Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:32 AM
The last couple days have featured a handful of showers in the area, but not much coverage. That said, those that have been fortunate enough to see rain have seen a fair bit. The next few days will likely see that as well, but your odds of seeing rain on any one day are rather low. Next week’s forecast is sitting out there like a piece of chocolate cake, daring you to take a bite. Tantalizing is the right word here. Let’s walk through things.
Today & weekend
We will see a lot of broken-record type weather this weekend, as Eric put it yesterday. It will be partly to mostly sunny and hot all three days. Look for high temperatures topping out in the mid-90s.
Just another typical August day in Texas with highs in the mid-90s for Houston today, hotter toward Austin and San Antonio. (Pivotal Weather)
Morning lows will be low-80s at the coast to mid- or upper-70s in Houston. Yes, as noted above, you could see a shower, but truthfully, I would expect most of us are dry this weekend. Saturday may have the very slight edge over Friday and Sunday for best rain chance.
A heat advisory was issued on Thursday for Houston and points south by the National Weather Service. I would not be shocked to see that happen again today, with high humidity rolling in with the sea breeze off the Gulf, driving unpleasant weather. Regardless, do exercise typical late summer heat precautions over the next few days, especially in the afternoon.
At this point, Monday looks like an extension of the weekend, with a slight shower chance and high temperatures in the mid-90s. There may be a slightly better chance of showers or storms than the weekend east of the area toward Beaumont and Port Arthur.
Basically, typical August weather through early next week.
Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:20 AM
Good Monday morning! Matt here this morning, covering for Eric. Thanks again to Eric for covering me in my opening days of fatherhood. Thanks to all for the comments and well wishes over the last couple weeks. I apologize for any typos, though I’ll blame it on the lack of sleep.
The Houston area has seen repetitive rounds of thunderstorms over the last week and change, but as someone who has been shut out most of the time, I’ve taken notice that the total rainfall distribution has been somewhat erratic.
Rain totals this month have been somewhat erratic around the region. (Harris County Flood Control)
Some areas have seen as much as three to five inches of rain this August, while others have seen a tenth of an inch or less. The winners appear to be in eastern Harris County and also up toward The Woodlands southwest toward Cypress. Waller County has done well also. So it’s been feast or famine for much of the region in August. Looking ahead to this week, the faucet will slow to a trickle for a couple days, and mostly typical August weather sets in.
Today & Tuesday
Our weather pattern has begun to change a bit, as high pressure and dry air begin to flex overhead. This should significantly limit storms in our area this afternoon. Expect high temps in the mid-90s. On Tuesday, we’ll see more of the same, though the rain chances may not be quite as limited. So, we’ll call it just a slight chance of showers. More mid-90s are expected.
There was a good bit of Saharan dust in the skies yesterday. Expect more of that today. Dust will slowly thin out on Tuesday and Wednesday. Air quality will be poor. This sort of thing will be worst for those with respiratory ailments. It’s also not optimal for those of us with regular seasonal allergies. The good news is that Saharan dust outbreaks tend to have peaked by now. So these events should become a little less frequent and intense as we move forward.
Wednesday through Friday
Typical August weather in Houston can be expected to round out the week. Temperatures will probably be one or two degrees cooler than usual, but that will hardly be noticeable to most of us. We’ll peak with highs in the mid-90s and lows in the upper-70s.
Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:25 AM
Thursday was the hottest day yet in this heat wave that is scorching much of Texas. It was also Houston’s hottest day since June 5th. We hit 98° officially at Bush Airport (96° at Hobby).
Across Texas, it was quite a day. Here’s a rundown of the noteworthy temperatures and records set:
- Energy demand across Texas was the strongest it has ever been, with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT establishing another record, breaking the previous one just set on Wednesday.
- Houston‘s low of 80° tied a record warm minimum temperature for July 19th.
- College Station hit 100° yesterday for the first time in 2018.
- Dallas, Waco, and San Angelo set record high temperatures for July 19th of 108° on Thursday, breaking records from 1925, 1951, and 2011 respectively.
- Incredibly, Lubbock, TX didn’t drop below 81° yesterday for the first time on record, their warmest low temperature for any date by two degrees. Records in Lubbock date to 1911.
- Midland, El Paso, and Amarillo each hit 105° for a high yesterday, tying records for Midland and El Paso for the date and setting a new record for Amarillo, which had been 102° last set in 1936.
- Austin hit 104° and San Antonio hit 99°, neither of which were records.
- Across the border, Shreveport, LA hit 104° yesterday, tying a record for Thursday last set way back in 1875.
The heat hasn’t even peaked yet, certainly not for Houston, so expect more impressive numbers and records to come. Let’s run through the forecast.
Friday & weekend
All three days look similar from a pure weather standpoint: It will be sunny and hot into Sunday. Please use caution if outdoors. Yes, we’re used to hot weather, but what’s coming this weekend is the next level of heat for our area that we see maybe once or twice per summer.
Some heat safety tips. Limit your time outdoors, don’t forget to check the backseat of your car, and please don’t forget about pets. (NWS)
It cannot be emphasized enough, especially after news of yesterday’s tragic death of a 3-year old left in a day care bus in northwest Houston, but always double check your vehicle before locking it and walking away.
In terms of just how hot, I would say we hit 98-100° officially today, followed by about 99-101° Saturday, and 101-103° Sunday. While Houston has been on the periphery of the strong upper level ridge of high pressure that has caused this heat, it will advance toward us in a big way this weekend, giving us a taste of what North Texas has been experiencing. How generous.
Official NWS forecast high temperatures over the next few days have lots of 100s showing up. (NWS)
We get very little relief at night during this kind of heat, so expect low temperatures to get just below 80° in most places and not much better than that.
Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:06 AM
Our old friend SAL, the Saharan Air Layer (dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa) will be making a return visit to Texas this weekend, at least in higher quantities than we’ve seen this week. It will bring some grimy air quality by Sunday, as well as some potentially interesting sunrises and sunsets.
Model data from NASA shows thicker Saharan dust arriving in Houston on Sunday and Monday. (NASA)
You can see from the animation we’ve put together with NASA data that the brightest colors, or thickest dust arrives on Sunday afternoon, and it should be with us through about Tuesday. Dust has been with us to some extent much of this week, but it will be much more noticeable by later Sunday. So if you are an allergy sufferer (raises hand) or have respiratory ailments, worsening air quality on Sunday and Monday may cause you some discomfort. Air quality should improve after Tuesday. If interested, you can check the Texas air quality outlook here.
Today through Sunday
We’ve had a bit of a late start to thunderstorm activity over Houston the last two days, waiting until 3 PM or later in most cases. Yesterday’s storms were particularly frisky, with parts of Houston’s Inner Loop and West Houston seeing 1-2″ of rain. The Woodlands took home the trophy on Thursday with nearly 3″ of rain in spots.
I’m guessing we will see further hit or miss storms develop today through Sunday. Storm chances will generally diminish each day through the weekend compared to where they have been. Still, a few showers or storms should pop up each morning near the coast (you may have had rain in La Marque or Texas City already this morning, for example), advancing inland during the afternoon. Like yesterday, the handful of places that do see rain could see a fair bit of it in short order, so just be aware of that this weekend.
For most of the area, the majority of the weekend just looks partly to mostly sunny and hot. The last few days saw high temperatures exceed weather model guidance. We’ve hit the mid-90s, despite forecasts generally in the lower 90s. There’s a good chance we’ll do that again this weekend. We’ll call it generally low- to mid-90s for most of the area through Sunday. Overnight lows will be in the middle or upper-70s with humidity.