Feeling a little sneezy, Rio Grande Valley? The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America marked the first day of spring with its 2012 “Allergy Capitals” list of the “most challenging” American cities to live in with spring allergies, and McAllen is ranked second, behind Knoxville, Tennessee.
COLLEGE STATION – Texas agricultural losses due to the 2011 drought reached a record $7.62 billion, making it the most costly drought in history, according to updated totals by Texas AgriLife Extension Service economists.
“2011 was the driest year on record and certainly an infamous year of distinction for the state’s farmers and ranchers,” said Dr. David Anderson, AgriLife Extension livestock economist. “The $7.62 billion mark for 2011 is more than $3.5 billion higher than the 2006 drought loss estimates, which previously was the costliest drought on record. The 2011 losses also represent about 43 percent of the average value of agricultural receipts over the last four years.”
“No one alive has seen single-year drought damage to this extent,” said Dr. Travis Miller, AgriLife Extension agronomist and a member of the Governor’s Drought Preparedness Council. “Texas farmers and ranchers are not strangers to drought, but the intensity of the drought, reflected in record high temperatures, record low precipitation, unprecedented winds coupled with duration – all came together to devastate production agriculture.” (more…)
The Highland Lakes finally saw some beneficial rain. Tuesday’s storms dropped between two and five inches of rain in the Hill Country. The LCRA had to start floodgate operations early in the day to push water downstream to Lake Travis. Lake Travis’ elevation has risen nearly six feet since Monday. We have a long way to go, though. It’s still 33 feet behind its typically March elevation.
Now, might be a good time to spend some time out there. The Lower Colorado River Authority is highlighting parks along Lake Travis in their latest Gas Saving Getaways segment.
Turkey Bend and Shaffer Bend recreation areas on Lake Travis offer nearly 1,000 acres for recreation, prime camping and fishing spots and great views of the lake. You can go biking, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and swimming at these LCRA parks. LCRA parks make great economical getaways. So grab your backpack, bike, tackle box, or even your horse – and visit LCRA parks.
Courtesy: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno/NBC Universal
Just call him “Bulldog.” Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, revealed his pick for a Secret Service nickname Tuesday night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. However, Paul told the comedian he had dismissed the opportunity for that extra security, because an “ordinary citizen” should not expect tax payers to ante up.
“You know, you’re having the taxpayers pay to take care of somebody,” Paul said. “I’m an ordinary citizen. I would think I should pay for my own protection. And it costs, I think, more than $50,000 a day to protect those individuals. That’s a lot of money.”
GQ reported this week that both former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum have tapped the Secret Service for protection. Romney’s nickname is “Javelin,” while Santorum goes by “Petrus.”“Bulldog” finished third in Tuesday’s Illinois primary. He currently runs fourth in the pack of four GOP presidential candidates:
A huge, lingering ridge of high pressure over the eastern half of the United States brought summer-like temperatures to North America in March 2012. The warm weather shattered records across the central and eastern United States and much of Canada.
The unseasonable warmth broke temperature records in more than 1,054 locations between March 13–19, as well daily lows in 627 locations, according to Hamweather. Cities as geographically diverse as Chicago, Des Moines, Traverse City (Michigan), Myrtle Beach, Madison (Wisconsin), Atlantic City, New York City, and Duluth, (Minnesota) all broke records for high temperatures in recent days.
The intensity and scope of the heat wave is clearly visible in this map of land surface temperature anomalies. (more…)
The intense thunderstorms have moved east this morning, but not before dropping inches of rain here in Central Texas.
The good news: decent rain amounts fell over the Hill Country and will eventually work its way into the Highland Lakes. The LCRA ran floodgate operations this morning at Starcke and Wirtz dams to help push the water down stream into Lake Travis. Lake Travis’ elevation has risen around two feet since the weekend.
