Friday, August 9, 2013

How cool we are

A heat intensity forecast map published for yesterday has corroborated what I have long suspected about Centerpointe:  It can be significantly cooler here than in most of greater Houston.  We are actually close enough to Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico that the moderating effect is quite detectable. 

This effect doesn't manifest so much in the non-extreme weather conditions we have most of the year, but at the top of the summer when the upper Texas coast is baking under relentless high pressure, that's when it becomes most apparent.

Here's how I did my rough analysis using the map published yesterday.  This is very simple stuff, but it makes for nice pictures, so here they are. 

Centerpointe spotted in red on a Googlemap.
Temperature prediction map overlain roughly to scale on the Googlemap, because the original prediction map was largely devoid of fine-scale geographic references.
Count the number of temperature contours to Centerpointe (this prediction map is crude on a fine scale, but essentially one contour equals one degree).  Note that the predictions range from 87 degrees in Galveston to 104 degrees around the Southbelt / Pearland area. 
Generally this predicts that, even as far inland as we are, we should remain about five degrees lower than points north and west of us, when conditions are as extreme as they have been this week. 

And every little bit helps.  In the evenings when I'm playing outside with the neighborhood kids or walking our dog, a five degree temperature reduction is a Godsend. 

I first noticed this three years ago after moving to Centerpointe from the far north side of Clear Lake, where I lived for seven years.  I'd routinely step outside and think, "Oh my gosh - it's so much cooler here."  I wondered if it wasn't an artifact of my perception - maybe I am older now with poorer blood circulation and I just think it's cooler.  Or I thought perhaps it was a perceptual artifact of increased air movement because the newer sections of Centerpointe have no mature trees to block the breeze, whereas north Clear Lake is walled off by subdivision trees. 

But no, those maps above suggest that we can sometimes expect an absolute reduction in temperature by virtue of our moderated location (assuming the prediction map is accurate and generally representative of summer high-pressure reality).  We can call that benefit a tiny silver lining on the cloud of our coastal county windstorm insurance rates

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