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Summerlike Start to Autumn

Jason Samenow @ 11:19 PM

The calendar reads the first full day of fall, yet we're talking temperatures today in the high 80s with sticky humidity levels. There is a slight chance of thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. As we've missed out on the last several "slight chances", perhaps it's now our turn, but I'm not overly optimistic.

Forecast details through the weekend

The trigger for the possible storms today (35% chance) is a cold front that will sink southeastward this evening. Ahead of this front, as advertised, expect warm and humid conditions with the high near 88. The best chance of rain will be between about 6 and 9pm tonight.

Behind the front, high pressure will build in from the north, directing northeasterly winds over the area for Saturday. For the first time in over a month, the high should not reach 80. In fact the upper 70s should do it, with plenty of cloud cover.

By Sunday, the high moves offshore, the winds shift to southerly, and we're back into the mid 80s with another slight shot of storms ahead of the next cold front.

Still no sign of a soaking rain, and the The Washington Post writes: Area's Aridity Rises To Level of Drought (Thanks to Camden for finding this)

Rita update

At press time, Rita remained a very dangerous Category 4 Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 140mph and a minimum central pressure of 917mb. Based on current guidance and trends, I'm calling for landfall near Port Arthur, Texas on Saturday. Rita is likely to fluctuate in strength, but the overall trend should be weakening with landfall intensity as a strong Category 3 or weak Category 4 storm.

It's interesting to note that the Houston Chronicle ran an article back in February that discussed the worst-case hurricane scenario for Houston. The article suggests such a case could result in $40-50 billion in damage. The article, in a way, is a reminiscent of the Times-Picayune feature 'Washing Away' that documented the hurricane threat in New Orleans. Fortunately, for Houston, I think the worst effects will be to its east, but it's certainly not out of the woods.

Rita resources...

Name that tune, end of summer edition

Song #1

Nobody on the road
Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The summer's out of reach
Empty lake, empty streets
The sun goes down alone
I'm drivin' by your house
Though I know you're not home
. . .

Song #2
The show goes on, and the sad-eyed sisters go walking on
Everyone watching all along
The show goes on, as the autumn's coming
And the summer's all gone
Still without you, the show goes on

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