Here are some preliminary rainfall totals for you:
COCORAHS PRECIPITATION REPORTS
THESE REPORTS ARE CONSIDERED SUPPLEMENTAL AND UNOFFICIAL
VALUES ARE FOR THE PREVIOUS 24 HOURS ENDING AROUND 7 AM LOCAL TIME
:COCORAHS PRECIPITATION REPORTS FOR THE LOCAL AREA
: SNOW SNOW WATER
: PCPN FALL DEPTH EQUIV
TX-BRT-01 : BURNET 5.4 NNW * : 4.83 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BRT-34 : MARBLE FALLS 3.4 NW * : 4.78 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BRT-22 : BURNET 1.9 SE * : 4.60 / MM / MM / MM
TX-LL-19 : HORSESHOE BAY 2.7 W * : 4.44 / MM / MM / MM
TX-KR-50 : INGRAM 3.1 NW * : 4.41 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BRT-37 : BURNET 8.2 W * : 4.36 / MM / MM / MM
TX-LL-08 : HORSESHOE BAY 1.9 NNW * : 4.36 / MM / MM / MM
TX-LL-17 : SUNRISE BEACH VILLAGE 0.5* : 4.28 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BRT-05 : MARBLE FALLS 0.7 NW * : 4.17 / MM / MM / MM
TX-GS-03 : HARPER 10.1 SSE * : 4.16 / MM / MM / MM
TX-KR-25 : INGRAM 2.7 W * : 4.13 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BRT-33 : OATMEAL 1.7 WNW * : 4.12 / MM / MM / MM
TX-GS-13 : WILLOW CITY 3.6 WNW * : 4.12 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BRT-13 : HIGHLAND HAVEN 1.3 SW * : 4.01 / MM / MM / MM
TX-KR-17 : KERRVILLE 4.7 SSE * : 3.93 / MM / MM / MM
TX-GP-25 : SEGUIN 5.1 NE * : 3.86 / MM / MM / MM
TX-KR-03 : INGRAM 4.4 NW * : 3.84 / MM / MM / MM
TX-KR-26 : INGRAM 9.5 W * : 3.83 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BLC-10 : JOHNSON CITY 2.2 N * : 3.76 / MM / MM / MM
TX-UV-17 : UTOPIA 2.0 W * : 3.70 / MM / MM / MM
TX-TV-46 : LAGO VISTA 1.4 SSW * : 3.65 / MM / MM / MM
TX-GS-20 : HARPER 3.3 WSW * : 3.62 / MM / MM / MM
TX-LE-05 : LEXINGTON 6.7 S * : 3.62 / MM / MM / MM
TX-GS-21 : FREDERICKSBURG 8.5 N * : 3.61 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BST-20 : BASTROP 1.4 ESE * : 3.60 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BRT-03 : BUCHANAN DAM 7.4 NNE * : 3.57 / MM / MM / MM
TX-GS-06 : KERRVILLE 7.5 N * : 3.56 / MM / MM / MM
TX-KR-15 : INGRAM 8.6 WSW * : 3.55 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BRT-36 : SPICEWOOD 2.2 NW * : 3.52 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BRT-23 : MARBLE FALLS 1.1 S * : 3.50 / MM / MM / MM
TX-WM-17 : TAYLOR 8.5 SE * : 3.50 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BLC-01 : JOHNSON CITY 0.9 NW * : 3.49 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BLC-04 : JOHNSON CITY 7.3 W * : 3.49 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BST-24 : ROSANKY 4.5 N * : 3.42 / MM / MM / MM
TX-WM-22 : LIBERTY HILL 0.6 NNW * : 3.38 / MM / MM / MM
TX-KR-22 : KERRVILLE 2.6 SSW * : 3.36 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BST-17 : WYLDWOOD 8.3 SSW * : 3.35 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BND-29 : BANDERA 4.7 NE * : 3.34 / MM / MM / MM
TX-GP-56 : SEGUIN 5.0 SSE * : 3.34 / MM / MM / MM
TX-TV-53 : AUSTIN 4.2 NW(360&PENNEB)* : 3.34 / MM / MM / MM
TX-KR-39 : KERRVILLE 1.0 E * : 3.32 / MM / MM / MM
TX-TV-07 : LEANDER 7.2 WNW * : 3.32 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BND-02 : VANDERPOOL 1.4 SE * : 3.29 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BST-32 : RED ROCK 5.0 ESE * : 3.29 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BST-46 : BASTROP 4.9 NE * : 3.28 / MM / MM / MM
TX-GP-63 : SEGUIN 13.3 S * : 3.27 / MM / MM / MM
TX-GP-14 : NEW BERLIN 6.7 SE * : 3.26 / MM / MM / MM
TX-GS-24 : WILLOW CITY 0.1 W * : 3.25 / MM / MM / MM
TX-GP-42 : SEGUIN 0.9 SSE * : 3.25 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BLC-16 : JOHNSON CITY 0.7 NNW * : 3.24 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BST-43 : DALE 7.6 N * : 3.24 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BRT-25 : SPICEWOOD 2.5 SW * : 3.23 / MM / MM / MM
TX-BRT-02 : MARBLE FALLS 2.7 SE * : 3.22 / MM / MM / MM
TX-GS-18 : FREDERICKSBURG 12.2 W * : 3.22 / MM / MM / MM
TX-KN-50 : SISTERDALE 1.7 SE * : 3.20 / MM / MM / MM
TX-KN-18 : COMFORT 11.5 ENE * : 3.18 / MM / MM / MM
TX-KN-48 : BLANCO 10.5 W * : 3.18 / MM / MM / MM
TX-KR-07 : KERRVILLE 1.7 ENE * : 3.18 / MM / MM / MM
A strong upper level storm disturbance and surface cold front will move across Texas tonight into Tuesday. This system will interact with a moist airmass across South Central Texas to generate widespread showers and thunderstorms. The cold front will focus thunderstorms over the Edwards Plateau and Hill Country by this evening with the focus shifting east to the I-35 and Highway 281 corridors early Tuesday morning, continuing eastward to the Highway 77 corridor by Tuesday afternoon. Severe thunderstorms with large hail and damaging winds as well as locally heavy rainfall will be possible. Isolated tornadoes could also develop. Average rainfall totals are expected to range from 1/2 to 1 inch in the western counties to between 2 and 5 inches in the eastern counties. Isolated rainfall totals of 5 to 7 inches will be possible along and east of a Cast to Kerrville to Hondo to Pearsall line.
