February, 2012

Flash flooding possible tonight

February 17th, 2012 at 2:40 pm by under Weather

FLOOD WATCH
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
FRI FEB 17 2012

...FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT THROUGH SATURDAY
MORNING...

.A STRONG UPPER LEVEL STORM SYSTEM OVER NORTHERN MEXICO NEAR THE
BIG BEND THIS EVENING WILL MOVE ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS ON
SATURDAY MORNING AND TO EASTERN TEXAS LATE IN THE DAY ON SATURDAY.
AT THE SAME TIME...A SURFACE LOW WILL DEVELOP NEAR THE TEXAS
COASTAL BEND AND MOVE EAST ALONG THE GULF COAST. THESE FEATURES...
ALONG WITH AN UNSEASONABLY MOIST AIRMASS...WILL PRODUCE LOCALLY
HEAVY RAINS ACROSS THE EASTERN PARTS OF SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS.
WITH SOILS REMAINING MOSTLY SATURATED FROM THE WINTER RAINS...
RUNOFF WILL BE RAPID LEADING TO FLASH FLOODING.

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Above normal winter rain accumulations

February 17th, 2012 at 8:43 am by under Weather

Scattered showers developed overnight into Friday morning over Central Texas. As they move north, we’ve seen light accumulations. As of 8 a.m. at Camp Mabry in Austin, we saw 0.13″ of rain.

This is just the latest rain event in a series of rain making systems traversing Texas this winter. We’ve seen more rain than normal according to the latest amounts put out by the National Weather Service.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
817 PM CST THU FEB 16 2012

...DECEMBER 2011 TO FEBRUARY 15 2012 RAIN RELATIVE TO THE 30 YEAR
1981 TO 2010 NORMAL AND RECORD RAINFALL FROM DECEMBER TO FEBRUARY...

THE TREND OF MORE RAIN BEGAN DEVELOPING IN SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER OF
2011 AND HAS CONTINUED FROM DECEMBER 2011 TO FEBRUARY 15...2012.
MORE RAIN WILL COME TONIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY.

THE TABLE BELOW LISTS RAINFALL FROM DECEMBER 1...2011 TO
FEBRUARY 15...2012 AT AUSTIN...DEL RIO...AND SAN ANTONIO...
AND COMPARES THIS TO THE NORMAL AND RECORD AMOUNTS OF RAIN
FROM DECEMBER TO FEBRUARY.

LOCATION            DEC 2011 TO   1981-2010    DEC TO FEB RECORD
                    FEB 15 2012   DEC TO FEB       RAINFALL
                    RAINFALL      NORMAL

AUSTIN BERGSTROM...14.31 INCHES    6.85     24.53 DEC 1991 TO FEB 1992
AUSTIN MABRY.......10.33 INCHES    6.64     25.55 DEC 1991 TO FEB 1992
DEL RIO.............1.98 INCHES    2.25      9.99 DEC 1948 TO FEB 1949
SAN ANTONIO........10.17 INCHES    5.46     25.97 DEC 1991 TO FEB 1992

FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY ALONE...RAINFALL IS ABOVE THE 1981 TO 2010
30 YEAR NORMAL FOR FEBRUARY AT AUSTIN BERGSTROM AND SAN ANTONIO.
THE TABLE BELOW LISTS RAINFALL FROM FEBRUARY 1 TO 15...2012 AND
COMPARES THIS TO THE LATEST 30 YEAR NORMAL AND FEBRUARY RECORD
RAINFALL.

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Hey kids, one more week to enter the Flood Safety Poster Contest!

February 16th, 2012 at 3:22 pm by under Weather

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

Rules:

• 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper in landscape orientation.
• Shows the dangers of driving through flood waters.
• Either “Save Yourself! Turn Around – Don’t Drown” or “¡Sálvese! Es mejor regresarse que ahogarse” should be the headline.
• Brightly colored.
• Due Feb. 24, 2012 (in our hands, not post-marked).

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Drought still terrible, but improvement now forecast

February 16th, 2012 at 2:30 pm by under Weather

For the first time since the fall of 2010, improvement in our drought is now officially forecast.  Today’s update from NOAA’ drought agencies indicates that improving conditions are expected from now through the end of May.

