Tag: houston weather

Another front without much fanfare for Houston

Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:31 AM

We’ve had several cold fronts pass through Houston this autumn. Very few of them have carried much punch as they passed through. Tomorrow’s front will behave similarly. As a result, precipitation (outside of a few exceptions) has been pretty minimal this fall. We finished September nearly three inches below normal officially at Bush Airport. October finished a bit over two inches below normal. And through the first half of November, we’re running just under two inches below normal.

Over the last 60 days, rainfall has averaged about 50-75% of normal in most of Southeast Texas. (NOAA)

In fact, much of Texas has been dry. And yes, we can start using the “D” word a bit more liberally in Texas. That word is drought. With precipitation over the next two weeks likely to average below normal in most of Texas, and with drought areas expanding, we’re likely to see talk of drought show up a bit more often.

Harvey obviously delivered enough rain to hold drought back in our area for a good while. But with Harvey becoming a distant memory in the water system, and Texas’s historical reputation of going from one extreme to the other, we can start discussing this potential. Areas in interior Texas less impacted by Harvey are already there.

So with that setup, let’s dive into the forecast.

Today

There’s not much in the way of fog to start today, thanks in part to more cloud cover. So expect a pretty benign Friday: Clouds and some sun. We’ll warm up into the low 80s in most spots this afternoon away from the coast.

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A decent fall weekend for Houston

Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:30 AM

After a gray start, Thursday turned out to be pretty nice in Houston proper. Actually, Thursday was about as California of a day as you can find in Houston. It really did feel nice. Clouds were a bit more stubborn north and west of Houston. Things should change there today. Friday is starting off cool and somewhat crisp. It looks like we warm up again this weekend and next week, but we should stay safely under the obscene levels we hit earlier this week. The details…

Friday through Sunday

We’re starting this morning on the cool side for sure. Middle or upper 40s dominate north and west, with low or mid-50s dominating south and east.

A chilly start north and west of Houston today! (NOAA)

Expect a pretty nice day today. Any clouds or fog south and west should fade. It’ll be partly to mostly sunny and mild, with temperatures warming up this afternoon into the 60s to about 70° in spots. A quiet and pleasant night tonight; expect morning lows on Saturday to be about one to four degrees warmer than this morning on average. Likewise, daytime highs will be similarly warmer with a mix of clouds and sun. As of now we don’t expect any rain Saturday. But a sprinkle or shower may be possible late, well south of Houston.

How about Sunday? Well, we’ll see an onshore flow return, along with clouds, so expect a much warmer start to the day (low 60s on average). During the afternoon, there will be a few scattered showers around. Otherwise, partly to mostly cloudy skies dominate, and we’ll top off in the mid-70s or perhaps upper-70s with enough sunshine.

You may dodge a few raindrops in a few spots on Sunday, but otherwise, the weekend is looking pretty good. (NWS Houston)

So, weekend plans outdoors? I’d try to do them Saturday, but if you have to go Sunday, odds still favor you probably getting through the day without issue..

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A (mostly) fine day for a parade in Houston

Posted by Matt Lanza at 6:38 AM

Let’s be honest, it could be cold, pouring, snowing, whatever and Houston would find a way to enjoy today. So whatever we have to say about the weather, it’s a fine day for a parade. Lots of other things going on this weekend too. Let’s hop to it.

Today

So, overall today shouldn’t be too bad. Expect a mix of sun and clouds with high temperatures in the middle 80s. We managed to hit 88° officially yesterday, which is the 9th hottest November day on record in Houston (the other 8 days we hit 89°). Last time it was this warm in November officially? One year ago. We hit 88° on November 2nd and 3rd of 2016. Hobby Airport hit 90° Thursday, tying their warmest November temperature on record (1934 and 1973 being the last years to see 90° at Hobby). Further north, Dallas hit 94° yesterday, breaking their previous all-time (back to the 1890s) hottest November day by *five* degrees. If you’re wondering if this is unusual for November, it is.

Anyway, with a pretty weak little disturbance passing through North Texas today, we will probably see a smattering of isolated showers this afternoon. I don’t expect them to be significant in coverage or intensity. If you’re headed to the Astros parade downtown, I wouldn’t necessarily expect rain, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it did rain for a few minutes.

