Our first full day of autumn will feel more like August – Space City Weather


Autumn. August. Both are basically the same, right? We hit 98 degrees officially in Houston yesterday, our hottest late September day since 2005. We have a shot at meeting or exceeding that level again today and maybe again on Monday before we can hopefully be done with this level of ridiculous heat.

Meanwhile, Invest 98L became Tropical Depression 9 in the Caribbean overnight. It should not impact Texas, but it will likely be an issue for Florida or the eastern Gulf. More on that below.

Today

More of the same. Highs likely just shy of 100 with sunshine. Watch for poor air quality (high ozone), in addition to high levels of <ah choo!> ragweed.

Ragweed is a scourge, and it may be making your life miserable right now. Thursday’s pollen count from the City of Houston was unpleasant. Today’s will be similar. (City of Houston)

Weekend

Temperatures may crawl back a couple degrees this weekend, but that’s because humidity levels may increase just a bit. All else equal, it will continue to feel more like summer than fall: Mid-90s by day, mid-70s by night. A shower can’t be entirely ruled out, especially Sunday, but you’d be lucky if you saw one.

Monday

This may be the trickiest day of the forecast. We are expecting a cold front to descend on southeast Texas on Monday. Air masses tend to be at their hottest immediately before a front passes through. In addition, this front will come with little moisture and minimal rain chances. With humidity likely falling through the day on Monday, we will have a much easier time heating up, assuming sunshine. I would not be shocked to see some places blow past 98 or 99 degrees Monday afternoon.

Monday’s forecast high temperatures remain in the mid-90s, but I would say there’s at least some chance for upper-90s again, especially south of I-10. (Pivotal Weather)

Current forecast highs are hot, but I think there’s some chance we end up beating some of these numbers.

Tuesday & beyond

The rest of next week looks nice by September standards in Houston. We should see low humidity, allowing nighttime lows to drop into the mid or lower 60s away from the Gulf and bays. Inland locations even have a shot at 50s!

In addition to the color table on the map above, Thursday morning’s actual forecast low temperatures are screaming pumpkin spice everything. (Pivotal Weather)

Daytimes will remain fairly hot, but not nearly to the levels we’ve seen lately and with much more tolerable humidity. In other words, the shade and a breeze should offer to provide sweet relief from heat. Look for upper-80s to 90 or so each day. Rain chances seem close to zero all of next week.

Tropics

So now we’ll discuss the tropics. Again, we do not expect that Tropical Depression 9 will impact Houston or Texas at all. So what will it do?

This morning, TD9 is located just off the coast of Venezuela. It finally pushed away from land and more out into the water yesterday, which has allowed it to organize.

Tropical Depression 9 is organizing off the coast of Venezuela, though it is still experiencing the effects of wind shear, which will keep initial development slow. (Weathernerds.org)

Granted, it doesn’t look great on the satellite image above. There is still a lot of wind shear in the wake of Hurricane Fiona, which is impacting TD9’s growth. It will initially be slow. As TD9 works west, it should emerge from that shear into a more stable environment, and that’s when we may see it intensify more rapidly.

TD9 is expected to work just north of west over the next couple days, but it will eventually likely feel the impacts of our cold front and resultant trough over the Eastern U.S. by early next week. This will allow the storm to turn northwest and eventually north and probably northeast as well in time. Thus, the track forecast for Nine shows it threatening Florida in time.

Tropical Depression 9 will develop into a tropical storm this weekend and probably turn north once it gets past Jamaica. Exactly where that turn occurs and how much land interaction is experienced by TD9 will help determine how strong it gets when it arrives near Florida. (NOAA)

Given the geography of Florida and the Caribbean and the turn expected from TD9, there are many, many questions on intensity and impacts. If the turn happens earlier than forecast, that could lead to more land interaction with Jamaica and Cuba’s eastern mountains, which could keep the system a bit disheveled and also allow it to track east of Florida. If the turn is slower, this could give TD9 more time over the Caribbean rocket fuel (mostly normal for this time of year), allow it to strengthen more, and produce less hostile land interaction. Thus it would be a bigger threat to the Florida Peninsula. If the turn is much slower than forecast, then odds increase for the Panhandle or Mississippi/Alabama coasts. All options are reasonable right now, but consensus favors something near the current NHC track.

Given the general interest in this system, as well as the potential impacts to the planned Artemis I launch in Florida next week, Eric and I will keep you updated on this storm through the weekend.

One last note. We’re obviously watching TD9 closely, but Fiona is still out there, and it is about to absolutely hammer Atlantic Canada. Much of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland are under hurricane warnings. Tropical storm conditions are even expected as far north as Labrador. This will likely be a generational storm for Nova Scotia. This area often experiences large storms, but this will be at another level and perhaps worse than Juan in 2003.

Fiona’s final chapter will include serious impacts on Atlantic Canada, where hurricane warnings are in effect. (NOAA)

Thoughts with our Canadian friends through a pretty trying event.


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