As it turns out, St. Louis’ agony may be Houston’s hope for salvation. No, I am not discussing a possible downturn in Lance Berkman’s batting average. Rather, it concerns the recent trends of the computer models to shift the focus of the long-standing 500MB heat ridge northward toward Missouri and Illinois. If the numerical predictions are correct, the subtropical high will relocate to the mid-Mississippi Valley in about four days, then translate toward the lower/middle Appalachian Mountains through July 20. That alignment would mean the deep mean easterlies revisit East Texas (as well as the rest of the Deep South), carrying tropical moisture along with upper air disturbances. So if sunshine is applied in the afternoon, thunderstorms will occur. Something like what happened on Wednesday afternoon, but more widespread.
In the near term, a TUTT signature over the Gulf of Mexico will slide gradually westward, increasing our chance for afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Just to the east of the upper low is a tropical wave, a further incentive for rainfall. This process started on July 6, and may have bigger impacts through Saturday, when the remnants of the impulse drift into New Mexico. Next week, with the center of the ridge complex taking shape over the Corn and Tobacco Belts, the words “possible” and “probable” will be attached to the risk for diurnal and nocturnal convection. A sure sign of a full-layered tropical air mass is when you see huge downpours and lightning along the Gulf Coast and over the Galveston Bay after midnight.
Temperatures are still likely to be quite hot, and the higher dewpoints will make the afternoon highs in the middle 90s seem like 100 – 105 deg F on your skin. There is some concern that the heat ridge may expand southward late next week, ending the potential for rain and sending temperatures above the century mark again. For now, however, let us try and be positive and think about the renewed chance for needed rainfall in the Bayou City. This will not break the drought, but any precipitation received is better than none!
Thursday: Partly sunny, hot, humid. Risk of a shower or thunderstorm in the afternoon and evening. Highs 94 Bay City to 98 Bender
Thursday Night: Mostly fair, warm, and humid. Lows 75 Humble to 79 Freeport
Friday: Mostly sunny, hot and humid. Risk of a shower or thunderstorm in the afternoon and evening. Highs 95 Brazoria to 99 Atascocita
Friday Night: Mostly fair, warm, and humid. Lows 76 Kingwood to 80 West Columbia
Saturday: Partly sunny, hot and humid. Isolated showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon and evening. Highs 93 Mims to 97 Patton Village
Sunday: Partly sunny, hot and humid. Scattered showers and thunderstorms possible. High 95, Low 78
Monday: Partly sunny, hot and humid. Scattered showers and thunderstorms. High 96, Low 80
Tuesday: Partly sunny, very hot and humid. Isolated showers and thunderstorms. High 98, Low 81