A smoky haze has settled into Houston, but weekend storms could wash it away

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 5:59PM
A smoky haze sits over Houston, but weekend storms could wash it away
Smoke from seasonal fires in Mexico and Central America has blown into Southeast Texas, and it will hang around until a stormy cool front arrives this weekend.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A smoky haze from Mexico and Central America has arrived in Houston, and it will likely linger around until a stormy cool front arrives this weekend.

Because of the smoky haze in the sky, high temperatures are not getting as warm as initially predicted. We have recalibrated our high temperatures downward for the rest of the week, and Wednesday's high should warm to around 84 under a mostly cloudy and hazy sky.

How will this smoke impact my health?

Levels of particulate matter from the smoke will push air quality into the "moderate" range, which means most people won't notice a difference. There is a chance the air quality could worsen on Thursday with the arrival of a thicker plume of smoke. Keep in mind most of the smoke particles are elevated thousands of feet above the ground, which impacts the way the air looks more than the air quality. If you are sensitive to these fine particles and have a lung or heart condition, you might consider limiting your outdoor exposure until we get a decent rain to clean out the atmosphere.

When is our next best chance to wash the haze away?

That will have to wait until this weekend, specifically Saturday night when a stormy cool front arrives and pushes the rain chance up to 70%.

Could the storms this weekend turn severe?

We cannot rule out severe weather at this time, but it's too early to make a call on that. Because the storms are expected to arrive early Sunday morning during a more stable time of the day, the threat for severe weather should be minimized.

How cool will it get behind this front?

After the front's passage, highs will drop into the 70s with lows in the 50s for a couple of days. More importantly, the front should push the smoke away. There will also be a significant break in the humidity, and there aren't many of those humidity breaks left before the real summer heat and humidity arrive.

Are we done with oak pollen season?

Not entirely, but we are well past the peak of oak pollen season. Oak usually still registers low to moderate counts through early May. Grass pollens and mold spores are now climbing as we journey deeper into spring.

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