Now comes a fitting bookend to a winter seemingly without end.
Houston already had its earliest snowfall ever this winter, with an inch falling on Dec. 4. Today there’s a good chance the city will experience the next-to-latest snowfall in its history, with forecasters saying much of the area could see as much of an inch this evening.
“Rain will likely mix with or change to sleet or wet snow across Montgomery and possibly northern Harris County in between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. today and build quickly south toward the Texas Coast in the evening,” said Fred Schmude, a meteorologist with ImpactWeather.
“Snow amounts are forecast to average from 1 to 2 inches north and west of downtown Houston, and from a trace to perhaps as high as 1 inch south and east of downtown Houston and right toward the coast.”
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for today and tonight across Harris County, and a warning for counties north and northwest of Houston. The system should clear the area by early Wednesday.
Only once, on March 10 and 11 back in 1932, has Houston ever experienced snow this late in the season.
But snow in late February seems an apt denouement — and we sincerely hope this is a denouement — to a winter in Southeast Texas that might finish as one of the region’s coldest in more than a century of record keeping.
December and January were already cold months, but February has taken it a step further with an average temperature nearly 7 degrees below normal for Houston.
The 13-county region along and just inland of the upper Texas coast, from Calhoun and Victoria counties through Jefferson and Orange counties, is on pace to have its second-coldest winter ever, said John Nielsen-Gammon, the state climatologist.
The coldest winter ever came in 1977-1978, he said, which averaged 6.3 degrees below normal.
Nielsen-Gammon said the 13-county southeast Texas climate region has averaged between 5 and 6 degrees below normal since Dec. 1.
Relief won’t come immediately.
Various long-range forecasts show Houston running between 5 and 10 degrees below normal for the rest of the week, with possibly another strong front blowing through next week, at the beginning of March.
Don’t worry, though. Summer’s coming. Some preliminary outlooks show July, August and September being a bit warmer than normal.
Then we can all complain about the heat.