November, 2011

Weather Wednesday at Andrews Elementary School

November 30th, 2011 at 4:54 pm by under Weather

Here are some photos from my visit today to Andrews Elementary School.  I really enjoyed my time with about 155 4th and 5th graders!  What a polite, intelligent group of students.  I hope you learned a lot about the weather. Thanks for the invitation to visit. You all were great!

It’s Never Completely Quiet Here In Austin

November 30th, 2011 at 8:18 am by under Weather

Although today marks the last day of the 2011 Hurricane Season, and of course we are well clear of tornado season, we can’t assume that our weather will be free of complications as we start December.
Back on December 23rd of 1998, Central Texas had a rather extreme situation of rain and freezing temps come together to create an icy tragedy on Austin roads.

Here’s the entry for both the 23rd and 24th, as they appear in Jim Spencer’s Weather Diary.


12-24-98   34    30     Trace   Freezing rain, drizzle, sleet early creates icing, particularly in the Hill Country, through Temple and Waco. Winter Storm Warning extended through early afternoon. A few snow flurries reported at airport. Clearing west, late. Cold.

Crazy to think this was on December 23rd and it serves as a reminder of what can occur here in Central Texas.


Hurricane season comes to an end

November 30th, 2011 at 12:05 am by under Weather

Active 2011 hurricane season breaks “Hurricane Amnesia”

Irene the first hurricane to hit U.S. in three years; Northeast reminded it’s also vulnerable

The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season officially ends Wednesday, having produced a total of 19 tropical storms of which seven became hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. This level of activity matched NOAA’s predictions and continues the trend of active hurricane seasons that began in 1995.

The 19 tropical storms represent the third-highest total (tied with 1887, 1995, and 2010) since records began in 1851 and is well above the average of 11. However, the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes is only slightly above the average of six and two, respectively. This year’s totals include a post-storm upgrade of Tropical Storm Nate to hurricane status, and the addition of a short-lived, unnamed tropical storm that formed in early September between Bermuda and Nova Scotia. This unnamed storm, along with several other weak, short-lived named storms, could have gone undetected without modern satellite technology.

Irene was the lone hurricane to hit the United States in 2011, and the first one to do so since Ike struck southeast Texas in 2008. Irene was also the most significant tropical cyclone to strike the Northeast since Hurricane Bob in 1991. (more…)

How Longhorns NBA-ers “Spent Their Time Wisely”

November 29th, 2011 at 2:27 pm by under Sports

In the report card of how Longhorns in the NBA spent their lockout, check the box for “Spends Time Wisely.”

Kevin Durant:

1. Played Flag Football at Oklahoma State and didn’t get injured

2. Made various cameos at college basketball games across the country

3. Filmed Warner Brothers’ movie “Switch”

Tristan Thompson:

1. Took fall classes at UT

2. Hung out at UT basketball games and in the gym at Cooley to stay in shape

Royal Ivey:

1. Worked on finishing his degree in elementary education at UT

2. Was a student assistant coach on the Texas bench

Cory Joseph:  Traveled the world while playing for Team Canada

Avery Bradley: Played in the pro-am games and the Impact League in Las Vegas

So all in all, not a bad way to spend time for some of the Longhorns we know. And it explains why you may have seen them out and about in Austin. But that time has come to an end and it’s now time to get ready for some NBA. It’s great news for sports fans and even better news if you’re a Dallas Mavericks fan, because that banner can finally be raised. Bad news if you enjoyed seeing your favorite NBA players at your neighborhood coffee shop or at the grocery store, but it’s certainly been nice to see some familiar faces around town in the meantime.

November Bird Forecast

November 28th, 2011 at 3:19 pm by under Weather

Here’s the Central Texas bird forecast for the month, courtesy of Travis Audubon. Learn more about Central Texas birds and bird-related events for all ages at or by calling 512-300-BIRD.
Cold fronts mean the arrival of our winter birds, including the little dynamo the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, the chipper American Goldfinch and ducks of all sorts.
Kinglets are tiny, hoppy songbirds that constantly flip their wings. They’re a rather drab olive color, with some black and white stripes on their wings. The male has a red crown, but he displays it only rarely. They spend their summers in the Northwest and Canada and they winter throughout the South, up the Eastern Seaboard and down into Mexico. Here in Texas their long, bubbly and very loud summer songs are replaced with a staccato “di dit,” “che dit” or an extended series of “chet chet chet,” which sounds like miniature machine guns. 
Ruby-crowned kinglets spend most of their time up in the treetops eating spiders and other bugs off of foliage. They will occasionally eat berries, like those of American beautyberry and native lantana. You may see them come to your suet feeder during very cold weather.  

