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The Death Ridge breaks and rain finally returns

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Last time we spoke the miserable heat wave that has now brought six consecutive days with temperatures at or above 100 degrees was just beginning. While Houston obviously gets hot, this stretch of consecutive days over 100 is fairly uncommon. As bad as the days have been the nights have actually been worse as the sustained daytime heat makes it harder for the air to cool off at night as heat absorbed by the ground, and particularly concrete, during the day continues to be released from the ground at night. I am happy to say though that it appears we are reaching the end of this particular hot streak. Congratulations, you survived.

The area of high pressure, also known as the "Death Ridge," is moving off to the west which will bring in a bit of a northerly wind flow and a weak front. I hesitate to call it a front as it won't change the air-mass much. Rather, it is more of a boundary that could provide a focusing mechanism for some rain. Today and tomorrow will bring us the best chance of rain we have seen in a while, which is sorely needed after the baking we have endured. While I don't think everyone will see rain the next couple of days there should at least be enough rain and clouds around to keep temperatures in the mid 90's instead of over 100.

Rain finally returns. Simulated radar this evening.weathermodels.com

Into the weekend rain chances will go down but not disappear entirely. Instead we will be going back to our more normal summer programming with a few afternoon storms here and there.

How Much More Summer:

Now that we are all thoroughly sick of the heat I decided to take a look to see what the averages say as to how much longer we have to go until things start cooling off. Looking at data from Hobby Airport compiled over the past 70 years I found the following:

  • Average date of last 95+ degree day: September 6th
  • Average date of last 90+ degree day: October 7th
  • Average first date with low temperature of 65 degrees or below: September 18th
  • Average first date with low temperature of 60 degrees or below: September 28th

Keep in mind that these dates are just averages, but it does show that we only have about a month to month and a half left of real summer misery. Yes, heat can sometimes last well into October, but the light is starting to appear at the end of this tunnel, just hold on a little longer.

Hurricane Season Update:

We are entering what is typically the peak of hurricane season but the Atlantic and Gulf are still dead. Part of this is because there is still a good amount of saharan dust out in the Atlantic, indicative of hot dry air in the upper atmosphere which inhibits any potential storm growth. The law of averages would say that things will get churning at some point in the Atlantic Basin over the next month or so but as of now the computer models are not sniffing anything out.

Oranges an reds indicate Saharan dust in the atmosphere over the Atlantic.CIMSS/Univ. Wisconsin

Mailbag:

Since the weather has been quite lately I am opening up the WeatherMap mailbag. Tweet any of your weather related questions to @stephenuzick.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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