Winter will briefly return to Houston this week

Summary: Houston will see one more warm day before a front arrives on Wednesday to cool us down for a couple of days. The first half of the weekend looks rather pleasant, but we’re keeping our eye on the potential for the return of some decent rainfall next week.

It’s a very mild morning across much of Texas. (Weather Bell)

Before the forecast, two programming notes. First of all, if you missed it, we did our first monthly Q&A feature on Monday, and we hope to do these regularly going forward. Secondly, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo begins today, and it’s an iconic event for our region attended by more than 2 million people. Accordingly, we’re going to offer daily forecasts, brought to you by our sponsor Reliant. we’ll share what you need to know about the expected weather before and after the rodeo and concert every day. Additionally, make sure to scroll to the bottom of this post and read Reliant’s fun Rodeo experiences (I’m definitely stopping by the Space City Cowboy photo op!)

Tuesday

Today will be another warm one, with highs likely topping out in the low 80s across much of the region. There may be a bit more sunshine than on Monday, but I still expect more clouds than not. Winds will be noticeable from the south, gusting up to 30 mph at times.

Rodeo forecast

If you’re heading out to the Blake Shelton concert this evening, hold on to your hat. Actually, the winds should be backing off a little bit later this evening and afternoon, but I just wanted to say ‘hold on to your hat.’ Temperatures will be mild this evening, perhaps about 70 degrees, with moderate humidity. Expect cloudy skies. Temperatures will only be a few degrees cooler after the show, heading down to overnight lows in the mid-60s tonight. Despite the clouds I don’t expect any rain showers today or tonight.

Wednesday

After a warm night a cold front will sweep through Houston on Wednesday morning, and the change will be pretty immediate. I’d expect the front to be near areas like Katy and The Woodlands around sunrise or an hour or two after, and be off the coast by or before noon. In the wake of the front we’ll see gusty northerly winds, mostly cloudy skies, and temperatures in the 60s with much drier air. Lows on Wednesday night will drop down to around 50 degrees in Houston.

Thursday morning will be the coldest one of the week. (Weather Bell)

Thursday

Here the brief spell of ‘winter’ I mentioned in the post headline. Skies will be cloudy on Thursday, with highs likely only peaking in the upper 50s to lower 60s. Winds will slow down. The air is going to be rather dry, with low dewpoints. However by later Thursday afternoon we’ll see winds turn to come from the south, and this will mark the beginning of an onshore flow. Lows on Thursday night will drop into the low 50s for most away from the coast.

Friday

We’ll see some decent rain chances late Thursday night into Friday morning, but accumulations look rather slight, likely in the hundredths of an inch. Skies, otherwise, will be mostly cloudy with highs in the low- to mid-70s. Lows on Friday night will probably drop down to around 60 degrees.

Saturday and Sunday

The first half of the weekend looks pretty good for outdoor plans. We’ll see highs of around 80 degrees with partly sunny skies. Rain chances look to be close to nil. Lows Saturday night will be mild, in the low 60s.

Sunday will bring more clouds, and a slight chance of rain. Still, anything that falls should be very light. Highs will again be around 80 degrees.

Next week

The forecast for next week is somewhat in flux. However, in general, we can expect warm conditions on Monday and probably Tuesday. At some point a front is going to move toward our area and help generate conditions for rainfall. This will probably our best chance at some decent accumulations of rainfall in a while. This front will be followed by some cooler weather for a couple of days. So, basically, more spring is on the way.

A message from Reliant

This isn’t our first rodeo, and, at Reliant, we’re here for a rootin’ tootin’ time at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, now open today through March 17. Here are a few fun places to stop by: 

