73ºF

Should we expect a cold Houston winter?

Houston, TX – So, how'd you do this morning with the cold weather? I dropped to 34F (near the Galleria) as those high, thin cirrus clouds gave most of us just enough anti-freeze protection! Here's how reporting stations came in:

25F: Huntsville

28F: Brenham, College Station, Conroe, Tomball

29F: Cleveland, Sugar Land, Wharton

30F: Angleton, Bush

31F: Pearland

32F: Bay City, Palacios, Victoria

33F: Hobby

35F: Galveston....which, interestingly, is the only station to get a record out of the deal as that tied the                                 35F from 1911!

Given our normal low for today is 53F, what might this November cold snap mean to January? Depends on where you look. The Climate Forecast below indicates a 40% Chance of Above normal  temperatures:

 

But these long range climate data forecasts are very general. In fact, the Polar Vortex is strong right now which means it is locking up a lot of cold air over the Arctic. But any weakening this winter would allow a surge of cold air.

You know I love data, and I noticed that a couple of our colder Novembers occurred in 1977 and again in 1991. So I wondered how January of 1978 and 1992 shaped up!

Well, January 1978 was a doozy--18 days were BELOW freezing! And it even snowed on the 19th.

January 1992 dropped to 28F twice and was 'cold' but not too crazy. 

This year has reminded me of 1989: that summer we had a lot of tropical activity with our first Allison (the name that replaced Alicia, fyi), Chantal and October's Jerry. The summer wasn't crazy hot, as we had a July cold snap dropping lows to 65F and 68F on the 20th/21st. Highs only reached 99F and that was a run of four days from September 1 to 4th.  In October we had our earliest first freeze of 32F on the 20th. BUT THEN, we dropped to 11, 7 and 13 on December 22, 23, and 24, 1989!!

Compare that to the Kingwood flooding this past May and Imelda in September. We also had a July cold front dropping us into the 60s toward the end of the month. Some serious August heat showed up and so did a run of 99-100 temps the first of September. And now we've had an earlier than normal freeze!

Does this mean we're in for single digit temperatures this winter, just like 1989? No. But I bet we get a cold one.

Frank

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