We are taking the threat of heavy rainfall next week seriously

In brief: We’re continuing to follow the possibility of heavy rainfall next week in the greater Houston area, especially for coastal areas. We’re still far from having all of the details, but we know enough to take the threat seriously.

Weekend outlook

Happy Saturday, everyone. If sunshine and heat are your jam, you’re in luck this weekend. Today, especially, will bring brilliant blue skies and temperatures in the mid-90s. There may be a few clouds tomorrow, but I still expect mostly sunny skies on Sunday, with high temperatures in the low- to mid-90s. It’s possible we’ll see a few isolated showers and thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening hours on Sunday, but most of us will simply be sunny and warm.

And then it won’t be.

NOAA rain forecast for now through next Thursday. (Weather Bell)

Next week

The overall pattern appears unsettled for most of next week, with a very healthy chance of showers each day, and the middle of the week especially concerning. A low pressure system over the southern Gulf of Mexico will help push a large plume of tropical moisture into Texas and Louisiana. This threat of heavy rainfall next week will materialize whether the low in the southern Gulf becomes a tropical depression or storm. In fact, it doesn’t really matter. The table is set, regardless.

Over the last 24 hours some of our guidance has been showing excessive amounts of rainfall along the Gulf coast, but whether these bullseyes occur over Matagorda Bay, Galveston Bay, Port Arthur, or Southern Louisiana is something we cannot say. In terms of timing, the greatest threat of heavy rainfall likely will come during a period from Tuesday evening through Thursday morning.

Next Wednesday morning precipitable water levels are forecast to be nearly 200 percent of norma levels. (Weather Bell)

So what does this all mean? If you live inland of Interstate 10, the overall risk is lower. Most of these areas are likely to pick up 2 to 4 inches between Monday and Friday. However, areas along and south of Interstate 10 are likely to see 4 to 6 inches of rainfall next week. Our concern is that some localized areas may see 10 inches or more of rainfall next week given the tropical nature of this rainfall. The expected level of moisture in the atmosphere—a value known as precipitable water—is very high, and such levels are capable of producing high rainfall rates that can quickly flood streets. We don’t know for sure whether this kind of pattern will establish itself over the Houston area, but it is a distinct possibility.

I’m writing all of this on a Saturday morning not to scare you, but rather to prepare you for the possibility of heavy rainfall next week. We will continue to watch this closely, and update this weekend as warranted.

Details continue to evolve on next week’s rain in Houston with a focus now on midweek

In brief: After a quiet weekend, rain chances pick back up Monday and Tuesday before potentially heavier and more widespread rain on Wednesday and Thursday. Tropical development in the Bay of Campeche will not directly impact Houston, but indirect impacts with rough seas, gusty coastal winds, and some tidal flooding will be possible.

Right out of the gate, we want to make sure people understand that next week’s weather is being driven by two entities: The first is the potential tropical system in the Bay of Campeche, which will not directly impact us. But the second will be the heavy rainfall on the north side, tangentially associated with it that will impact us. The latter continues to give us some forecast headaches, which we’ll explain below.

Today and Saturday

No issues are expected with plentiful sunshine. As always, a rogue downpour is possible in the afternoon, but much like yesterday it should be quick moving and very localized. Daytime highs will be in the low to mid-90s with elevated ozone levels as well, so poor air quality will be noticeable. Morning lows should be in the 70s tomorrow.


For now, we expect much the same for Sunday, though a few extra clouds could begin to sneak in for the second half of the day, along with an isolated shower or downpour.

Total forecast rainfall from the NWS for next week is around 3 to 6 inches, with higher amounts close to Galveston. (Weather Bell)

Monday & Tuesday

We expect scattered to potentially numerous showers and thunderstorms in the area on Monday and Tuesday afternoons, though it’s a bit soon to pin down exactly where these will be most likely. Think of the first couple days of the week as slightly juicier typical summer days. There could be a handful of stronger storms or localized heavy downpours. This should keep temperatures down a bit as well, mostly in the 80s to near 90 degrees.

