What tornadoes? Lucky for Houston, but an unlucky forecast

HOUSTON - We forecast a lot of rain for Houston today and barely saw a drop.

After our area was pegged for the first time since 2008, under the historically dangerous, "high chance for tornadoes"  by the Storm Prediction Center (NOAA), and while in our viewing area we experienced *9* tornado warnings north of I-10, none have verified and no damage has been reported. Virtually all of our historically reliable computer models screamed, "Rain! Floods!" but it never materialized. Our instincts agreed. So, what happened? (We're certainly not delegating blame elsewhere.)

The ingredients were in place -- ultimately except for one. That missing piece was a front which was forecast to be closer to us and ultimately it moved farther north than expected: A warm front! This frontal zone was needed to focus all the intense tropical humidity, sufficient heat (80s today) and a huge upper-level system spinning into Texas. It wasn't draped just north of I-10, but instead closer to Conroe and Huntsville. That became the focus.

That 60 mile difference made all the difference for us. It's a hair's width in the scale of weather, when systems like this measure over a thousand miles across -- but it effectively removed the nation's 4th largest city from certain harm. That's very lucky for us.


Unfortunately, where the boundary of warm and cool air mingled, verifying tornadoes did occur, leaving at least two people dead in Louisiana. Houston was lucky, but our local forecast was not.

Catch Chief Meteorologist David Paul this afternoon at 5:30pm and tonight at 10pm after the CMA's with an update on the storms and the rest of our workweek. 

-Brooks Garner
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