Owl romance

Great Horned Owls are duetting now ahead of nesting/egg-laying. Listen for hoots, especially in the hour after dusk, and then again before sunrise. The male has a deeper voice than the female, and they may call back and forth in a duet for up to an hour. The hooting broadcasts to other owls that their territory is off limits. 

With more cooler days and cold nights finally upon us, the birds are in need of more energy than ever. Stock up those bird feeders with seed and suet.

If you don’t want to bother with feeders, fall is a good time to plant bird-friendly trees – look for the “bird-friendly urban habitat” link at Be a lazy gardener and resist the urge to cut your plants back quite yet.  Seed heads will keep your goldfinches happy, and stems and leaves can provide shelter for insects that chickadees and kinglets will enjoy.

Connect with Travis Audubon!

Travis Audubon is on Twitter and Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @TravisAudubon and like us at
–Compiled by Travis Audubon volunteers Raeanne Martinez and Jane Tillman

“Operation Turkey”

November 28th, 2011 at 1:24 pm by under Photo/Video

Thanksgiving Day was my scheduled day to work. I admit, while driving in Thursday morning, I couldn’t help but think of my family spending Thanksgiving without me at home. Nevertheless, I proceeded on to work. My first assignment of the day was to go up to North Austin to shoot this event called “Operation Turkey.” Some of you might have heard about this but for those of you who haven’t, it is for a great cause. Through various sponsors and volunteers the Bikini Sports and Bar Grill host this annual event to prepare Thanksgiving meals for the less fortunate. When I arrived, I was amazed at the turnout. Thousands of people were there standing in line waiting to deliver meals to needy Austinites. Seeing this, reminded me of how very fortunate and blessed I am to have my family, and it is also a reminder that things can happen at a drop of hat, and your life is not to be taken for granted.

Operation Turkey

Preparing for tonight

November 27th, 2011 at 9:41 am by under Weather

After a windy weekend, high pressure is going to move back into our backyards later today.  This means the winds will relax, but this is going to set us up for a very chilly night tonight.  Low temps will push to near freezing in Austin, with areas away from the city dipping below freezing tonight.  We could see temps in the upper 20s tonight for several hours across the Hill Country and in low lying areas closer to Austin.   Because of this, there is a Hard Freeze Warning issued for the Hill Country, and a Freeze Warning is in effect for the rest of us.  It is a good time to think about how we will all be prepared tonight, especially remembering the 3-p’s!

First off the pets… just like us, Fido and Fluffy don’t like being stuck outside when temps dip below freezing, and just like us, it can be dangerous for them.  The best idea is to bring them indoors tonight and keep them warm.  Also, we have to remember to take care of the temperature sensitive plants.  If you have them in pots, its not a bad idea to bring them indoors, maybe a garage, or at least move them close to your house, where it may be a few degrees warmer.  Lastly, do not forget to take care of the pipes.  If you have outdoor exposed pipes, the best bet is to shut off the water from the inside, however, if this is not possible there are steps to prevent a freeze.  First off, make sure to cover any pipe that is exposed outdoors with some sort of insulation.  Foam pipe insulation is available at most hardware stores and is cheap and can prevent a huge repair bill.  Also, make sure to disconnect hoses, and cover up any outdoor faucets.  Again, while at the hardware store, look for foam covers for the faucets.  These will look like an oddly shaped foam bowl and go directly over the faucet and usually cost under $1!   If you can’t find them (which does happen usually during the first cold snap of the season), you can wrap the faucet with towels or blankets to keep it from freezing.

Good luck tonight/tomorrow morning!  Remember to bundle yourself and the kids up tomorrow morning too!


