Blue Norther? Yep! Better late, than never


As I write this, a cold front is barreling through Southeast Texas. We've been advertising this for two weeks (seriously) and it's shaping up to have all the makings of a Blue Norther!

So what IS that?

Well, the "norther" part indicates just where it comes from and our winds are quickly turning from southeast to north/northwest, so that is pretty obvious. Check one.

The other definition is that temperatures fall 20-30 degrees in a matter of minutes. Well, not to get into the weeds on "minutes," College Station and Brenham temps fell this morning from 79 to 69 in one hour and then to 56 in another hour...so an easy 23-degree drop once the cold front got through.

That's enough for me.

The other part of this is a blueish or blackish looking sky and my friend Timmy Martinez just posted this on Facebook:


Looks bluish/blackish to me!

But by all counts, this first big fall front, one that really drops us into sweater weather territory, is late coming. Or is this the new normal?

I can count on my 30 years experience in Houston and my memory, which tells me that a big front always seemed to get here by the third week in September. One of my viewers, Andrew Gombus (and we graduated from the same college, so I trust him), has been monitoring cold fronts since 1982 and marked down when the first "real" front arrived in Houston. Now, this is clearly pretty subjective, but his definition is when he goes outside and gets that "I am glad to be alive!" feeling.

Here is his list of dates from 1982 to 1999 as to when the first front showed up:


You can see my memory is pretty good! Only one October arrival and that is 1998 which I can explain: Tropical Storm Frances hit our area in mid-September and I believe that put the brakes on any September front making it down.

Andrew was in the Middle East for work from 2000 to 2004, so we have a data gap, but picks up his count again in 2005:


Make of this what you will, but clearly October first fronts are more prevalent in this century and especially now three years in a row! And we can't blame tropical storms. 

In fact, if you take just these past 15 years (2005-2019), six years or 40% of the time we didn't get that first significant front until October. Compare that 1982-1999 run of just ONE year with an October arrival.

It's a new, warmer world, folks. Let's just be happy these arrivals aren't in November!

Thanks for the data, Andrew! I am impressed someone would keep up with this for four decades! I love stuff like this!

Enjoy the weekend!


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