  • Saddle up in Space City at Reliant’s new photo op for Rodeo fans to enjoy, located in the lobby of NRG Center at Hall C. A tip of the cap to Houston’s ‘Space City’ roots, grab your partner and take a trip to the moon in this interactive photo op that makes you and your posse feel like a Space City Cowboy.  
  • Stop by the Reliant Ranch in NRG Plaza for an interactive experience for rodeo-goers of all ages. Two step on over to enjoy festive games like Get Your Ducks in a Row-deo, Boot Toss, Ring Toss, and a Souvenir Penny Press. And don’t forget to say howdy to our pal Hugo, Reliant’s friendly brand ambassador! 
  • Hold your horses, we can’t forget the iconic Reliant Big Boot! Standing at 25-feet-tall, this staple of the Rodeo provides visitors with another great Instagram-worthy moment. Grab the whole crew and giddy on up before you head to the concert, carnival, or let’s face it… the Champion Wine Garden! 
  • While you’re busy snapping pics as a Space City Cowboy or over at the Reliant Big Boot, we also have you covered with free charging stations throughout NRG Park, so you can stay powered up and present! With a valid email and credit card ($1 hold), rodeo-goers can borrow a power pack and return them at any charging station once they are done. 

See y’all at the Rodeo!  

The SCW Q&A: Frost, pollen, predictions, blue skies, and swag!

One of the best things about Space City Weather is the people who read it. Anyone who writes regularly wants to feel like the audience is paying attention – and it’s even sweeter when they’re talking back. SCW is more than just Eric and Matt: It’s you, too.

And you have questions. Lots of them. We enjoy turning your queries into posts, which happens a lot. Now, it’s going to happen more. We’re starting a monthly SCW Q&A feature, in which Eric and Matt will tackle a handful of questions you’ve asked them recently.

Got a question of you want answered? Leave it as a comment here or on one of our many social channels (we’re everywhere!), or hit the Feedback button on the blog’s home page.


Q. Do you think we’ve seen the last chance of frost? I’m itching to get plants in the ground.

A. We received a couple of questions along these lines. We are now past the “average” date of the final freeze for pretty much all of the Houston metro region, except for a few outlying areas like Conroe and Montgomery. So historically the city’s odds of seeing another freeze are below 50 percent.

But I think they’re far lower than this. We’ve clearly entered a more spring-like pattern, and there is no sign of a super-strong front in the next 10 to 14 days. So I’d say our chances of seeing another freeze in the Houston area this season are 10 percent, or less. It could happen. The city has recorded freezes in early April before. But it’s very unlikely.

–Eric

Q. When do you expect that the yellow pollen will be back in Houston again? Thanks!

A. It’s baaaaaack! Allergy season is now in full swing. Usually, we’ll see little bumps in pollen through January and February as we get periodic milder weather. But we never see the full force of pollen arrive until usually the last week of February. It appears that began last Friday. In fact, if you look historically, you can see this in the City of Houston’s tree pollen count. The chart’s a bit messy because data is not taken on weekends or holidays. But you can see the general trend.

The daily tree pollen count in Houston from 2017 through last week shows that allergy season typically peaks around mid-March here. 2022 was a notable exception with a massive peak in late March.

Since 2017, Houston’s peak pollen day has occurred in March, varying between the 6th and the 31st and averaging around St. Patrick’s Day. Pollen typically builds in the first half of March, peaks, and then slowly tails off before a more dramatic drop heading into April. Notice how on the chart above 2021 stands out for how short pollen season was, thanks in part to the mid-February freeze. With a potentially extended spring this year, we probably won’t get so lucky. Whatever the case, the next three to five weeks will probably be rough for those with pollen allergies.

–Matt

Q. You’ve talked about how it’s silly to predict hurricanes too early. But at what point does a season prediction start to become credible, in terms of timing?

A. This is a really good question. Seasonal forecasting for hurricanes is a challenge, whether you do it in January, March or May. This is part of my day job in the energy industry, and it remains the most elusive in terms of consistency, particularly when you get into other variables like temperature or rainfall for a season. But from the standpoint of hurricanes, seasonal forecasting is actually not half bad when you begin to see outlooks emerge in March. Colorado State University issues one of the most publicized hurricane outlooks, and this year’s first iteration comes out on April 4th. Anything prior to that can be hit or miss.

Raw modeling of hurricane season forecasts is occasionally good, occasionally bad. For humans, trying to predict El Niño vs. La Niña and the amplitude can be a challenge this time of year because of the inherent “spring predictability barrier.” That’s one of our best signals for determining directionality of a hurricane season (busier or quieter). But some years are easier than others. The current thought among most meteorologists I know and follow, as well as my own independent thinking, is that we are almost certainly heading into a La Niña this summer. That, combined with continued exceptionally warm oceans globally (a global marine heat wave) seems to imply that virtually no one should be forecasting a quiet hurricane season this year. We wrote about this in detail last week at our companion site The Eyewall.

