Archive for March, 2010

Allergy Alert!
March 31, 2010

Some helpful hints this allergy season from

Tree pollens are typically the first allergens to show-up in the spring, causing problems for up to 40 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies.

Right now, Oak, Hash, and Hackberry pollens are the main allergy culprits in Houston, and pollen levels are high. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, reduce your exposure to tree pollens by avoiding outdoor activities during the early morning when trees usually emit pollens, between 5 and 10 a.m. Keep windows closed at night to keep pollens out of your home, and keep windows closed when traveling in the car.

  • A late-freeze that follows a mild winter can reduce tree pollen production, or even halt pollen production completely for some trees.  Unfortunately, this did not happen for us in SE Texas. 
  • Windy weather increases pollen counts by spreading tiny pollens through the air.
  • Rainy weather initially decreases pollen counts, but can increase pollen production later in the year by spurring growth of late-spring and summer grasses.  Because our preceding winter season was rainy, tree pollen counts are extreme.

Exposure to indoor allergens, such as dust mites, molds and pet dander, may aggravate allergy symptoms when combined with exposure to outdoor pollens. This is a good time to remove allergens inside your home, which can help to reduce your overall exposure when pollen counts are high enough to push your body over its tolerance. Dusting, changing the filter on your ventilation system, washing your mattress lining and sealing your mattresses and pillows with dust covers can help to control allergy triggers indoors.


What We Look Like from the International Space Station
March 23, 2010

Here’s a view of southeast Texas from the International Space Station.  Downtown and our major highways are clearly visible.

The International Space Station will be overhead at 8:26 tonight.  It may be too cloudy to see but if you do get a look it will look like a shooting star.


NASA provides a schedule of times the I.S.S. will fly over the Space City.  Click images or go here to get sightings times for Houston.


How We Get Sleet
March 3, 2010


Sleet is defined as frozen raindrops that bounce on impact with the ground or other objects. The diagram below shows a typical temperature profile for sleet with the blue line indicating the atmosphere’s temperature at any given altitude. The vertical line in the center of the diagram is the freezing line. Temperatures to the left of this line are below freezing, while temperatures to the right are above freezing.

To view other weather quiz answers click here:
Past Weather Quiz Answers

Record Breaking Cold Winter
March 2, 2010


If you don’t remember temperatures being this cold in the winter, you are correct.  In fact, we haven’t seen a winter like this in Houston since the 1977-78 season.  Here are a few facts:

Dec. 1, 2009 to Feb. 28, 2010 is the 6th coldest on record in Houston with an average temperature of 49.2 degrees.  Number one is 46.3 degrees set in 1977-78.

February goes down as the 5th coldest on the records books.  Houston’s average temperature was 48.5 degrees.  (See the graphic above and notice how most of the records were set before a lot of us were born.)  Our temperatures for the month ran almost 7 degrees below our normal.

Galveston and College Station were just as cold.