More Saturday rainfall totals

November 26th, 2011 at 3:16 pm by under Weather

From the NWS:

From the CoCoRaHS network of weather volunteers:

1115 AM CST SAT NOV 26 2011

:                                               SNOW   SNOW  WATER
:                                        PCPN   FALL  DEPTH  EQUIV
TX-BRT-12 : MARBLE FALLS 8.6 ESE     *   : 1.80 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-KN-18  : COMFORT 11.5 ENE         *   : 1.59 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-KR-47  : CENTER POINT 1.1 NNE     *   : 1.55 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-BRT-04 : HORSESHOE BAY 1.4 ESE    *   : 1.50 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-MDN-22 : HONDO 6.9 SSE            *   : 1.47 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-KN-39  : BOERNE 13.6 NNE          *   : 1.44 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-CML-21 : SPRING BRANCH 4.1 S      *   : 1.42 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-KN-50  : SISTERDALE 1.7 SE        *   : 1.42 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-BXR-156: LEON VALLEY 1.2 ESE      *   : 1.40 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-CML-20 : CANYON LAKE 9.2 W        *   : 1.40 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-CML-22 : CANYON LAKE 7.2 ESE      *   : 1.40 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-HYS-53 : DRIPPING SPRINGS 4.1 SSW *   : 1.38 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-KN-28  : BOERNE 8.5 NNW           *   : 1.37 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-CML-29 : NEW BRAUNFELS 5.9 NW     *   : 1.36 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-CML-73 : NEW BRAUNFELS 5.7 WNW    *   : 1.35 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-HYS-19 : SAN MARCOS 2.9 WNW       *   : 1.35 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-KR-38  : CENTER POINT 2.4 ESE     *   : 1.35 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-WM-04  : GEORGETOWN 1.3 WNW       *   : 1.35 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-BXR-38 : HELOTES 4.5 WSW          *   : 1.34 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-HYS-54 : WIMBERLEY 5.2 WNW        *   : 1.33 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-CML-02 : SPRING BRANCH 5.1 SSE    *   : 1.31 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-BRT-06 : SPICEWOOD 4.4 NW         *   : 1.29 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-CML-81 : NEW BRAUNFELS 1.5 NNW    *   : 1.28 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-CML-03 : NEW BRAUNFELS 3.1 WNW    *   : 1.27 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-CML-68 : NEW BRAUNFELS 3.2 WNW    *   : 1.27 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-WM-24  : GEORGETOWN 2.5 SSW       *   : 1.27 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-CML-17 : NEW BRAUNFELS 7.9 N      *   : 1.26 /  MM /   MM /   MM


Wet start, windy finish to Saturday

November 26th, 2011 at 10:05 am by under Weather

Thank you Mother Nature for another round of well needed rain!    So far we have picked up a little more than 1 inch of rain here in Austin.    Most folks picked up between 0.5″-1.5″ of rain overnight, with the heaviest of the rain pushing well off to the east now.  Believe it or not, we are actually in a surplus of rain for the month of November as of right now.  We should finish the month near normal for rainfall, which is a nice change.

There is a strong frontal boundary that will push through this afternoon, and it will start to clear things out.  The big thing most folks will notice is the strong winds that will pick up later this afternoon.  In fact the entire area (shaded in brown) is under a wind advisory today as north/northwest winds will pick up anywhere from 20-30 mph with some gusts pushing near 40 later today.

Tonight is going to be quite chilly too as the colder air mass settles in, overnight lows will dip to the upper 30′s here in the city, but when you factor in the winds, wind chill values could dip into the upper 20s, brrrr!  Bundle up tonight/tomorrow morning.   The really cold temps look to arrive Monday morning as we will have clear skies, almost no wind, and very dry air.  We could see a hard freeze across parts of the Hill Country.


Wet, then colder weather this holiday weekend

November 25th, 2011 at 8:51 pm by under Weather

After unseasonably warm weather Thanksgiving Day and Friday, an abrupt change in the weather pattern is forecast for the rest of our holiday weekend.

An upper level storm system and strong cold front will combine to bring a good chance of rain to our area early Saturday.  The rain will be followed by gusty north winds and colder weather for the remainder of the holiday weekend.

If you have travel plans this weekend CLICK HERE for a clickable map that will provide you with a detailed weather forecast for any location in the U.S.

Here is the latest information about our changing local weather from the National Weather Service.

Click for latest Composite Reflectivity radar image from the Austin/San Antonio, TX radar and current weather warnings

Showers will end from the west Saturday afternoon. It will become windy and cooler with highs in the 60s to near 70. Northerly winds of 15 to 25 mph will prevail…with gusts up 35 mph possible.

Clear skies and decreasing winds behind the cold front will cause temperatures to drop rapidly Saturday evening leading to lows around 30 to the lower 30s in the Hill Country and mid to upper 30s across South Central Texas. Even though skies will be sunny on Sunday… temperatures will remain below average. Highs will range from near 60 in the Hill Country to the mid 60s across parts of South Central Texas. Northerly winds of 5 to 15 mph will prevail.