Wednesday & Thursday

We are beginning to see decent model agreement that Tuesday night, Wednesday, and early Thursday will feature our highest rain chances, and with that will likely come some heavy rainfall. I think this is the timeframe where I would be watching closest for potential flash flooding. The trouble right now is that our models widely differ on where this occurs. Our typical physics-based models are focusing things on the entirety of the Texas coast, while our newer AI models favor Houston into Louisiana for the heaviest rainfall.

The physics-based classic ECMWF operational model at left vs. the newer AI-driven ECMWF at right show some significant details on rain placement next week, the the AI model focusing the higher totals closer to Houston and classic modeling more spread out or even focused to our southwest. (Pivotal Weather)

One other possibility in this scenario is that a lot of rain falls at the immediate coast or offshore, which ends up depriving inland areas of moisture. So there is at least a chance that we see a very sharp gradient of rainfall next week with high totals near Galveston and very manageable totals in Houston. Things should hopefully quiet down later Thursday and Friday, regardless.

Marine impacts

In addition to the rainfall, we will likely see some pretty considerable wind and wave impacts over the open waters next week. With rather sustained easterly or east-southeast 20 to 30 mph winds nearshore and 30 to 35 mph winds offshore, look for waves to begin to build to 8 to 10 feet over the Gulf by midweek. I would anticipate nuisance to minor tidal flooding issues as we hit high tide cycles on Wednesday and Thursday. We’ll want to keep tabs on this just because of the persistence of the onshore flow next week.

Bay of Campeche system

We continue to see about a 50/50 shot that a tropical system develops in the Bay of Campeche next week.

The National Hurricane Center has about 50 percent odds that a tropical system formally develops in the Bay of Campeche next week before sliding into Mexico. (NOAA NHC)

As noted above, this is related but separate from the rain we see next week. While development (low-end) is becoming more possible or likely, it is expected to quickly slide ashore in Mexico, so no direct impacts are expected on the Texas coast.

Beyond this, there may be another sloppy system that tries to develop the week of June 24th, but we have plenty of time to watch that. We’ll have more on next week’s rainfall situation over the weekend.

Here’s what to expect from the tropical disturbance in the Southern Gulf of Mexico

In brief: Houston will see a few more isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms today, but overall our pattern will turn sunnier and a bit hotter through Saturday. After that the focus turns to the Gulf of Mexico, where a tropical disturbance is likely to develop. Local rain chances start to increase on Sunday, but at this point we expect the heaviest rain associated with this system to remain south of the Houston metro area.


As high pressure expands over the Southern United States, we’ll see decreased rain chances today, perhaps on the order of 20 percent. Like in recent days, any showers and thunderstorms will develop during the late morning, afternoon, and early evening hours with daytime heating. A few areas may see accumulations of 1 inch or greater, but much of the area will see nothing. Skies, otherwise, should be partly to mostly sunny today with high temperatures in the low 90s. Winds will be light. Lows tonight will fall into the upper 70s for most locations.

Friday and Saturday

With high pressure reaching is broadest expanse into our area, skies will be mostly sunny on both of these days with temperatures in the low- to -mid-90s. Since we are very near to the summer solstice now, please know the Sun is almost directly overhead (an altitude of 84 degrees) during the midday hours. This will burn your skin quickly, so please take precautions. Afternoon dewpoints will be slightly lower on Friday and Saturday so it won’t feel as hot as it will later this summer. Rain chances on both days is 10 percent, or less.

NOAA tropical outlook as of Thursday morning. (National Hurricane Center)

Sunday and beyond

By Sunday our attention will turn toward the Gulf of Mexico. As we’ve been discussing for several days, a tropical disturbance is likely to form in the Bay of Campeche early next week. (The National Hurricane Center now gives the system a 40 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or tropical storm during the next seven days).

At this point I am fairly confident that high pressure over the southern United States will help to keep this system penned up in the southern Gulf of Mexico, and eventually steer it westward into Mexico (most likely) or South Texas. Although some organization is possible, the main threat from this tropical system is very likely to be heavy rainfall.

