Sunshine brought a fabulous end today to a dismal spell of cold, wet weather in Galveston County. The strange part is that even though a couple of cold fronts may reach the area during the coming seven days, temperatures during this period will be much more moderate than we have seen of late.

The first front, which may sag to the coast by Saturday, should not put too much of a dent in our temperatures, with minimum temperatures expected to drop only into the 50s locally. Another frontal passage on Tuesday, likewise, is only expected to keep temperatures near average for this time of year.

On the negative side, sunshine we are now enjoying may be tempered somewhat by fog expected to form by Thursday night into Saturday. Ironically, fog formation this time of year is often a sign of a warming trend, even though the fog can provide somewhat chilly conditions right along the coast and near Galveston Bay. Seventy-nine percent of all heavy fogs in Galveston occur between Nov. 1 and March 31 (about six days a month).

What happens is that warm, moist air moving northward on southerly winds, interacts with cold coastal waters over the northwest Gulf of Mexico. Currently, the water temperature at the buoy 22 miles east of Galveston is running at 52.7 degrees, while it is 71.2 degrees at the buoy 200 miles east of Brownsville. When southerly and southwesterly winds appear, as expected by late Thursday or Friday, warm, moist air from warmer regions is transported across the colder coastal waters. The cold surface water serves to cool the air just above it and that reduces the temperature near the surface to, or close to, the dewpoint ( the temperature at which moisture condenses into clouds or fog).

So, if all goes to plan, we should see some fog moving into the weekend, as well as a weak cold front, but the overall trend is for milder conditions at last. In fact, if the latest GFS model is correct, above average temperatures should prevail at least through the end of next week. Sounds good to me!

Below are some links related to this blog:.  

Sea fog formation in the Gulf of Mexico

Day 3-7 minimum temperature loop

Days 1-5 maximum temperature deviation from normal

Days 3-7 maximum temperature deviation from normal

Stan Blazyk is a life-long weather enthusiast, long-time Galveston resident and author of "A Century of Galveston Weather." He has written the weather blog for the Galveston County Daily News for more than a decade.

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