It is not atypical for high pressure to dominate Houston’s weather for weeks at a time, as it has so far this month. But it is atypical for this pattern to dominate in May, rather than later during the summer in July or August. However, it appears that high pressure will nonetheless be with us for awhile, and accordingly the rest of May will probably be warmer (and drier) than normal. The 16-day forecast from the GFS (never to be trusted, but in this case it’s probably not that far off) offers this outlook for the rest of the month:

Enjoy the rest of your May, Houston. (Weather Bell)

For May, that’s pretty brutal.

So if days are this hot in May, what does this mean for July and August? We’ll have a comprehensive post on Wednesday that will look at the summer forecast for Houston and southeast Texas. We know it will be hot. But how hot?

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Hurricane season officially begins June 1, but you may have seen that the National Hurricane Center has identified a low-pressure system across the southeastern Gulf of Mexico that could become a subtropical or tropical storm in three to five days as it moves northward (a 40 percent chance). Regardless of whether this system develops, it is going to mean a wet week for Florida and Alabama, and continued very dry weather for the greater Houston area.

Five-day tropical outlook for the Atlantic. (National Hurricane Center)

Put another way, this tropical system is going to have zero effect on Texas. Also, if you’re concerned about what the formation of a tropical system before the actual beginning of hurricane season may mean—don’t be. These storms happen every two or three years, and there is little to no correlation between the development of a pre-season storm and that year’s overall activity in the Atlantic.

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No drought yet for Houston, but unless it rains …

Posted by Eric Berger at 6:51 AM

For parts of Houston, last Friday and Saturday provided some decent rain showers, 1 to 2 inches of rainfall. But for much of the city, especially the southern half, it has been a dry end of spring. Hobby Airport, for example, has not seen any measurable rainfall since April 21. Because the region had a generally wet winter (not to mention Hurricane Harvey last August), drought conditions are only beginning to creep northward, from the Coastal Bend toward Houston. But make no mistake, unless it starts raining more soon, with temperatures now in the 90s, it won’t take too long for a drought to develop if these conditions persist.

Drought monitor report for Texas released on Thursday.

Unfortunately, the next week looks mostly to even completely dry for the region. (Some scattered showers will definitely be possible, but accumulations should be slight). I think we are probably 7 to 10 days away from any meaningful rain falling across Houston.

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You’ve got generator questions, we’ve got answers

Posted by Eric Berger at 10:00 AM

Last year, after a sponsored post about generators, we received an extraordinary number of questions from readers on the site, on Facebook, and on Twitter. So as we gear up for hurricane season this year—when homeowners are considering whether to make such an investment—we decided to go back to Reliant for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Will the noise from a generator upset my neighbors? Are there Homeowner Association Deed Restrictions? 

Generators are fairly quiet and generally quieter than your air conditioner running today. The thing to keep in mind is that the generator only produces noise when it is activated, either in an emergency situation or during its weekly test cycle to ensure systems are running properly. These cycles only take about five minutes and can be scheduled for the most convenient time for customers, often during the day when you’re at work or running errands. The cycle checks battery function, oil levels and other diagnostics to keep the engine primed and in good shape.

Regarding HOA restrictions, Reliant generators typically meet all noise requirements. However, if you live in an area with stricter regulations, the company can also provide additional solutions to suppress the sound.

When the power goes out, do you need to turn your generator on?

This is the most frequent question the Reliant home services team receives from customers. If you have a fully automatic backup generator, these require no action on the customer’s part. The Smart Transfer Switch monitors the household’s electricity and sends a signal to activate the generator if it detects an outage. It only takes about 5-8 seconds for the generator to automatically turn on once you lose power. For non-fully automatic solutions, such as the Reliant Portable Home Power Kit, all you have to do is flip a switch and you’ll be up and running.

Incrementally, what size generator will I need to power basic services, such as lights, phone, alarm system, Wi-Fi, refrigerator, etc?

Reliant provides free in-home assessments, in which Reliant’s generator specialists help determine the best generator for your needs and budget. In general, 10-14 kilowatt (kW) generators are enough to run individual survival appliances, such as a refrigerator, sump pump, or lights. A 15-20 kW generator could run a small home with one AC unit, and a 21-25 kW generator could power a small to medium-sized home. Read More…