But as far as firm concrete numbers? Late March and early April offers a viable first guess, with some adjustments in May and even June. That said, what no one is really, consistently good at on a seasonal scale is predicting where storms will go. So regardless of forecasts, it’s important to remember to prepare for every hurricane season as if it will be the one that impacts you.

–Matt

Q. I have a question regarding how clear Houston appears following a cold front. I imagine it’s because the wind blows the smog and pollution away. But what’s the science behind that? Does it also have something to do with our humid climate? 

Well, you have pretty much answered your own question!

First let’s characterize the haze that typically makes for less clear air. Haze is caused when sunlight encounters tiny pollution particles in the air. Some of this light is absorbed by particles, and some is scattered away before it reaches you. More pollutants mean more absorption and scattering of light. In Houston we have plenty of pollutants in the air, which increases the likelihood of haze. But weather plays a role as well.

Fronts typically bring blustery conditions, and these winds clear out air pollution at the surface. In addition, warmer air in Houston tends to be more humid. So think about a warm, summer day in Houston: It’s humid, winds are typically light and its partly to mostly sunny. These are ideal conditions for the formation of haze. Conditions in the wake of a good front: cooler and drier air, and windy conditions, are kryptonite for haze.

–Eric

Haze is caused when sunlight encounters tiny pollution particles in the air. (US EPA)

Q. I love the site and love the new(-ish?) logo! Any chance you’ll get that on a coffee cup at some point?

A. I’m glad you like the new design! It was time for a refresh. The original design, depicting the space shuttle carrier aircraft flying over the city of Houston, dates to October 2015. At the time I was in a rush to create the site in a couple of hours. I grabbed the image because it was a free NASA photo and it captured both the elements of “Space City” and “Weather.” But it wasn’t professionally done. I love the new look, and especially because it features the International Space Station, which is flown right here from Houston.

As for coffee cups, that’s a great suggestion. We’ll be sure and add those to our annual fundraiser. That takes place in November when we encourage people to buy merchandise and donate to support the website and our app.

–Eric

Very warm weather across Texas this week before the arrival of a front

Summary: Houston will see rather warm, spring-like weather for a couple of days before a front arrives on Wednesday to cool the region down. The weekend looks pleasant again, with highs in the upper 70s to 80 degrees. Some slight rain chances do return Friday, but overall accumulations look very light. Don’t expect much sunshine this week.

Texas heat

Good morning. Houston will see moderately warm weather this week, but if we pull back across Texas some northern parts of the state are going to see very warm temperatures in the low 90s. The high temperature today in Dallas, for example, is 93 degrees. This statewide heat is being driven by several factors, including drier air over the northern part of the state, a warm southwesterly flow, and a warm air mass (for February) over much of the continental United States. A front will arrive mid-week to cool the state off.

Temperature anomaly for highs on Monday, in which some locations will see warming 30 degrees above normal. (Weather Bell)

Before jumping into the forecast I want to share a couple of programming notes. Check back at 10 am this morning for a new feature, a monthly Q&A post in which Matt and I answer your questions. Also, you can see our final sponsorship video with Reliant here, in which talk with Elizabeth Killinger about what not having to worry about ‘clicks’ means for Space City Weather.

Monday

Houston experienced its first 80-degree weather of 2024 this past weekend, with highs of 80 and 82 degrees, respectively, on Saturday and Sunday. We’ll likely be there again today and Tuesday before a front arrives on Wednesday. Skies will be partly to mostly cloudy today, with highs in the low 80s. Winds will be from the southwest at 10 to 15 mph. Lows on Monday night will drop into the mid- to upper-60s with cloudy skies. Winds will pick up some from the south overnight.

Tuesday

This will be another warm day, with a decent amount of humidity as dewpoints push into the mid-60s. Highs will again be in the low 80s. Southerly winds become particularly notable midday, perhaps gusting up to about 30 mph. Expect mostly cloudy skies. Lows Tuesday night will likely only drop into the upper 60s.

