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Cold front could bring damaging winds

Dale Lezo, Houston Chronicle
Updated 9:10 am, Tuesday, January 29, 2013

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  • A Houston Astros fan runs for the stadium in a downpour before the Astros season opener against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park on Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Houston. Photo: Smiley N. Pool, Houston Chronicle / © 2013  Smiley N. Pool
    A Houston Astros fan runs for the stadium in a downpour before the Astros season opener against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park on Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Houston. Photo: Smiley N. Pool, Houston Chronicle

 

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Strong winds and slight rain chances are possible in the Houston region as a fast-moving cold front rips through the area.

The front is likely to hit sometime late Tuesday, sparking a chance of showers and thunderstorms and possibly damaging winds and isolated tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters said the best chances for severe weather may be far north of the region near Arkansas, but the southern edge of the system may skirt the metropolitan area.

The speedy system, forecasters added, may drop up to a quarter of an inch of rainfall in some spots and could help the region cool down from recent unseasonable heat.

"It'll help us drop back down to near normal for Wednesday and Thursday," said Wendy Wong, a meteorologist with the weather service.

On Tuesday, the high will top out near 80 degrees under mostly cloudy skies. South winds will be between 10 mph and 15 mph, increasing to between 15 mph and 20 mph as the system approaches the region. Gusts could be as high as 25 mph. A 30 percent chance of rain is possible during the day. Wong said rain chances likely will increase to about 60 percent at night as the system edges closer to the area between about 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. The overnight low will be about 49.

Sunny skies are expected Wednesday after the front races through the area. The high will be about 68 degrees. Breezy northwest winds will be between about 10 mph and 15 mph, with gusts up to 25 mph. The low will be near 40.

Normally temperatures range between about 44 and 64 this time of year.

More sun is on tap for Thursday, when the high will be about 68 degrees. The low will be near 45.

The mercury will probably climb slightly on Friday and through the weekend, Wong said. The highs each day will be in the lower 70s under mostly sunny to partly sunny skies. The lows will be in the upper 40s to lower 50s. No rain is forecast.