Summer 2018 cranking up early

If the weather forecast going into next week holds, we may look back on this week as being one of the more important weeks of summer, because we needed some rain and most of us have received some.

Rain totals over the last 7 days as reported by various Harris County Flood Control gauges. (Harris County Flood Control)

Yes, some areas have been mostly avoided, which is unfortunate, but regionally, at least we were able to ease the potential descent into drought. We have a very repetitive forecast over the next week or so.

Today & Saturday

Both days will carry at least a chance of showers. Radar has a couple offshore showers this morning, but nothing too significant. I expect we’ll see showers kick up later this morning (after 9-10 AM) near the coast, then spread inland this afternoon. Coverage will be similar to a little less than what we saw yesterday. Some of you may pick up a quick quarter to half inch of rain with thunder. Others will again listen longingly to distant rumbles of thunder.

Saturday should see slightly less coverage of storms, especially west of US-59. The better chances for showers tomorrow will be east of US-59, especially as you get closer to Beaumont/Port Arthur and Lake Charles.

Temperatures today and tomorrow will top off around 90 or in the lower 90s. And they may also be the coolest days of the next 7-10.

Sunday through next week

With a tropical system staying to our east (see below) and dry, sinking air rotating around it down from Louisiana, Houston and Texas in general will be locked under a hot pattern that is very impressive for this early in summer. Weather modeling has been hinting at strong temperatures next week for several days now. And with that will come mainly dry weather.

Sunday should see highs in the mid-90s. Memorial Day through Wednesday should see middle to upper 90s. Tuesday is likely to be the hottest day of this stretch. We may cool down a few degrees after Wednesday, perhaps more like mid-90s. Unfortunately, I do think we will drift back up hotter again by next weekend.

Can we hit 100°? Model guidance says “maybe” for Tuesday. I personally do not think we will get there officially. I do however think someone in our area could see a 100 register on their backyard thermometer Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon (especially north and west of the city). And if we don’t do it then, we will have another chance next weekend. Houston’s earliest official 100 degree temperature occurred in the historically dreadful summer of 2011, when we hit the century mark on the second day of June. Next closest? June 10, 1902. Let’s just say it would be unlikely but perhaps not impossible.

Either way, this stretch looks miserably hot and our summer is hitting the accelerator this year. As Eric said yesterday, this is more like August than June.


In the tropics, the disturbance classified as “Invest 90L” is likely to become either a tropical depression or tropical storm in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico this weekend. It will not be a threat to impact Texas, but the National Hurricane Center is now up to 90% odds of development over the next three to five days.

The National Hurricane Center is quite bullish on Invest 90L achieving tropical depression or tropical storm status. (NHC/NOAA)

Current forecast modeling and the upper level pattern should steer 90L (or whatever it will be called, either Tropical Depression One or Tropical Storm Alberto) northward toward the central or eastern Gulf Coast. Some modeling is a bit aggressive with this becoming a moderate tropical storm. Other modeling is less so. Typically, early season systems are ragged and lopsided, meaning the east side of the storm is disproportionately loaded with rain versus the western side. While there could be some localized wind and minor surge issues between New Orleans and the Florida Big Bend, the biggest story with this system is likely to be rainfall.

Rain totals over the next 7 days are going to be substantial in Florida and along the eastern Gulf Coast. (Pivotal Weather/NWS WPC)

Many areas between the Florida Keys and about New Orleans will see substantial rains from this system. That should mean areas of flooding in the Southeast. If your travel plans this holiday weekend take you to Florida, the eastern Gulf, or the Southeast, stay aware of local weather conditions. Also, be aware of local swimming conditions. Rip currents are likely to be an issue in the eastern Gulf this weekend too.

Just as a note, even though we shouldn’t see impacts from this system in Houston, with folks traveling all over, I’ll be tracking the tropics all weekend. I’ll have an update for you Saturday or Sunday.

19 thoughts on “Summer 2018 cranking up early”

  1. Thank you for your great, informative weather posts. This is my first place to go for the weather. Always reliable and I really appreciate y’all.

  2. When people ask me why I live in Houston, I usually point out real estate prices before I talk about anything else. The cost of buying a house is usually enough to make their eyes bug out of their head.

    After they pick their jaws up off the floor, they’ll often ask, “Why doesn’t EVERYONE live there, if it’s so cheap?”

    And then I talk about things like this forecast and they’re usually like “Oh. Yeah, no thanks.”

    I was born here and I’m turning 40 this summer. I’ve lived here for all my life. I hate the weather in this town more than I hate anything else that I can think of—I hate it more than I hate fire ants, or ebola, or politicians. I hate it so, so, so very much. But like a lot of folks, I’m stuck here—other than maybe Detroit, where the hell else can I maintain this standard of living at this price?

    Sigh. Time for another AC-straining ass-nasty summer filled with long sleepless sweaty nights and unending hurricane anxiety.

