Into the teeth of summer - the hot stretch is here

Giphy/ The Simpsons

Well we have officially entered the dog days of August - the teeth of our summer. The end of this week and into at least the first part of next week will be the hottest period so far this year as an area of high pressure has parked itself right over Texas. In fact yesterday was the first time this year that the official temperature at Bush Airport (the official recording station for Houston) reached 100 degrees, a mark that could easily be reached a couple of more times over the next week or so.

As we know down here, while the temperatures are hot, it is the humidity that is the real monster, and there will be no shortage of that either. The humidity provides a double kick to the face in these situations since it 1. causes the heat index to soar and 2. prevents the air from cooling down much at night after the sun goes down because moist air takes a lot longer to cool down than dry air. This was evidenced by the fact that early the past couple of mornings, when the temperature should be the lowest, Galveston was recording a heat index of almost 100 degrees because the humidity was absurdly high. Speaking of absurdity look at this tweet from the National Weather Service Yesterday afternoon:

WUT?!?Twitter NWS Houston

Yes that really says the heat index or "feels like" temperature was 117 degrees at 1 pm yesterday afternoon. The dew point of 81 degrees indicates incredibly humid air on top of temperatures in the mid 90s. Any other time of year a dew point of 81 degrees would be like rocket fuel for thunderstorms, but that area of high pressure I mentioned is keeping a lid on things.

That high pressure, which is an area of sinking air, has anchored itself over Texas and will make our great state the heat bulls-eye for about the next week. So why does high pressure make things so hot? As air sinks from the lower pressure areas of the atmosphere towards the surface it heats up due to friction among air molecules, additionally the sinking air cuts off any lift that would be necessary for rain or cloud cover so we are left with clear skies and abundant summer sunshine. You can really see the effects of this area of high pressure in the two images below. The first is temperatures, the second shows how Texas is basically in a big donut hole when it comes to rain through next week.

Forecast temperatures Saturday afternoon. Heat is centered right over

Forecast rain amounts thru Tuesday. Most of Texas is bone

So is there any relief in sight? This "heat dome" wont last forever, but we still have about a month or so of peak summer left. Next time I will share a bit more on what the average dates are of when things start to cool down, so stay tuned.

Finally, a brief word about the tropics:


See I told you it would be a brief word.

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Houston is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.

Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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