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The Death Ridge breaks and rain finally returns

The Death Ridge breaks and rain finally returns
weathermodels.com

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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Extremely positive Yordan Alvarez update from Astros opens door for landmark year

It's a new year for the Houston Astros as they return to action for their first game of the spring against the Washington Nationals on Saturday.

Every season we see some adjustments to the roster which means we also see some changes in leadership. As Astros fans, we're all aware of Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker's contract situations. Breggy could be gone after the season, and Tucker could follow one year later.

Which means it's pretty clear who the leaders of the team will be for the foreseeable future. Not only are these guys two of the best players on the club, but they're also under contract for several more years. In Altuve's case, through the 2029 season. For Yordan, he won't sniff free agency until 2029.

While these guys aren't your typical vocal leaders, they are both highly respected and lead by example. Leadership is something that's front of mind for Yordan this season, according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome.

Another way to be a leader is to do everything you can to be available for your team. Alvarez changed his diet in the offseason hoping it will help him stay healthy this year.

Manager Joe Espada said Alvarez is fully healthy and he plans on playing him earlier than normal this spring.

Currently, Yordan is trending down in games played for three straight seasons. But he's such a great player that he needs fewer games to put up massive numbers.

He finished 3rd in MVP voting in 2022, and he only played in 135 games out of a possible 162.

So with that in mind, how many games does Yordan need to play this year to win an MVP?

Plus, who's going to protect him in the lineup? With new manager Joe Espada in place, it's hard to know what the lineup will look like.

One thing we do know, Espada immediately named Josh Hader his closer when spring training began. He also told the media that he wants Jeremy Pena to know where he's going to hit every day when he comes to the ballpark.

Espada values players knowing their roles, and getting comfortable in their routines. Something very different from last season when manager Dusty Baker moved Pena all over the lineup throughout the season.

So what does all this mean for Yordan?

Be sure to watch the video above as we break it all down!

Catch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every Monday on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel.

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