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 gets the lopsided win

Valdez, Astros dominate the Angels in 10-0 rout in Anaheim

Framber Valdez was dominant against the Angels on Monday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a series win at home over the weekend, the Astros started their final regular-season road trip on Monday, squaring off against the Angels in Anaheim. They held the momentum firmly in their favor all night, dominating both sides of the game to start the series with a victory.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 0

Astros' Record: 89-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (11-5)

Losing Pitcher: Jaime Barria (2-4)

Siri leads off with a bang

With Jose Altuve being given the night off, Houston gave Jose Siri a shot at the leadoff spot, and he delivered to start the opener in Anaheim. He launched a missile to left field, 426 feet, to put the Astros in front 1-0 before the Angels could record an out. Later that same inning, they strung together three singles, the third being an RBI by Carlos Correa to double the lead.

Valdez goes seven shutout innings

That gave Framber Valdez a lead to work with as he stepped on the rubber in the bottom of the inning, and he didn't give it up as he would post a dominant start. He started with a 1-2-3 first, worked around a couple of singles in the second, then used a double play to face the minimum in the third.

He retired Los Angeles in order again in the fourth, stranded a two-out single in the fifth and a single and a walk in the sixth. He had his worst inning of the night in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single then loading the bases on back-to-back two-out walks. He'd escape the jam, though, keeping the shutout alive and finalizing his impressive line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 98 P.

Astros take the opener in lopsided fashion

Houston tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting a one-out double by Correa to set up an RBI single by Marwin Gonzalez, pushing the lead to 3-0. Things escalated from there, as another single put two on base for Martin Maldonado, who blew the game open with a three-run homer to make it a six-run lead.

Brooks Raley took over for Valdez in the bottom of the inning, and with a 1-2-3 inning, made it his eighth appearance in a row without allowing a run. The Astros didn't let up in the top of the ninth, getting two hits and a walk to load the bases before a grand slam by Gonzalez made it 10-0 and gave him 5 RBI in a two-inning span. Seth Martinez, called up by the Astros earlier in the day, made his big-league debut in the bottom of the ninth and closed out the lopsided win to put Houston's magic number at 6.

Up Next: The second of this four-game set will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Tuesday. Jose Urquidy (7-3, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, going opposite Packy Naughton (0-2, 4.32 ERA) for the Angels.

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