Heat Records and Water-Use Restrictions

This is a bit off topic for a flood blog, but it affects tens of thousands of readers. Late yesterday, after multiple heat records were broken across the region, the City of Houston announced water-use restrictions going into effect Sunday, August 27, 2023. Let me address the heat first, water restrictions second. Then I’ll discuss rain chances and the tropics.

Heat Records Shattered Across Houston Region

Yesterday, the Houston area experienced another unrelenting afternoon of scorching temperatures. Many areas reached the mid- to upper-100’s with a few areas into the low 110’s.

Afternoon daily temperature records were shattered at many sites – many by several degrees.

Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist

High Temperatures on Thursday, 8/24/23

BUSH IAH: 109 (tied the all time record high, broke daily record high of 105 from 1980)

Huntsville: 111 (shattered record high of 102 from 2011…daily record high broken by 9 degrees)

College Station: 111 (broke record high of 107 from 2010)

Hobby: 107 (broke record high of 100 from 1980)

Conroe: 108 (broke record high of 105 from 1922…101 year old record)

Brenham: 107 (broke record high of 106 from 1980)

Sugar Land: 107 (broke record high of 101 from 2011)

Wharton: 106 (shattered the record high of 99 from 1911…112 year old record)

Cleveland: 109 (broke record high of 104 from 1980)

Crockett: 109 (broke record high of 106 from 2011)

CoH Water-Use Restrictions

According to a City of Houston press release, Houston has entered Stage Two of the City’s Drought Contingency Plan. Due to intense heat and a significant drop in annual rainfall. Effective August 27, 2023, mandatory water-use restrictions will go into effect. They apply to the entire City:

  • Limit outdoor watering to twice a week between the hours of 7PM and 5AM
  • Sundays and Thursdays for single-family residential customers with even-numbered addresses
  • Saturdays and Wednesdays for single-family residential customers with odd-numbered addresses
  • Tuesdays and Fridays for all other customers
  • Any outdoor water use that results in city water leaving your property (i.e., draining onto adjacent property, or streets or gutters) is unlawful.

Violations of watering times will get you a written warning for the first violation. Any subsequent violations are subject to a fine up to $2,000 for each occurrence; see Section 54.001 of the Texas Local Government Code.

Easy Ways to Conserve Water

Here are some easy ways to conserve water:

  • Check and repair water leaks, including dripping faucets and running toilets.
  • Check sprinkler heads to make sure water is not spraying into the street or directly into a storm drain and/or gutters.
  • Avoid washing sidewalks, patio furniture or cars. If you must wash your car, use a car wash. Most car washes use recycled water.
  • Run dishwashers and clothes washers only when full.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • Install a rain barrel and use it for outdoor watering.
  • Turn off the water when you are not using it (e.g., while brushing teeth or shaving).

For more water-saving tips, visit www.givewaterabreak.org.  

Rain Chances

The high-pressure ridge parked over us for the last two months is giving a little bit of ground. Yesterday, thunderstorms finally overcame subsidence in the super-heated afternoon air mass. The gage at the West Lake Houston Parkway bridge recorded 0.44 inches of rain. Despite several downed trees, people cheered because of our deep drought.

According to Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist, as high pressure moves west, weak disturbances may approach the area from the east and northeast.

Combined with high temperatures in the low- to mid-100’s, scattered thunderstorms will be possible.

Wildfire Risk Remains

Thunderstorms come with the threat for lightning-induced wildfires. One such fire started yesterday in the Humble area. Lightning strikes will be possible each day and strong gusty winds can quickly fan fires.

Additionally, wind direction and speeds can quickly change near and around thunderstorms creating very hazardous conditions for ground crews. Multiple fires caused by a single thunderstorm can quickly overwhelm local resources. So use extra caution. Burn bans remain in effect.

Western Caribbean Sea

An area of low pressure has crossed Central America into the western Caribbean Sea. It should move north toward Florida. As of this morning, the National Hurricane Center gave it a 70% chance of formation during the next 7 days.

August 25, 2023 8AM update from NHC

However, it remains unclear where exactly any surface low will form and how it may interact with the surrounding landmasses. Additionally, there may be wind shear to contend with in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. At this time, models predict varying intensity as the storm moves north.

Currently, this system does not pose a threat to Texas. But watch for winds that could enhance our local fire weather.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 8/25/2023 based on information from Jeff Lindner, Harris County Meteorologist, and City of Houston

2187 Days since Hurricane Harvey