Wednesday

Change arrives on Wednesday when a front blows into Houston, likely during the mid-morning hours. Highs will likely peak ahead of the front, in the 70s, before dropping during the afternoon hours. Winds on Wednesday afternoon and evening will be fairly strong, from the north, gusting to about 30 mph. At this point I think the front will bring little to no rain with it. Low temperatures on Wednesday night will drop to about 50 degrees, with cooler conditions inland.

Thursday

This day will be mostly cloudy and cooler, with highs of about 60 degrees. Winds will be much less than on Wednesday, with overnight lows about the same, dropping to around 50 degrees or a bit lower in Houston.

Friday morning should be the coldest of the week. (Weather Bell)

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

We’ll see two trends this weekend. The first is gradually warming temperatures, from 70 degrees on Friday to the upper 70s to 80 degrees this weekend. We’ll also see the return of some slight rain chances beginning later on Thursday or Thursday night and lasting through Sunday. When I say light, I mean light. Although the weekend will see about a 20 percent chance of rain each day, overall accumulations are expected to be measured in hundredths of an inch. If you’re looking for some sunshine, Saturday afternoon probably has the best chance of it this weekend, but even then I’m not promising anything.

Next week

Monday should be warm again before some sort of front arrives on Tuesday. The details are still fuzzy, but it does appear as though this next front will bring with it a slightly better chance of rain. We shall see.

Calm, spring-like weather to persist for as far as the eye can see

Summary: If you like the forecast to be steady eddy, and our weather mild, you’re in luck. The outlook for the next week or so, at least, looks pleasant with a series of weak fronts keeping temperatures from getting too warm or the air too humid. Rain chances are near zero at least until we get toward the end of next week.

I also want to give a huge shout-out to Houston-based Intuitive Machines. There are some great people there, and last night they successfully landed the first US-made spacecraft on the Moon in 52 years. This is also the first privately built vehicle to ever make a soft landing on the Moon. It’s a huge achievement that all of us in Space City can be proud of. As a space nerd I was so excited last night I could hardly fall asleep. If you’re interested, I wrote about the nail-biting landing, which faced last-minute challenges, here.

Friday

A modest front arrived on Thursday night to drag some cooler and drier weather in to the Houston region. As a result, we have some pleasant weather ahead this weekend. Skies will be sunny today, with high temperatures in the upper 70s. Winds will be noticeable, out of the north, gusting to perhaps 20 or 25 mph this afternoon. They should ease off this evening, and we’ll see lows drop down to around 50 degrees tonight.

Low temperature forecast for Saturday morning in Houston. (Weather Bell)

Saturday

The first half of the weekend should be stunning. Highs will reach the upper 70s, with a few areas perhaps briefly touching 80 degrees. The air will be plenty dry, with light winds. Lows on Saturday night will again drop into the low 50s to 50 degrees in Houston, with cooler conditions for outlying areas.

Sunday

By Saturday night we’ll see the onshore flow starting to work its way into Houston, so on Sunday we’ll see slightly more humid air. More noticeable, perhaps, will be a fairly robust southerly breeze, at 15 mph with gusts to 20 mph or higher. Skies will still be sunny, with highs in the upper 70s. With the warmer overall flow, lows on Sunday night will only drop to around 60 degrees in Houston.

First half of next week

We’ll see warmer and breezier weather next week with highs generally around 80 degrees and somewhat humid air as dewpoints push into the low-60s. Skies will still be at least somewhat sunny on Monday, but they’ll turn cloudier on Tuesday and Wednesday. At some point, probably on Wednesday, another modestly strong front will arrive to bring us some cooler and drier air.

It’s springtime in Houston, and it feels fine. (Weather Bell)

Second half of next week

Highs will likely drop into the low 70s, and lows into the 50s, after the front. This somewhat cooler weather could persist into the weekend, but at that point the forecast starts to turn a bit fuzzy. In terms of rainfall potential, the models are hinting that some showers may return into the forecast beginning next Thursday or Friday, but the signal is far from overwhelming. We should know more on Monday. Speaking of which, have a wonderful weekend, everyone. We don’t get all that many in Space City like this.