2011 had it’s share of weather extremes both nationally and locally and to see a synopsis of what we dealt with, as a country, see the following post from the National Weather Service…
…but to remember 2011, you might think it was all about heat, and for better part of 2011, it was, but we can’t forget how quiet and then abrupt our weather became, as our year started.
Back in January, we saw temperatures pretty much normal for the season with some days a little colder than others, but on the last day of January, we saw a temperature of 78 degrees… and then a blast of Arctic air invaded Texas and not only brought snow, but also brought temperatures down to the teens and twenties. From February 1st where temperatures dropped to 19 degrees, that night, to the 2nd when temperatures never reached higher than 26 degrees and the next day when they only reached 28, we started out with some record-breaking cold. True to Texas form, in a week, we saw temperatures back into the 70s as if our recent cold weather had never occurred.
March ushered in warmer than normal temperatures which reached into the 70s and 80s and by April, we were already seeing temperatures in the 90′s and little did we know, that the most blistering heat was just around the corner for Summer.
May 25th was our first day to reach 100 degrees and by June 21st, we had already witnessed 17 days out of 27 with 100+ degree days… and it only got worse. From June 30th to September 4th, we only saw 4 days below 100 degrees and by September 29th, and a record-breaking 101 that day, we had experienced 90 days with 100 degree days… a new record for Camp Mabry and Central Texas.
On October 23rd, we saw our last 90 degree day and that set our record for 90+ degree days at 164. Although we didn’t see any more 90 degree days for the rest of the year, we did see quite a few days with 80+ degree weather and cooler weather took it’s time arriving.
Another painful part of our 2011 weather was the Texas Drought which was hard not to notice with area lakes dropping to rare levels only experienced worse back in the 1940′s and 50′s. According to the Lower Colorado River Authority(LCRA), website…
During the Drought of Record, Lake Travis dropped to an all-time low elevation of 614.2 feet msl in August 1951; Lake Buchanan dropped to 983.7 feet msl in September 1952. During the 2008-2009 drought, Lake Travis dropped to 629.83 msl and Lake Buchanan dropped to 989.86 msl.
..as of this blog post, Lake Travis stands at 626.56 feet and Lake Buchanan stands at 988.41 feet above MSL (Mean Sea Level).
With no significant change in our weather patterns in sight, experts believe that our drought will continue to present Central Texas residents with a continued need to conserve water.
As we end 2011, we have seen extreme cold, extreme heat and extreme drought and it is a reminder that as we begin 2012, we need to be conscious of how we consume water, electricity and treat our part of Texas, so that we can continue to enjoy it and ensure it is available for our children and grandchildren to enjoy as well.