Due to the overall steering that we’re expecting, I think rainfall accumulations for the Houston area next week are likely to be manageable. Totals are likely to be highest along the coast, with the potential for 3 to 5 inches, with lesser amounts likely for inland areas. Greater accumulations than this are possible for locations further south, such as the Brownsville area, but uncertainty remains.

NOAA rain accumulation forecast for now through next Wednesday. (Weather Bell)

In the greater Houston area we’re also likely to see stronger onshore winds, perhaps 10 to 20 mph, with higher gusts, associated with the system. Tides may also run 1 to 2 feet higher with a persistent onshore wind. All of this forecast is subject to change if the tropical system evolves differently, but as for now I anticipate our localized effects to be mostly modest.

The bottom line is that much of next week, beginning Sunday, is likely to bring at least partly cloudy skies into the region with the chance for intermittent heavy rainfall. This pattern should help to keep high temperatures in the vicinity of 90 degrees, so a bit cooler than normal. Matt and I will be watching this closely and update as warranted if the forecast substantially changes.

Heavy rain possible next week due to a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico

In brief: After one more day with storm-o-clock weather this afternoon, Houston will see a sunnier and hotter pattern set in through the first half of the weekend. We’re not going to get super-hot, but it will feel like June out there. By Sunday our attention turns to the Gulf of Mexico, and the potential for tropical rainfall much of next week.


We’re going to see one more day with the potential for scattered to widespread showers and thunderstorms. Conditions will be similar to what we’ve seen on Monday and Tuesday, with storms firing up during the late morning, afternoon, and early evening hours due to a combination of plenty of moisture in the atmosphere, the sea breeze, and an overall perturbed atmosphere. Similar to the last couple of days, a few locations may see accumulations of 1 to 2 inches of rain, whereas most of the area sees considerably less.

Skies will be partly to mostly sunny when it’s not raining, with high temperatures reaching the low 90s for much of Houston. Outside of thunderstorms, winds will be light, around 5 mph from the northwest. Lows tonight will drop into the mid-70s.

Relative humidity on Friday will be, dare I say it, not incredibly high? (Weather Bell)


This will be a bit of a transition day as high pressure builds into our area from the northeast. I can’t rule out some isolated showers and thunderstorms, but most of us will see sunny skies with high temperatures in the low- to mid-90s. Lows will drop into the mid-70s.

Friday and Saturday

These will be sunny and hot days, with highs in the low-to-mid 90s. However, dewpoints will be a bit lower than a classic Houston summer, especially on Friday. This will take some of the sting out of the daytime highs, and make evenings a little more comfortable. Lows on Friday night could drop into the low 70s for much of Houston. Rain chances for both of these days are less than 10 percent.

Sunday and beyond

Starting on Sunday, our attention will need turn to the Southern Gulf of Mexico, where we could see some sort of tropical disturbance develop. Right now I don’t anticipate anything too organized—i.e. with strong, hurricane-force winds. However, whatever does develop is likely to be an efficient conveyor belt to bring Gulf moisture onshore, and therefore serve as a source of moderate to heavy tropical rainfall.

One reason for the uncertainty next week is a broad spread in tropical low locations, shown here on Tuesday evening as forecast by the GFS model. (Weather Bell)

Our best forecast models are split on the evolution of this system, and how far north it moves (this will depend on the strength of high pressure over the southern United States). What I can say is that, beginning Sunday and especially from Monday through Thursday, there will be the potential for heavy rainfall along the Texas coast, including the greater Houston area.

It is a folly to try and predict rainfall totals because there are still so many uncertainties about a forecast for 5 to 10 days from now. But this is the kind of thing where our area could see 1 inch of rainfall, or 10 next week. In any case, most of next week should see a cloudier pattern, and this should help to limit highs in the upper 80s. Matt and I will be keeping a close eye on this, and when we know something, you will.