Quiet spring break appears ahead for Houston

Good morning! I want to start with a couple housekeeping items today.

Edit: One of our readers has provided a good explanation for the below that confirms the source of Thursday’s smoke was local, not from Oklahoma. See the comments below for his explainer. For the sake of transparency, I’ve left the original post in tact.

First, the smoke yesterday. We got a couple comments and tweets about it. The unfortunate answer is that we really don’t know for sure where it came from. The going theory is that it probably came from some unknown local source. Certainly possible, but I have a sneaky suspicion it could be because of fires and controlled burns in Oklahoma. If you ran a backwards trajectory on the air mass over Houston yesterday back 48 hours (in other words, where was the air over Houston yesterday 48 hours prior?), our air came from the northern Rockies, traveled across Oklahoma and North Texas, and eventually sank to the surface near Houston.

Yesterday afternoon’s air over Texas may have picked up smoke over Oklahoma as it came south and lowered to the surface in Houston, bringing the smoke with it. (NOAA)

The air mass would have been over Oklahoma and northeast Texas on Wednesday afternoon and evening. I believe there were quite a few controlled burns and a few other fires up in Oklahoma or North Texas then that could have ended up making the trip south with our cooler air. Otherwise, the smoke was indeed from somewhere closer to Houston, but no one really knows for sure. Anyway, I found it interesting and thought I’d share.

And if the smoke wasn’t enough to put a damper on your day yesterday, the pollen count probably was. How bad was it yesterday?

Tree pollen, particularly oak pollen is the league leader in irritating your nose. (City of Houston)

Tree pollen often flares up this time of year. For me, it’s usually a battle between oak and cedar in terms of what can drive me away from outdoor activity. Oak is dominating the board right now and likely will continue to do so for the next few weeks. Oak pollen usually eases up in late March or April. The city of Houston has a pretty good pollen and mold count site I recommend for bookmarking. You can also examine historical data too.

On to the forecast.

Today & Saturday

We’ll start out with sun and some clouds today. I expect clouds to gradually thicken up as the day goes on. I wouldn’t be shocked to hear about a few sprinkles or showers southwest of Houston this afternoon. It’ll be warmer and gradually turn more humid today. Look for highs in the lower 70s. A disturbance passing by overnight should touch off at least some scattered showers or a rumble of thunder. The best chance of this would be south of I-10. Look for mid-60s overnight, and total rainfall ranging from nothing to a few tenths of an inch overall.

On Saturday, there will continue to be a few showers or even a thunderstorm or two around in the morning. As of right now, we expect the afternoon to be mostly quiet. A shower or two is possible, but the atmosphere over Houston will likely be capped, meaning showers and storms will have a tough time developing. It will probably still be a mostly cloudy day with a few sunny breaks at times. You should be able to go about most plans with scant interruption tomorrow. Highs on Saturday will peak around or above 80 degrees.

Sunday into Monday

Look for a cold front to cross through the region early on Sunday morning. Behind it, things will turn much cooler. Instead of 80 degrees on Sunday, we’ll probably peak around or just under 70° or so. We should have a good amount of clouds still, and I’m not going to rule out some showers, primarily east of US-59 and north of I-10 during the day Sunday. It will also be notably breezy Sunday afternoon, with a fresh 10 to 20 mph north wind, stronger near the coast.

Monday just looks spectacular. Expect sunshine and temperatures warming from the upper 40s into the mid-60s.

Rest of Spring Break week

I expect Tuesday and Wednesday will see ample sunshine and temperatures pleasant for March. Lows should be in the upper 40s to low-50s and highs will be in the upper 60s or lower 70s. Onshore flow should resume Thursday. For now, we’ll call it mainly sunny and continued pleasant, but we could see a gradual increase in clouds or humidity here. Certainly, I think we’ll have that by Friday. But at this point, no significant rain is expected through the end of the week. Overall, you probably couldn’t script a better week.

10 thoughts on “Quiet spring break appears ahead for Houston

  1. sk Williams

    Re Yesterday’s smoke from our facilitator at BAYCAP:
    om: David Wade, Industrial Liaison, Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management

    For a better part of the afternoon, southeast Harris County has been impacted by a fugitive source of heavy smoke in the air. Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has been very diligent investigating the source. After speaking further with Galveston County, they have pinpointed the source of the fire to be a marsh grass fire, just inside Jefferson County, on the north bank of the intercostal canal. This fire has been burning for three days and hasn’t been a problem to us until today when the winds switched from the north, to the east. We’ll have to deal with it until the winds shift to the south. The NWS has indicated winds will continue to switch southward this evening and into the night.

    David Wade

    1. Matt Lanza

      Oooh…thank you for absolutely blowing up my nifty theory! 🙂 In all seriousness, good info here. I’ll edit the post. Thank you!

  2. Janette Larson

    You are so right about the tree pollen. The cedar starts do early and the oak ends late. I start my meds at the first sign of cedar so I can breathe. Love that Houston pollen tracker.

  3. Judith

    It’s nice to know that the Harris County Office of Homeland Security has access to your posts. Space City Weather is a great source.

  4. Victoria

    Thanks for reporting on the smoke smell and pollen. I’ve been talking about the smoke smell al week and wondering where it came from. And I tried to explain to someone who recently moved here that she may not have a head cold, it is more likely a pollen allergy.

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