Graphics and complete details are below:

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
155 PM CST THU FEB 16 2012

...ALL OF SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS...THE HILL COUNTRY AND RIO
GRANDE PLAINS REMAIN IN MODERATE TO EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT
STATUS...

SYNOPSIS...
DROUGHT CONTINUES TO PLAGUE ALL OF SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS...
BUT RECENT RAINFALL AND RAINFALL FROM THE LAST TWO MONTHS
CONTINUES TO ELIMINATE MANY OF THE SHORT TERM DROUGHT IMPACTS.
MOST LOCATIONS WILL LIKELY SEE ABOVE NORMAL RAINFALL FOR
FEBRUARY.

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More rain coming Friday/Saturday

February 16th, 2012 at 2:23 pm by under Weather

Be sure to join us on KXAN News at 5, 6, and 10 p.m.  (9 p.m. on KNVA) tonight . We’ll be bringing you the latest model projections for the impressive storm system heading toward Texas. Right now, it looks like 1-2 inches of rain may fall in many areas.  Here’s the latest information from the National Weather Service:


A vigorous upper level storm system will move across Southern Texas Friday Night into Saturday. The heaviest rain is expected Friday Night into early Saturday Morning as a frontal wave moves across the Texas Coastal Bend. Strong thunderstorms with small hail and locally heavy rains are expected…mainly along and east of a Carrizo Springs to San Antonio to Austin line. The rains will end from west to east later on Saturday as the system moves into Eastern Texas.

This winter a lot different than last year

February 16th, 2012 at 11:32 am by under Weather

This winter is shaping up to be vastly different from last year. Just check out the difference in the snow pack from last year to this year!

Difference in snow depth from 2011 to 2012 as of December 31 (Courtesy: NOAA)

Difference in snow depth from 2011 to 2012 as of February 7. (Courtesy: NOAA)

From NOAA’s ClimateWatch magazine:

People in the Midwest and Northeast who recall last year’s fierce winter might be feeling thankful that their shovels have not seen as much action this season. But for others, the lack of snow is causing major problems. Around the country, the bare ground is to blame for winter festival cancellations, bummed-out winter sport enthusiasts, and more seriously, challenging times for ski resort managers and other people whose livelihoods depend on the arrival of snow.

The maps above show estimated snow depth across the United States as of December 31, 2011, and again on February 7, 2012, compared to conditions on those same dates the previous winter. Places where snow depth was up to 40 inches deeper this year are blue, while places where snow depth was up to 40 inches less than last year are gold. Dark grey represents locations where there was no difference in snow depth between the two years, including places that had no snow either year.

Snowfall during the early winter months of 2010-2011 vastly exceeded this season’s snowfall throughout much of the continental United States. By December 31, the differences appeared most significant on the snow-deficient peaks of the mountain ranges out West, and the Appalachian Mountains in the East. A few spots of faint blue point out the few places in the southern Rocky Mountains and upper Texas that had seen more snow by New Year’s Eve 2011 than they had in 2010.

Winter seemed to finally kick into gear by January and early February, at least in the West. By February 7, the Cascades and the northern Rocky Mountains picked up enough snow to put them above last year’s levels for this point in the season, but storms continued to generally pass north of California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. Over this past weekend, a record-breaking snowstorm struck Colorado, indicated by the wide track of blue covering parts of Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska on the February map above.

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Skywarn spotter training at Weatherfest Feb. 25th

February 15th, 2012 at 8:42 pm by under Weather

The Skywarn spotter training session that was originally scheduled in Austin February 18th has been moved to February 25th, and will now be part of “WeatherFest” at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Details below.


TornadoWeatherFest
Saturday, February 25, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Get blown away by Texas Severe Weather Awareness Week at the Museum with a full day of weather science and fun for the whole family.

Get an upclose look at some of the world’s most dramatic natural events and the science behind them during a free screening of Hurricane on the Bayou in the IMAX® Theatre. Learn about the science behind predicting the weather and experiences in the field from a local meteorologist.* Test your ability to predict and survive severe weather with activities presented by Girlstart, emergency preparedness teams, and more.

