Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Cold Continues

Well, we didn't quite have a freeze last night due in part to a batch of high clouds that drifted across Southeast Texas, but it was cold enough.  And don't forget the wind, which added a chill making it feel close to 32° this morning.  When forecasting low temperatures, I always consider several factors: how dry and cold the air is, how much wind is expected and how cold it's been recently.

In our case, our high today, like yesterday was 54°.  However, it is much drier and therefore felt a lot colder to many folks today.  The blanket of high clouds that may have slightly insulated us last night should thin out this evening, so it's very possible that it will be colder tonight than it was last night.  The process, called radiative cooling is the method whereby the earth releases stored heat.  At night, that process is accelerated when the skies are clear, the air dry and the wind light.  Heat (even the little we gained today) from the surface is released until the sun begins to rise again.  That's why the lowest temperature is recorded just at sunrise. 

Yes, you'll get good use out of your winter coat for at least two more mornings.  After that, we'll warm up slightly.  However, I am tracking another set of chilly days a week from now and possibly around Christmas.

TONIGHT: Cold with overnight lows in the low to mid 30s around Houston and surrounding suburbs.  Upper 20s for northern counties and low 40s near the coast. Clearing skies with wind diminishing from the north at 2-5 mph.

WEDNESDAY: Mostly sunny and cool with high temperatures in the upper 50s with light east winds 5-10 mph.

THURSDAY: After another chilly morning, the air becomes milder as southeast winds return 5-10 mph.  Highs in the low 60s.  Expect a few more clouds by afternoon.

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