The New Year will bring Houston’s first freeze of the winter season

Good morning. This will be my final post of 2021—Matt will have an update for you on New Year’s Eve of course. It has been a strange and challenging year. In terms of weather, locally, there has been good and terrible and anomalous weather. Under the “good” category I would say we’ve gone through another year without a disastrous drought, and we saw some of the nicest weather this fall on weekends that I can remember. The “terrible” category includes the extremely hard freeze and its effects in February, and Hurricane Nicholas in September, which packed a surprisingly strong punch although it could barely be classified as a Category 1 storm. Finally, the heat this December has definitely been “anomalous,” as Houston has set or tied 6 records this month, and Galveston 14, with more to come.

My wish for the new year is better weather, of course. But I’m also hopeful for other reasons. The COVID-19 pandemic is now entering its third year, and it has fractured our communities and killed our loved ones. Now, I believe that we are probably seeing a transition to it becoming an endemic disease, with less virulence, better treatments, and ultimately less transmission due to widespread immunity. Omicron is likely a harbinger of this, and hopefully will be responsible for the last major spike in hospitalizations. So while the next few weeks may be pretty terrible, I strongly believe that a brighter future awaits us. My heroes in 2021 are all of the nurses, doctors, and medical researchers who toiled to help so many, through such a difficult time.

Looking ahead, what I can say for sure, is this: A colder near-term future awaits us. Many of us will see our first freeze of the season by Monday morning, if not sooner.

Thursday

The front made it to much of the area, knocking temperatures into the 60s this morning across the area. Its effects will be short-lived, with southeast winds resuming today and highs likely to reach about 80 degrees under mostly sunny skies. Lows tonight will only drop to around 70 degrees in Houston, with slightly cooler conditions inland.

The final day of 2021 will be very very warm for late December. (Weather Bell)

Friday

The final day of 2021 will be warm once again, with highs in the low 80s and partly to mostly sunny skies. Winds will be a bit gusty, out of the south at about 20 mph. New Year’s Eve evening will be mild, with temperatures in the 70s, and partly to mostly cloudy skies. It will be plenty humid, but aside from that there is nothing to complain about as we bring in 2022.

New Year’s Day

The only real question is when the cold front will arrive. The models have been bouncing around a little bit, and now it appears that an initial front will push down to around Interstate 10 on Saturday afternoon, and be followed by a much stronger surge of colder and drier air on Saturday night. For most of the area, then, Saturday will see highs of around 80 degrees, and for coastal areas those warm conditions should persist through the evening. Some scattered, light showers will be possible during the day and overnight. Temperature wise, it will be a whole new world outside on Sunday morning, with sunrise temperatures likely in the 30s for nearly all of the area.

Sunday and beyond

COLD. It now looks as though highs probably won’t get out of the 40s for most of the area on Sunday, and with gusty northerly winds this will be a cold, sunny day if you need to be outside. Clear skies and lighter winds will lead to a very cold night on Sunday, with most of the Houston region away from the coast likely to see a freeze on Monday morning.

Freezing conditions are likely on Monday morning for much of the area. (Weather Bell)

We’ll gradually warm up next week, probably reaching the 70s on Wednesday, with another cooldown Thursday. Details to come. Happy New Year, everyone!

32 thoughts on “The New Year will bring Houston’s first freeze of the winter season”

    • Eric, do you think an outdoor lunch downtown on Saturday would be “safe” from the cold front, or is it too early to tell?

    • But of course. This is not a hard freeze and it’s only going to last for a couple of days. In addition, our grids have now been winterized so you shouldn’t see that happening again.

    • Abbott will be out there with a hair dryer himself before he lets the grid fail during an election year.

    • Thank you for another year of weather and climate reporting. As a person highly addicted to weather data, I use many “boring” sources to figure out how to live in our current weather flux. After that, I read Space City Weather. And…I must say you guys are never boring! I like the personal nature of your reporting and how you balance this with the data. BTW The weather maps are superb! Explaining weather COMPLETELY is about as easy as a doctor explaining to a patient every facet of how the human body functions. We don’t have to know everything; just what to expect and a bit of why it’s happening. You two do this is quite well. Houston and SE Texas are lucky to have you. Thanks!

  1. Eric, my heroes too for 2021 are the nurses, doctors, and medical researchers. Giant thanks to you and Matt and all of the Space City Weather team for everything you do and the fantastic way you present this awesome weather information.

  2. Thank you for another year of outstanding no-hype reporting. You and your team are simply the best all around. Happy New Year to all of you!

  3. New Year’s Resolution: Instead of non scientific terms like “terrible and anomalous weather” might we expect to see more accurate scientific terms such as “fossil-fueled Global Heating causing Climate Crisis evidenced by “terrible and anomalous weather” …?

    In addition it wasn’t just the “February Freeze;” it was for profit utility corporations and state regulatory apparatus providing NO incentive for utility corporations to weatherize natural gas lines and electrical generating plants to prevent multi-day power blackouts.

    The FebFreeze was not the problem. Corner cutting corporate capitalism was the problem. Everybody would have been fine had weatherization corners not been cut to “increase shareholder value,” But maybe your funding by Reliant precludes noting this?

    In statistics, Something that happens once is a one-off event. Twice is s coincidence. Three times a pattern. Four times inferential and predictable.

    Counting Warm November, Space City experienced FOUR extreme “terrible and anomalous weather” in 2021.

    Shall we just be scientific and honest and Just Say So?

    Thom Prentice with a PHD attached.

  4. As a grocery worker having experienced these past two years with much stress, sadness and sleeplessness, I too appreciate every doctor, researcher and scientist for helping us do what we could through this pandemic. I also appreciate SCW for your no hype reporting and vigilance. Thank you! Have a good new year (here’s hoping mine is quiet as getting up at four or five am every day ain’t fun :p)!

  5. Some folks should step away from the keyboard. PHD or not. Wow, what a bunch of drivel.

    Happy New Year folks and thanks for SCW for being our “go to” for weather forecasting.

  6. Add me to the chorus of thanking our doctors, nurses, and hospital staff workers who are heroes every day – but especially so during the long pandemic. They care for us when we’re sick, comfort us when we have a loved one pass away, and are usually forgotten when we are healthy and move on. Try to remember them while you don’t need them.

    And, if you want to pay it forward; do some of the common sense things so that you don’t have to see them. (hops off soapbox)

    Back to weather: it will be good to have some chilly days for a change.

  7. Woke up this morning with both my phone and computer indicating the temp was 61F, but with all the moisture in the air it didn’t feel particularly cooler, had to remind myself if it had been 71 instead it would have felt downright nasty, especially for the end of December. Thankful for at least a brief reprieve.

  8. Thank you for your straight-talking, no hype forecasts. I always appreciate you guys, and I wish you and yours a happy, healthy new year.

  9. Thank you Eric! Your weather forecasts throughout the year are a Godsend to us on the coast, especially on Galveston. Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

  10. Thank Ya’ll for ‘spot-on’ weather reporting in 2021!
    Wishing you and yours a Blessed, safe, well, calm 2022!

  11. Thanks again to both of you and the entire team — and to Reliant for their continuing invaluable sponsorship — for dependably, skillfully and calmly guiding us through yet another interesting weather year, especially throughout the February fiasco and Nicholas.
    A very happy 2022 to all of you and here’s to a (knock on wood) less zig-zaggy year for a change.

  12. Is it expected that ground/roads will ice over like they did in February? Worried about driving Monday morning.

  13. Thank you Matt and Eric for all you do. And thanks to all those on the front lines of this pandemic. Holding the brightest hope for 2022.

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