Late July is generally one of the quietest times for our local weather. Barring tropical systems, typically at this point the summer pattern has become entrenched with high temperatures and very few atmospheric triggers for rain aside from the occasional afternoon thunderstorm sparked by the sea-breeze. This is what makes the weather situation this week exceptionally unique. If you have not heard by now, we are expecting a fairly robust front (by July standards) to push through here today which will make the next couple of days a treat. I suppose technically it is a cold front but there really isn't much real cold behind it, but none the less it is a refreshing front which will bring noticeably lower humidity and make mornings and evenings absurdly comfortable (again, by July standards).
As the front makes its way through today rain and a few storms will be possible, but nothing that will be too serious. Most of us could use the rain as the area by and large, has been dry since the beginning of the month. Today you may not really notice a whole lot of change from this front, but come Wednesday morning you certainly will. Wednesday and Thursday morning dew point temperatures will drop into the 50s for many spots except for maybe the immediate coast. Correspondingly the actual temperatures will fall into the upper 60s in many spots especially the further from the coast you get since drier air is easier to cool down at night. During the day on Wednesday and Thursday, temperatures will still rise to about 90 degrees but it definitely won't feel as hot as the heat index will for once closely resemble the actual temperature.
A word about Dew Points.
The dew point temperature is one of the most important figures in meteorology and it gets totally shafted in weather forecasts directed to the public. Basically, the dew point is a measure of moisture in the atmosphere – and a critically important factor in forecasting things like thunderstorms, the heat index or whether we can squeeze out some snowflakes down here in the winter. Relative humidity gets all the publicity, but I find that the dew point is really a far better measure for judging how humid it feels. When the dew point is above 65 degrees it feels muggy out, and the higher it goes the stickier and more oppressive the air feels. During the summer the dew point in our area typically stays somewhere between the upper 60s and the upper 70s. Once the dew point drops into the lower 60s and into the upper 50s you can distinctly notice the air feels dryer.
Ok, so what is all this fuss about the dew point about? Well the dew point is also a fantastic measure of a cold front and especially so in July. To express how rare a front like the one we are getting this week is in July I went back and looked through the hourly dew point readings at Bush Airport (the official climate recording site for Houston) for the last 10 years. Over the 7,440 hours that make up the last 10 Julys, the dew point has been below 60 degrees for a grand total of 35 hours! And 32 of those hours happened during a two day span in 2013. This means in the past 10 Julys the dew point has been below 60, in the comfortable feeling range, just 0.47% of the time.So with that in mind get out and enjoy the next couple of days because it may be a very long time before we see another "comfortable" day in July.
“Another one!”- DJ Khaled
That's the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news of Tytus Howard being shut down for the season because of a knee injury. They've had more injuries on the offensive line this season than Nick Cannon has Father's Day cards. Almost every member of the offensive line has spent time on the injury report. Howard went down in the same game in which Juice Scruggs was finally on the active roster. He missed the first 10 games due to a hamstring injury. The irony of next man up has never been so in your face.
The other thing that came to mind was the soap opera As the World Turns.
Howard had just signed an extension this offseason. So did Laremy Tunsil and Shaq Mason. They drafted Juice Scruggs, and signed a few guys too. Those moves, along with other holdovers, were expected to fill out the depth chart. Then a rash of injuries struck. At one point, only one of the original five guys expected to start was playing! In fact, they beat the Steelers 30-6 with that backup offensive line!
One can't have the expectation of backups to perform as good as the starters. They're professionals and are on an NFL roster for a reason. However, the talent gap is evident. One thing coaching, technique, and preparation can't cover is lack of ability or talent. The Texans have done a good job of navigating the injury minefield this season. While the Howard injury will hurt, I have faith in the guys there still.
As of this writing, the Texans are in the eighth spot in the AFC playoff picture. The Steelers, Browns, and Colts are all in front of them at the fifth through seventh spots respectfully. They've beaten the Steelers already. They play the Browns on Christmas Eve and their starting quarterback is out for the season. The Colts are relying on the ghost of Gardner Minshew to steer their ship into the last game of the season vs. the Texans with a possible playoff trip on the line. The Broncos and Bills are the two teams immediately behind them. They play the Broncos this weekend. Even though they're on a hot streak, this is the same team that got 70 put on them by the Dolphins. The Bills are the old veteran boxer who still has some skill, but is now a stepping stone for up & comers.
To say this team should still make the playoffs would be an understatement in my opinion. I believe in them and what they have going on more than I believe in the teams I listed above. That includes teams around them in the playoff race that aren't on their schedule. The one thing that scares me a little moving forward is the sustainability of this line. When guys get up in age as athletes, it becomes harder to come back from injuries. The injuries also tend to occur more frequently when it's a knee, foot, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or another body part critical to blocking for C.J. Stroud.
I know they just re-signed three of those guys and drafted one they believe can be a starter, but depth and contingency plans are a way of life in the NFL. We see how important depth was this season. Why not plan ahead? Don't be surprised if the Texans spend valuable draft capital on the offensive line. By valuable, I'm talking about first through third or fourth rounders. Those are prime spots to draft quality offensive lineman. Whether day one starters or quality depth, those are the sweet spots. The only guy on the two deep depth chart for this offensive line that wasn't drafted in one of those rounds was George Fant, who was an undrafted rookie free agent. While I highly doubt they spend any significant free agency dollars on the group, I'm not totally ruling it out.
The bottom line is, this team will be okay on the line for the remainder of this season. The only way that doesn't happen, more injuries. Stroud is clearly the franchise guy. Protecting that investment is a top priority. I don't care about a number one receiver, or a stud stable or singular running back if the quarterback won't have time to get them the ball. If the pilot can't fly the plane, you know what happens. So making sure he's happy, healthy, and has a great crew is of the utmost importance.