After grappling with freezing temperatures just a few weeks ago, Houston is experiencing a welcome reprieve as temperatures rise and sunshine graces the city. The recent wintry blast is now a distant memory, prompting the question: Is winter truly over?
Before delving into the intriguing query of Houston’s winter status, let’s explore this week’s relatively mild forecast.
High atmospheric pressure is ushering in quiet weather through at least Thursday, promising plenty of sunshine. Onshore winds from the Gulf of Mexico may introduce a few extra clouds on some days, resulting in partly cloudy skies rather than mostly sunny ones. However, any significant weather changes are expected to be minimal.
As the high pressure shifts eastward, southeasterly winds will bring progressively warmer temperatures each day. Tuesday is anticipated to have the chilliest morning, with temperatures in the lower 40s. By Tuesday afternoon, temperatures are expected to reach the mid-60s north of Houston and the upper 60s near and south of the city.
Wednesday and Thursday mornings will start in the middle to upper 40s, requiring a light jacket or windbreaker. Afternoons should see temperatures climb into the middle and upper 60s. Friday is poised to maintain similar warmth, though cloud cover and showers may influence temperatures in Southeast Texas.
Rain Returns by Friday
A trough of low atmospheric pressure is projected to sweep through the region with a cold front on Friday into Saturday, bringing the next chance for rain. Specifics about rainfall amounts and timing remain uncertain at this point, and further details are expected later in the week.
Global forecast models indicate that rain is likely to hold off until later on Friday, potentially sparing commuters from the need for umbrellas during the morning commute. As the weekend approaches, it might be prudent to have indoor plans on Saturday or consider shifting outdoor activities to Sunday, as the latter half of the weekend is expected to be drier and cooler.
Is Winter Truly Over?
Despite the prospect of cooler weather over the weekend, with temperatures dropping from the mid-60s on Saturday to the upper 50s on Sunday, it may be premature to declare winter’s end in Houston.
Meteorological winter, spanning from Dec. 1 to Feb. 29, still has several weeks remaining where cooler weather is plausible. However, the Climate Prediction Center’s temperature outlook through mid-February lacks a strong signal for a prolonged cold spell. Long-range global forecast models also indicate the absence of a significant cold surge. While occasional nighttime temperatures in the 30s may occur in Southeast Texas, a sustained period of chill does not seem imminent.
Historical climate records for the Houston area suggest that mid-February typically marks the unofficial end to winter chill. While chilly spells may persist beyond that date, Houston tends to experience its coldest temperatures before Feb. 15.
In conclusion, it appears that Houston has weathered the worst of Old Man Winter, signaling a potential transition to milder conditions.