Unfortunately, the weather was perfect...

9/11/2001 8:30AM photo courtesy of David Monderer

Not a cloud in the sky. Crisp temperatures. A lovely day began one of the most horrific in our history.

You might recall that Hurricane Erin spun mightily off the East Coast the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, having barely side-swiped Bermuda. Of course, that 120-mph Cat. 3 storm pulled plenty of moisture off the eastern seaboard leaving a dry, blue ceiling that morning.

Hurricane Erin with the Twin Towers smoke to the top left

Here’s the surface map from 9/11/2001 and I’ve circled the big high-pressure dome centered over the Ohio Valley which provided such a pleasant northeast wind to Houston that day. You can see Erin off the northeast coast and a cold front just along the seaboard.

NWS Synoptic Map 9/11/2001

A look back at the morning temps showed Boston at 64°, JFK airport 63°, Reagan National in Washington at 64°. Here in Houston, we’d woken up to 68° with plenty of sunshine. Really, a remarkable September morning.

So did the weather make a real difference?

We’ll never know the answer to that question for sure, but I did have a Continental airlines pilot declare that the perfect flying weather that morning surely helped give an all-go to those hijackers who only knew how to get a plane up and not down. Certainly, the weather provided optimal flying weather with no airport delays and also fewer traffic accidents so commuters to those airports had no issues. And those going to work at the Twin Towers had an easy walk or train ride into work that day. The weather simply wasn’t a worry.

The Gothamist has photos from that morning as the perfect blue sky turned horribly grey.

The Attack courtesy David Monderer
The Fall courtesy David Monderer

Never Forget.


About the Author:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.