Weekend

The weather pattern for the next several days looks pretty stable over Southeast Texas. This should yield a mix of sun and clouds both days. Don’t be shocked if clouds are prevalent in the morning, before breaking up in the afternoon. Also, morning fog, locally dense, is likely the next few days, so use caution if you’ll be out and about early in the day. Temperatures will top off in the middle 80s inland. I wouldn’t be shocked to see an 87°, 88°, or 89° show up though in a few spots on either day.

In Galveston for the Lone Star Rally? It looks just fine. Expect low 80s for highs both days. Morning lows will be in the mid-70s in Galveston.

Fine weather this weekend for the Lone Star Rally (NWS Houston)

Elsewhere, morning lows will be in the low 70s on average. We should typically be in the 50s right now.

Oh, and rain chances? They aren’t zero, but they are very, very low for most areas to the point that we wouldn’t even bother mentioning them. Go about your plans without much worry this weekend.

By the way, Houston’s other postseason team, the Dynamo play the Timbers out in Portland Sunday at 6:30 for a chance to advance to the Western Conference Championship. It looks like a typical early winter day in Portland for the match: Damp, though perhaps not raining too heavily, with temperatures in the 40s. So let’s keep the championship vibes flowing.

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Houston beyond Hurricane Harvey

Posted by Matt Lanza at 10:00 AM

On Tuesday evening, just as the Astros took the field for game one in Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of attending a Baker Institute event at Rice University featuring Dr. Jim Blackburn. “Beyond Hurricane Harvey” was a discussion and Q&A with Blackburn, who is the co-director of the Severe Storms Prevention, Education, and Evacuation from Disaster (SSPEED) Center at Rice. During Tuesday’s event, Blackburn basically laid out his vision for how we need to discuss and tackle Houston’s flooding problem from this point forward. Many of these ideas were incorporated by Harris County Judge Ed Emmett in the plan that he unveiled on Wednesday. Nevertheless, here is a summary  and some of my takeaways from Tuesday’s event.

Tuesday night’s event was held at the Rice University Baker Institute by their young professionals group. (Matt Lanza)

As a quick note, Blackburn has published two papers in the wake of Harvey. Much of what he covered Tuesday night is covered in these papers too. The first addresses initial policy ideas after Harvey. The second describes the public/private non-profit entity described below. Both are very informative and useful reads, and I would encourage our readers to get involved in this. As I said in my own Harvey post-mortem: It is now time for a new generation of Houstonians to work out new solutions to this complex problem.

Turning point: Blackburn opened by calling Harvey a turning point in Houston’s history. This is basically our moment to get this right. We all know we live in a city that is prone to flooding. We can never stop that from happening, but we can manage it in ways that will reduce the financial and human toll that has accompanied recent flooding events. Houston has an opportunity now to become the world leaders at weather and climate resiliency. While showing a chart of hurricane tracks impacting the Texas coast, Blackburn related the story of Indianola and Galveston. Indianola was wiped out by a hurricane in 1886, and we know the story of Galveston after 1900. Blackburn believes that Houston’s future as a leading American and global city may hinge on what we are able to accomplish over the next several months. If we bungle the response to this disaster, we could be looking at a steady economic decline in our region.

Blackburn referred to this situation as a new “Jesse Jones moment” for Houston. Speed couldn’t be emphasized enough. We need to get these solutions moving now, while the wounds from Harvey (and previous events) are still fresh and raw. The longer we wait, the less likely we’ll accomplish meaningful action. Amusingly, Blackburn shared the “Off the Charts” report published by Harris County Flood Control after Tropical Storm Allison in 2001.

We were in the same boat 16 years ago, but we still have a long way to go. (HCFCD)

Here we are again. We need a vision, a plan (we seem to have those moving forward), and now we need to mobilize the public and persuade our elected leaders to take action immediately. Blackburn was asked whether Houston’s infamous lack of zoning contributed to the problems from Harvey. He made the point that it was not a major cause, but what is a problem is the typical, almost “closed door” nature of Harris County government. Lots of items get addressed really quickly without much discussion at various county meetings. The population of this area is also somewhat agnostic toward government participation. We’re not engaged enough. For problems as big as this, everyone needs to be firing on all cylinders, taking politicians to task, asking questions, demanding transparency. It’s easy to be cynical, but in this situation, it’s important not to be. Read More…