Finally, don’t miss the Museum’s original multimedia presentation in the Texas Spirit Theater, Wild Texas Weather, which explores the fascinating phenomenon of tumultuous weather in the Lone Star State, both past and present.

*Teachers may earn CPE hours by attending the meteorology lecture.

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 2012 Skywarn Training Schedule

The Austin-San Antonio National Weather Service Office offers Skywarn severe weather training throughout year. Most Skywarn trainings are conducted in the Spring to coincide with severe weather season and allow citizens, first responders, emergency management, amateur radio operators, and volunteer organizations the opportunity to learn about severe weather preparedness and safety. Published trainings are all open to the general public.After training is complete, usually 1.5 hours for the BASIC training, you will be an official weather spotter for the National Weather Service. The National Weather Service will count on you to be our “eyes” out in the field, when trying to verify severe weather across South Central Texas. With 33 counties under the jurisdiction of the Austin-San Antonio National Weather Service, it becomes very important to verify and accurately determine where severe weather is occurring. Real time reports to our office can save lives and property. Post storm reports can help help us find severe weather damage, tornado tracks, and verify severe weather warnings.Skywarn training is now also offered online. This online training can be found at https://www.meted.ucar.edu/training_course.php?id=23. This online training should only be used to supplement what is taught at a local NWS Skywarn training. Attendance at a local NWS Skywarn training is highly encouraged. Besides learning about severe weather topics specific to South Central Texas, procedures for reporting severe weather to the local Austin-San Antonio National Weather Service Office are also covered.
Please join us at one of the below scheduled trainings. Additional trainings will be added to this site. If you would like the NWS to schedule a training in your area or schedule for a specific group, please contact Paul Yura, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, at 830-629-0130 ext 223 or email paul.yura@noaa.govTrainings in BOLD include both the BASIC and ADVANCED Skywarn training.

Check this schedule often, trainings will be added throughout the Spring

February
Day City Time Location
18 Austin Cancelled UT Pickle Research Campus – North Austin
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Austin Skywarn at the UT Pickle Center has been cancelled. Additional Skywarn training will be scheduled in the Austin and surrounding area this Spring. Look for dates to be added over the next several weeks.
21 Austin 6:30 – 8:30 pm Austin Community College, South Austin Campus, 1820 West Stassney Lane, multipurpose room, 1st floor
23 Johnson City 7:00 – 9:00 pm Blanco County Annex Building, 101 East Cypress Street
25 Austin       Basic
Advanced
10:00 – 11:30 am
12:30 – 2:00 pm
Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave.
Two Sessions! Morning is a basic session, afternoon is advanced
27 Pearsall 7:00 – 9:00 pm Pearsall Lions Club, 433 CR 1056 (Horizon Dr)
March
Day City Time Location
1 Hondo 6:00 – 8:00 pm South Texas Regional Training Center, 402 Carter, at Avenue Y
3 San Antonio 8 am – 4 pm Witte Museum
More details and registration at….http://www.texasstorms.org
5 Rocksprings 6:00 – 8:00 pm Court House Annex Court Room, 101 E. Main
8 Willow City 7:00 – 9:00 pm Willow City Fire Station, 2553 Ranch Road 1323
22 La Vernia 6:30 – 8:30 pm La Vernia Primary Auditorium, FM 1346
26 Halletsville 6:30 – 8:30 pm Lavaca County Courthouse, 109 N. La Grange St.
28 San Marcos 6:30 – 8:30 pm San Marcos Activity Center, 501 E. Hopkins Room #2
April
Day City Time Location
7 Cedar Park 9:00 – Noon Cypress Creek ACC Campus, 1555 Cypress Creek Road, Building 1000, Rm 1102
17 Round Rock 6:30 – 8:30 pm Jester Annex Building, 1801 East Old Settlers Blvd
19 Taylor 6:00 – 8:00 pm Taylor Library, 801 Vance

San Marcos lifts stage 1 water restrictions

February 14th, 2012 at 4:33 pm by under Weather

For the first time in 10 months, San Marcos and the San Antonio Pool of the Edwards Aquifer will move out of the Stage 1 critical management period – with a cautionary note to citizens that without additional rainfall, pumping and watering restrictions could return soon.

