Bayou City

What Is Going On With Houston's Winter-That-Isn't?

It's always a good time for a margarita, but especially when it's 85 degrees in February.
It's always a good time for a margarita, but especially when it's 85 degrees in February. Courtesy of Molina's Cantina
If you were in Houston for the Super Bowl last week, you probably thought, "Man, this Houston winter weather is spectacular!" You would have been right. One of the paybacks for the long, brutal summer months is a pleasant, mild winter. But for Houstonians, there has been some grumbling over the unseasonably warm weather of late. In fact, it's been a warm year and that includes the winter.

In 2016, the city of Houston was approximately 1.5 degrees warmer than normal, according to a nifty little tool on the New York Times website that provides measurements for such things to help remind us of that whole global warming thing. That includes multiple record high temperatures in November and December. Eric Berger at noted in a blog post Tuesday that Houston has already had 12 80-degree days this winter. The record is 17, and we still have the entire month to go.

With forecast highs expected to reach into the upper 80s over the next two days, the record will be in our crosshairs.

Most of us who live south of the Mason-Dixon understand the deal we make for not having to shovel snow, but this is getting pretty ridiculous. We're talking 10-to-20-degrees-above-normal ridiculous. And it looks like at least a couple more days of weather more like late spring than the end of winter are on the horizon for this weekend. After that, expect some rain followed by a cool front that may get temperatures back into normal-for-Houston-winter territory (highs in the upper 60s).

So, if you happen to notice your azaleas blooming a month earlier than normal or the return of bugs typically reserved for late April, don't think you are hallucinating. This is happening, people of Houston. Best just to get a frozen margarita, put on some shorts and flip-flops and make the best of it.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke