February on fire!


A Facebook friend sent me this forecast for Wednesday down in Lopeno, Texas, which definitely caught my attention:

Almost 100° in February?!

Granted, Lopeno is in far South Texas between Laredo and McAllen, but still, almost at the century mark and it’s still the third week in February?! Even our forecast for Wednesday is mid-80s, while we don’t average that kind of warmth until early May! Our average high right now is still in the upper 60s.

Here’s is what’s happening: a strong high pressure over the Gulf is providing a south and southeast wind while a low pressure coming from the west provides a strong southwest wind. Both are warm winds, but that one out of the southwest comes right across the Mexico mountain range as a hot, dry. As the air sinks down toward the valley that sinking motion heats the air even more because compressing air heats it up! And because that air loses its moisture going over the mountains and comes down as hot and very dry (humidity will be around 8% in the Valley).

We cool down after Wednesday but mid-week will be a warm one!

The European (ECMWF) and American (GFS) models are not quite as aggressive with the heat, but still heading toward the mid 90s:

Courtesy weathermodels.com
courtesy tropicaltidbits.com

Warm snaps in February do happen, in fact our record for today (February 20) is 91° back in 1986! If we do get to 84° on Wednesday, that won’t get close to our record of 90° from 1996! But it will feel awfully warm!

Hang in there.


About the Authors:

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

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.