There is talk of rain and a possible break from the relentless scorching temperatures in Houston this week, thanks to a tropical wave in the Gulf of Mexico. Residents should not get their hopes too high, however.
Eric Berger, Space City Weather editor and meteorologist, said he was hoping a tropical system that moved into the Gulf of Mexico this weekend would bring some relief to the Houston region.
“Unfortunately, the models are now increasingly in alignment that a potent high pressure system over the central United States will push this Gulf disturbance far enough to the south that it will probably not bring widespread, meaningful rainfall to our region,” he wrote. “This forecast, certainly, can change. But as of now I would set your expectations low.”
South Texas, however, could see more significant and much-needed rainfall, he wrote.
Like much of Texas, the Houston region has endured extreme heat this year due to its location near the Gulf and a heat dome – a high-pressure system that traps hot air and pushes moisture down, preventing rain – over the state this summer.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport reached a record high of 108 degrees on Sunday, breaking its previous high mark of 107 in 1909, according to the National Weather Service. On Sunday, William P. Hobby Airport also reached a record-high temperature of 107 degrees, breaking its previous record of 101 degrees in 1999.
With record-breaking temperatures, drought conditions in the Houston region have worsened, ranging from severe to extreme, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
In late June, Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery and Waller counties had abnormally dry conditions, but since have increased to severe drought conditions.
Small portions of southeast Harris County, east Montgomery County and southeast Fort Bend County are facing extreme drought conditions.
Brazoria, Galveston, Chambers and Liberty counties are experiencing extreme drought conditions.
Since June 2022, the city of Houston has been under stage one of its Drought Contingency Plan. Stage one calls for voluntary water conservation from residents and a reduction goal of 5 percent, which the city has yet to achieve.
The city of Katy is under stage 3 of its Drought Contingency Plan, which includes mandatory water conservation for residents and a watering schedule depending on their addresses.
The city of Beaumont is under Stage 2 of its Drought Contingency Plan, which includes mandatory water conservation.
Pearland is in Stage One of its Drought Contingency Plan, which includes voluntary water conservation. The city has asked residents to limit outdoor watering between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.
There are burn bans in unincorporated Harris County, Liberty County, Chambers County, unincorporated Montgomery County, Waller County, Brazoria County, unincorporated Galveston County and Fort Bend County.
ERCOT issues voluntary conservation notice
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued a voluntary conservation notice Sunday from 7 to 10 p.m. calling for reduced electricity use due to extreme temperatures, continued high demand and unexpected loss of thermal generation, mean production from natural gas- and coal-fired plants.
An unofficial peak demand record of 85,435 megawatts was set on Aug. 10. Last year’s peak demand was 78,465 megawatts.
Forecast for the week
A heat advisory has been issued to most of the Houston region until 9 p.m. Monday evening, according to the National Weather Service. The heat index is expected to reach 113.
The heat index is what the air feels like when temperature and humidity are combined.
Monday will be mostly sunny with a slight chance of showers and isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon with a 20 percent chance of rain.
Tuesday will see a 30 percent chance of rain and heat index values up to 107. Wednesday will see a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, but remain sunny and hot with a high near 100.
If there is rain in the Houston area, it is unlikely to create a break in the extreme temperatures. The remaining days of the week will be mostly sunny and hot with highs reaching 103 or 104.
Symptoms of heat-related illness
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include nausea, headaches and a rapid pulse, which are signs to go cool off in an air-conditioned environment.
Heat exhaustion can develop into heat stroke if individuals do not cool off and continue with any heat-related activities. Heat stroke is when your body cannot cool itself and an individual’s perspiration system fails. An individual’s body temperature can rise to 106 degrees or higher within a short period of time.
Call 911 if someone’s skin is dry and no longer sweating.