With snow, ice, and cold a major issue elsewhere in the U.S., it might seem like Houston is living in an idyllic paradise. And there is some truth to that assertion, since there is no mention of any impending winter weather locally through the end of the month. But while temperatures are warm and the notion of beach days looms in the mind of the average resident of Southeast Texas, a new weather gremlin looms ominously in the background. I am talking about the threat of severe thunderstorms and heavy rain.
Conditions through Wednesday night should be totally agreeable, if you can deal with chances for late night fog Tuesday night and the increasingly humid character of the atmosphere. Some drizzle or a random shower may occur, but for the most part rain is not an issue in this forecast, until Thursday afternoon.
A sequence of three strong storms will affect the U.S. this week, the first of which ejecting out of the Texas Panhandle on Thursday. Although the upper dynamics associated with this feature look to be marginal around the Bayou City, further north this will clearly not be the case. I can see a pronounced threat for strong or severe thunderstorms, with some tornado risk, across C, E OK….N TX….N LA….AR….N MS….N AL….TN….S KY into the morning of February 25, with heavy snow and ice threats in the lower Great Lakes and perhaps the Ohio Valley as well. Bitter cold air behind this system is not likely to make much of an inroad into the western Gulf Coast. Still, a drop in humidity and temperature seems a good bet for Friday.
Another storm, this one the strongest in the series, will ride southeastward along the Rocky Mountains into the TX/OK Panhandle Region late this coming weekend. I suspect that the ECMWF model has the best handle on the development and track scenario for this disturbance, with the GFS and GGEM packages being a bit weaker and too far south and east. If the European equation verifies, and I believe it will for the most part, a notable severe weather outbreak is possible from the lower Great Plains through much of the Old South. Further north, in a good portion of the Midwest, snow and ice with strong winds seem a good bet. Once this system departs, then a period of much colder air may visit Houston and environs, say around March 3 – 4. But the worst of the Arctic values almost certainly will be to our north, above a Dallas TX to Atlanta GA line.
Tuesday: Mostly cloudy; morning fog, with sprinkles or drizzle possible through the afternoon. Highs 71 Galveston to 75 Satsuma
Tuesday Night: Mostly cloudy, mild, humid with dense fog and areas of drizzle. Lows 58 Addicks to 62 Bayou Vista
Wednesday: Variable cloudiness, breezy, warm and humid. A brief shower is possible. Highs 78 Hitchcock to 82 Fairbanks
Wednesday Night: Variable cloudiness, breezy, mild and humid. A brief shower is possible. Lows 60 Jersey Village to 64 Dickinson
Thursday: Variable cloudiness, breezy, warm, and humid. Showers and locally heavy thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. Highs 77 Webster to 81 Cypress
Friday: Partly cloudy and mild. High 72, Low 50
Saturday: Variable cloudiness, breezy, warm and humid. High 78, Low 54
Sunday: Variable cloudiness, breezy, warm and humid. High 82, Low 61