we’ll call it about a 30 percent chance of storms today.

The going forecast for Saturday and Sunday is mainly sunny and dry. That said, in my experience, I wouldn’t be entirely floored if storm coverage is a bit higher than expected. I’m not talking a washout or anything, but I am talking about keeping an umbrella handy, just in case. We’re not in a strong, stable dry and hot pattern just yet. So there’s still enough opportunities for some storms to pop up. And I think it’s at least worth a mention.

Temperatures will top off in the mid-90s this weekend as well. While heat indices may be a bit lower Saturday and Sunday than we’ll see today, it will still get uncomfortable at times. Be sure to drink plenty of water and take it slow outdoors.

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Several posts in our Weather Why series deal with hurricanes. In the past, we have discussed what affects a hurricane’s path, as well as why winds are strongest on the right side of a hurricane. As the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season draws near, we wanted to focus on the part of a hurricane that impacts people along the cost the most—storm surge.

While many people are concerned with rain, wind, and tornado risks when discussing the impact of hurricanes, the storm surge is by far the most dangerous factor. A 2014 study by the National Hurricane Center showed that 49 percent of all deaths attributable to a hurricane or tropical storm come from storm surges (by comparison, hurricane-spawned tornadoes only account for 3 percent of tropical storm and hurricane deaths). So what causes the storm surge? And when a tropical system makes landfall, what can you do to avoid it?

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After a relatively cool and wet first week of our region’s hottest month, we now return you to your regular August programming, Houston. That’s right, high pressure is building, and temperatures are rising.

Thursday and Friday

Skies will become partly sunny to end the work week, and this will allow for warmer days, with highs in the lower 90s near the coast, mid-90s in Houston, and upper 90s for areas further inland. The sea breeze should be strong enough to produce some scattered showers during the afternoon and evening hours, but except for some isolated downpours, I don’t expect accumulations to be too significant. With the humidity, heat index values will be very high, likely above 105 degrees, so please take care outdoors during the warmest part of the day.

Saturday and Sunday

Rain chances should fall back to near zero over the weekend, with highs remaining about the same under partly to mostly sunny skies. This will be a classic August weekend in Houston so if you can manage it, the best outdoor activities will involve some sort of water or other means to cool down. Fortunately the moist ground from our recent rainfall should keep highs in the mid-90s in Houston, rather than the upper 90s, but this is a small consolation.

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