2019 Weather: Year In Review

Jeff Lindner, Harris County Flood Control District Meteorologist compiled this “Year in Review” summary. My thanks to Mr. Lindner and all the other folks at Harris County Flood Control who work so hard to make us aware of and protect us from extreme weather. On average, we had an extreme-weather event somewhere in the county every other week during the year. Some will be tough to forget.

Only 25 Days of Extreme Weather in 2019

January 1: Widespread dense fog with frequent visibilities under .25 of a mile and several locations recording zero visibility develop just after midnight and lasted into the mid morning hours. Air quality sensors recorded extremely unhealthy levels during this episode due to fireworks smoke being trapped near the surface.

January 19: severe thunderstorms produced wind damage in Wharton and in portions of Galveston County. 

January 23: back edge of ending rainfall mixed with and changed over to light snow/sleet. Some very light accumulation on rooftops.

February 5: Galveston experienced over 24 hours of sea fog.

April 6: several reports of baseball size hail over Houston, Madison, and Brazos Counties

April 7: Large bow echo produced wind damage over much of SE TX. 62mph wind recorded on Galveston Is and 63mph in Brazos County. EF 1 tornado touchdown in Pasadena destroyed one building. Strong winds overturned several travel trailers at Crystal Beach on Bolivar Peninsula.

April 13: EF 3 tornado strikes Weches in Houston County killing 1 person with a path length of 15 miles and width of 800 yards. EF 3 tornado touches down in Lovelady, TX in Houston County with a path length of 3.9 miles and width of 100 yards. Damage was significant along the tracks of both tornadoes. These tornadoes were part of a larger outbreak that included the Hearne, TX and Franklin, TX tornadoes. Dime to golfball size hail was reported from Bunker Hill to Spring Branch.  

April 24: Tornado touches down 4 miles east of Bryan, TX producing damage to 1 house and 4 commercial buildings. The tornado was rated EF 2 at maximum intensity.

May 3: EF 2 Tornado strikes LaGrange, TX. EF 0 Tornado in Eagle Lake, TX, EF 0 tornado near Tomball TX. 62mph wind gust at Eagle Point.

First Large Rain in Lake Houston Area

May 7: 10-12 inches of rainfall across portions of Kingwood and Fort Bend Counties leads to flash flooding. Over 400 homes were flooded in both areas.

May 9: 4-6 inches of rainfall in a short period of time across central Harris County led to flash flooding. Baseball size hail damaged several properties on the north side of Downtown Houston

June 5: 9.25 inches of rainfall occurred at Lane City and 7-8 inches in western Fort Bend County. US 59 in both directions was inundated at Kendleton, TX and homes flooded. Flash flooding reported in Wharton, Boling, Bay City and Pledger. 

June 6: 61mph wind gust recorded at San Luis Pass TCOON site. 18-wheeler overturned on I-10 around Columbus due to strong winds.

June 16: 64mph wind gust recorded at Bryan, TX. Glass door blown out of a building on TAMU campus.

June 23: Heat fatality. Child died from being left in a hot car on Bolivar Peninsula.

June 24: 58mph wind gust recorded at Crab lake WeatherFlow site. Lightning strikes caused 2 house fires in western Harris County.

June 25: 70mph wind gust reported NNE of Eagle Point over Galveston Bay.

June 29: 61mph wind gust reported at Galveston North Jetty. Large portions of Bolivar Peninsula were without power.

July 13: Hurricane Barry makes landfall along the south-central Louisiana coast. Impacts to SE TX included elevated seas and tides and a few showers in the western side of the circulation

July 23: a rare summer cool front dropped lows into the 60’s

August 8: the overnight low at Galveston failed to fall below 86 degrees and an afternoon heat index of 117 was recorded requiring a rare Excessive Heat Warning for the extreme coastal areas of SE TX.

August 14: 3 construction workers in Iowa Colony were injured when the house they were working on was struck by lightning. Lightning also struck an apartment complex off Almeda-Genoa Rd resulting in an attic fire that destroyed 1 unit.

The Big One for Everyone

September 17-19: Tropical Storm Imelda makes landfall over Brazoria County and meanders northward across SE TX producing tremendous rainfall and flash flooding. Early on the morning of the 19th an extensive band of heavy thunderstorms producing extreme amounts of rainfall developed from Jefferson County to east-central Montgomery County. Rainfall rates under this band frequently exceeded 4.0-5.0 inches per hour with a few locations receiving over 6.0 inches per hour. This band of excessive rainfall drifted south-southwest in Harris County by mid morning. 

31.0 inches of rainfall was recorded in just 12 hours at Fannett, TX near the Chambers/Jefferson County line with a storm total of 44.29 inches of rainfall at that site. The 44.29 inches recorded at Fannett, TX makes TS Imelda the 4th wettest tropical cyclone in Texas history and the 5th wettest in US history dating back to 1851. A 48-hour rainfall total of 29.1 inches was recorded in northeast Harris County near Huffman with 30.4 inches recorded in southeast Montgomery County near Plum Grove. 6.5 inches of rain fell in just 1 hour over the Aldine area of Harris County. A total of 3,990 homes were flooded in Harris County alone with an additional several thousand flooded in Montgomery, Liberty, Chambers, and Jefferson Counties.  

Posted by Bob Rehak on December 31, 2019

854 since Hurricane Harvey and 103 since Imelda