 San Marcos Public Services Director Tom Taggart announced Monday that the City is lifting Stage 1 watering restrictions following action by the Edwards Aquifer Authority to declare the region out of the Stage 1 critical period. The management rules are based on aquifer levels as measured in the San Antonio index well.

 He recognized the sacrifices the public was called upon to make while the drought period stretched out and deepened.   

 ” The efforts of our citizens to conserve water were very visibly reflected in our pumpage amounts throughout the summer,” Taggart said. “they did a great job of lowering the peaks and pumping curve.” 

 With Stage 1 lifted, San Marcos residents will return to year-round watering rules, which still limit outdoor watering for the community.

 Year-round rules prohibit wasting water or outdoor watering with sprinklers between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. However, residents many water on any day before or after those restricted hours.

 Other year-round rules provide:

  • ·        Watering with hand-held buckets, hand-held hose or drip irrigation is allowed any time.
  • ·        Charity car washes are prohibited unless at certified car wash businesses
  • ·        Use of  positive shut-off valves on hoses
  • ·        Normal use of swimming pools, though covering pools when not in use is recommended
  • ·        Non-recirculating decorative water features are prohibited
  • ·        Washing paved (impervious) surfaces is allowed as required for health and safety purposes.

 The EAA lifted Stage 1 regional restrictions after the index well in San Antonio recorded a 10-day average aquifer reading above 660-feet above mean seal level on Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 for the first time since April 2011.

 The drought has brought the City’s drought response rules to the City Council for discussion twice in recent months and will come back for consideration of possible amendments in the coming weeks.


Backyard Bird Count

February 14th, 2012 at 12:01 pm by under Weather

Our partners at Earth Gauge need your help!

Common Poorwill, Allan Sander, CA, 2011 (Courtesy: GBBC)

The 2012 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) takes place from Friday, February 17 through Monday, February 22. Each year, volunteers across the country tally the birds they see in backyards, parks and natural areas. Last year, GBBC participants racked up more than 11 million observations and identified 596 species! Counting birds during GBBC helps scientists gain a snapshot of how winter bird populations are changing across North America over the years by documenting things like:

  • Rare sightings: In 2011, a Brown Shrike was spotted in California, far from its home in Asia. A Swainson’s Thrush, which usually winters in Central and South America, was reported in North Carolina.
  • Population changes: American Crow numbers fell after being hard hit by West Nile virus in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but recent GBBC data shows that the population may be rebounding. Future data will help scientists determine if the crow population is really recovering.
  • Spread of invasive species: The Eurasian Collared-Dove is an invasive species that was introduced in Florida in the 1980s and has expanded its range ever since. In 1999, the dove’s range covered eight states. In 2011, it had expanded to 40 states, including Alaska – its most northerly reach yet.

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Category 4 Cyclone Giovanna Batters Madagascar

February 13th, 2012 at 4:16 pm by under Weather

http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/goes/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/120213_giovanna_ir_ascat_anim.gif

(Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) University of Wisconsin – Madison)

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(Courtesy: Dr. Jeff Masters – Weather Underground)

Earth’s most dangerous storm of 2012 is Tropical Cyclone Giovanna, which is bearing down on Madagascar as a powerful Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds. Giovanna is predicted to hit a heavily populated portion of the east coast of the island near 22 GMT tonight as a Category 3 storm, then move inland, passing near the capital of Antananarivo as a Category 1 storm on Tuesday morning. The outer spiral bands of the storm have already moved over the island, bringing heavy rains and gusty winds.


Figure 1. Visible image from NASA’s Terra satellite of Tropical Cyclone Giovanna approaching Madagascar, taken at 6:35 UTC Monday February 13, 2012. At the time, Giovanna was a Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.

The forecast: not good
Recent microwave satellite imagery (Figure 3) shows that Giovanna has concentric eyewalls, and it likely that the inner eyewall will collapse today as the storm undergoes an eyewall replacement cycle. (more…)