It's funny how perception works when it comes to weather. In 2011, the combination of a brutal drought -- that continues, by the way, for most of the state and still threatens our area -- and record daily high temperatures made it seem like the hottest year, well, ever. But the truth is that cooler days earlier in the year mixed with normal low temps kept it from breaking a record, though just barely.
Then we had this year. Daytime highs almost never reached 100 and we had what frankly felt like a fairly mild summer. Not so fast. According to numbers from the National Weather Service, thanks primarily it would seem to extremely warm low temperatures, both Houston and Galveston broke previously recorded annual average temperature marks in 2013. In the case of Galveston, where records go back almost a century and a half, that is a substantial mark.
For Houston, that meant an average high temperature of 72.1 beating the previous average high of 71.9 set in 1962. Galveston was worse, with an average high of 73.9 degrees beating the previous mark of 72.6 by over one degree, a HUGE jump in meteorological terms. The numbers still need to be checked and made official, but it appears both Houston and Galveston, as well as other areas around east Texas, will tie or set new records for heat.
This comes as much of the world is seeing higher annual average temperatures and the battle rages over whether this is a natural warming trend, part of a larger earth cycle or something humans are responsible for at least in part.
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For the next week or two, we shouldn't be experiencing any significant warming trends of our own. Temperatures should stay in the 50s and 60s over the next week. Long-range forecasts indicate we might creep back into the 70s after that, followed by yet another cold front that will drop us into the 50s again.
The cloud cover and generally dreary conditions have kept it from freezing overnight, which is something. Also, the rain has been a welcome relief from some of the persisting concerns over drought conditions. Most of the city has seen about an inch and a half of rain over the last few days.
It may have been a very hot year, but we still have a good four to six weeks of cool(er) weather before the gradual warm-up begins.