      • Maybe, but then I’d be in Dallas. Ugh.

        (I kid—I love Dallas. It’s like Houston’s special little brother. I’m proud of DFW for accomplishing so much in spite of its disabilities!)

    • It’s our lousy climate – along with the traffic and no hockey (thanks, Le$) – that is driving me out of Houston just as soon as I can retire.

      I’m sick of the 100 days straight of near 100 degree temperatures. I’d like to be able to work in the yard or garage without having to worry about heat stroke or at least sweating like a pig.

      I’m sick of the annual 100-year floods (am I next?). There’s NO WAY I am putting myself through another night of terror like I experienced the night Harvey dumped 17″ of rain on my house in less than four hours. I’d really like to be able to leave for a week or so’s vacation in July or August without having to worry about anything in the tropics.

      Houston’s been great for my career, but if you don’t have to work here and have no family here, why would you live here?

      There’s a reason our housing is so cheap. Might be a false economy.

    • Hey, I’ll come to that on the awful summers, Lee – no question, Houston and Texas summers are just flat-out miserable. But the other eight months of the year or so are pretty great. I mean, we had a great, cold winter and a spectacular spring just a few months ago. Now it’s time for another Texas summer, and just as folks up north grit their teeth and prepare for four – or even five – months of freezing misery in the winter, we do the same for summer. It’s just part of the package. Apart from coastal California, there’s nowhere else in the US that can boast near-flawless weather for twelve months out of the year.

      I love Houston, I love Texas, I hate our summer weather, but I do appreciate our mild and pleasant weather from roughly October through May. One Midwest/northern winter cured me of thinking I’d rather deal with snow and ice and single-digit temps! And oddly enough, the Midwest gets terrifically hot and even surprisingly humid in the summer. Anyway, just gotta take the good with the bad. But I’m sorry to hear that you feel “stuck here,” though I hope that you can find a place where you’re happier!

    • I hate Houston summers, but the rest of the year is fine (flooding excepted).

      But about that “house” thing–there are a lot of temperate urban areas in the U.S. with inexpensive housing. In addition, when you buy a house you are not spending money in the same way as you spend it when you buy a car or food or clothes, because the house becomes an asset. This is especially true if the house appreciates (which they do only slowly in the Houston area). My brother’s house in Portland–which is much smaller than mine and cost more–has doubled in value in 6 years, giving him a gain of a half million dollars.

      May I add: the best thing about Houston is the people. This is the friendliest big city in the U.S. where folks of all types get along just fine.

  3. I’ll take the weather hot and humid, cold and chilly- I love Houston and Texas. There is so much to do here during the summer and we have an awesome community.

  4. I love Houston and the weather here. Albeit scary sometimes, the weather here is always interesting. I lived in Seattle for 7 years before I moved back to Houston. They have the most boring (and depressing) weather ever. I heard probably one thunder clap my entire time there. Houston offers spectacular thunderstorms. That’s just me – I like exciting storms, hence why I find myself reviewing this blog daily. I also like warmer climates. Unless you have to do yard work or any outdoor activity for extended periods of time, how often do you have to suffer being in the heat? You jump from one air-conditioned environment to another.

  5. Matt,
    How long do you expect this unseasonably high pattern to hold? Can we expect return to normal in about 2 weeks?

    • This is normal. It’s a billion degrees from mid-May to late October any more. Not to mention 84F on Christmas.

      • Normal? Eric and Matt said this weather is typical of August, not June – so I don’t think it’s normal for May! (Sorry to tell you but I do trust their judgement). While it’s normally hot in May, there is hot and then there is mid 90 degrees + hot.

    • I don’t know about “normal,” but something less hot than this, at least relative to average seems likely. We’ll probably go back to upper 90s next weekend into the beginning of the week of June 4th, then hopefully back to more middle 90s, still a couple degrees above average. I don’t see a “normal” or “cool” look for the time being deep into June. Could always change of course.

  6. Matt, about the tropics: Does this article and its referenced research scare u? I am a researcher myself, although geneticist, and have some belief in published proofs. But as an expert, do you think there is a trend of slower wetter hurricanes and should be expected down the road? Basically, is it right to be scared of gloomy trends such as this one?

    • It’s not worth being scared over in my personal opinion. Yes, it should be a concern though. But this research is still sort of in development. We have a long way to go before we really unlock what’s going on here. I think climate scientists all fairly confident that storm behavior is changing/going to change in the future. However, I think there’s so much we still don’t know about what, why, and how that it’s good to take a lot of these studies with a partial dose of skepticism (all these studies are coming from the right place and are advancing the conversation, but there are still some lingering questions). So don’t be scared, but being concerned or aware of what’s going on is healthy.

  7. I’ll take hurricanes over tornados any day (Lubbock native here). At least you get some advance notice!

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