Tuesday, January 1, 2013

After the Warmest Year Ever - A Cool Trend

By Gene Norman

No, I wasn't out late last night nor did I imbibe...excessively.  It's true - 2012 in Houston goes down as the warmest year on record.  Which is pretty astonishing considering that we didn't break a lot of high temperature records.  What happened to make 2the year that just ended so warm was the number of times the morning temperatures either broke records or were just plain warmer than normal.  The average of the highs and lows puts Houston at 72.1°, breaking the 1962 mark of 71.9°.  You may be wondering what about 2011, when we had a record number of 100 degree days and the hottest summer ever.  Turns out that year is third on the list with an average temperature of 71.8°.  Even more interesting is the fact that eight of Houston's warmest years ever have been recorded since 1998.  Can anyone say "global warming"?  For more detail on 2012, check this link from the National Weather Service: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/hgx/?n=climate_graphs_iah.
The prospects for the first few days of the New Year are temperatures running somewhat cooler than normal.  And it may also be a while until we see the sun.  Clouds are lingering after the copious rainfall that doused many New Year's Eve celebrations:

The alignment of upper-level winds is southwest to northeast so we have a common weather pattern in winter months called "over-running".  While cold air is arriving at the surface, it is being "over-run" by milder air aloft, allowing for clouds to form and remain.  The pattern only changes when drier colder air at higher altitudes arrives.  I don't see that happening for the next few days.

TONIGHT: Periods of drizzle ending near the coast with overcast skies everywhere.  Getting colder with temperatures falling into the upper 30s.  North winds 10-15 mph.

WEDNESDAY'S NORMAN NUMBER: 5 (At least it's not raining)

WEDNESDAY: Cloudy and much cooler than normal with highs below 50°.  North winds 10-15 mph.
THURSDAY: Colder morning with a light freeze in northern neighborhoods.  Continued cool all day with clouds lifting a bit to reveal some peeks of sunshine.  Highs in the low to mid 50s.  North winds 10-15 mph.

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