A strong upper level system and associated surface cold front will move across Texas this afternoon through midday Tuesday. An extremely moist atmosphere will produce periods of torrential downpours. The runoff from these heavy downpours will likely lead to flash flooding; mainly along and east of a Castell to Kerrville to Hondo to Pearsall line. Rainfall totals will range from 2 to 5 inches with some isolated totals up to 7 inches. Tuesday morning commuters should exercise extreme caution as low water crossings and some urbanized metro roadways will most likely be flooded.
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
MON MAR 19 2012
...FLASH FLOOD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING THROUGH
LATE TUESDAY MORNING ALONG AND EAST OF A LINE FROM CASTELL TO
KERRVILLE TO HONDO TO PEARSALL...
.A STORM SYSTEM WILL INTERACT WITH HIGH AMOUNTS OF MOISTURE OVER
SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS AND PRODUCE A SIGNIFICANT FLASH FLOOD THREAT
THIS EVENING CONTINUING THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING.
The big upper level low that we have been watching for the past week is moving within range of our area. We will see an increase on Monday of widely scattered showers and a few t-storms. A dryline that has been out in West Texas all weekend will push further east on Monday and some of the showers and t-storms that form ahead of the dryline will push into the Hill Country on Monday. As that upper low gets into the state late tomorrow into Tuesday morning, rain, some of which will be heavy at time, and strong to severe thunderstorms will be possible. Again it is important to remember that if you come across a low water crossing, to turn around and don’t drown. I have seen some pictures from recent flooding and its amazing how water can wash away roadways on some of these low water crossing making them a trap when water is covering them.
Below is our in house computer model forecast for rainfall for the next 48 hours.
Now because of the heavy rainfall in the forecast tomorrow night into Tuesday morning, almost our entire area is under a Flash Flood Watch.
The Storm Prediction Center has also placed our area in the risk of seeing severe weather. This includes the possibility of seeing hail of 1″ diameter or larger, strong gusty winds, and even possibly a weak tornado The image below is the forecast from 7am Monday-7am Tuesday. The hatched area represents a 10% or greater probability of significant severe weather within 25 miles of a point.
This system looks to be quite an impressive rainmaker the next few days. Looking at the 3 day total rainfall outlook from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center and some areas of the plains could see upwards of 8″ of rainfall according to this graphic. You will notice this graphic agrees with our in house model for forecast rainfall estimates in our area with the heaviest rainfall in the northern part of our area, and along I-35.
Heading into next work week, all eyes continue to be on an upper level low that is going to be digging south into Texas, increasing our rain chances. It is also going to increase the chance of seeing thunderstorms, some of which could be severe. The Storm Prediction Center has put our entire area in the risk box for seeing severe weather between 7am Monday through 7am Tuesday. The main threats with this storm system will be isolated areas of heavy rainfall. Also, as the SPC has stated, there will be a possibility of gusty winds with some of the thunderstorms, hail, and even a chance of seeing tornadoes. At this point, I think the tornado chance will be well north of our area, but it will be something we will keep an eye on the next few days into next week. Below is a GFS forecast sounding for early Tuesday morning.
Some of the more interesting indices on this chart are:
PW (precipitable water) = 1.4 Fairly moist
L57(lapse rate from 700mb to 500mb) = 7.6 Conditionally unstable
LI (lifting index) = -6.0 Large instability
TT (total totals index) = 55 widely scattered severe storms
KI (K index) = 33 moderate potential for convection
SW (Severe weather threat index) = 465 tornadic severe storms possible
CAP = 1.8 weak cap
HEL (Helicity) = 263 possible supercells
SHR (shear) = 0.0 weak
EHI (energy helicity index) = 1.4 Supercell potential of upto EF2 tornadoes possible
Also, the winds are veering, or turning clockwise with height, which can be favorable for supercell and tornadic development.
The latest figures from the US Drought Monitor show a slightly improved picture for our area. Below is a map of our area with the data including the weather through Tuesday morning.
The minor improvements from last week came in Central Mason, Central Llano, Northern Burnet, and Western Williamson counties. In these areas the Extreme drought improved a bit to a severe drought. We also saw the area of a moderate drought expand a bit to the east and west and eat up more real estate once covered by a worse, severe drought. We should see some improvement in next week’s drought monitor, and much more improvement in the update in 2 weeks. The reason being is next week’s big rain maker will fall between recording periods for the drought monitor.
Speaking of the next big rain event….. It is looking to be quite a soaker at this point. Now the forecast models are taking the core of the upper low just to the north of us late Monday into Tuesday, and then to the northeast of us Wednesday. If the current track actually falls a bit further south, then we could be in for a lot more rainfall. At this point, given our very moist atmosphere, and plenty of lift associated with the upper low and a Pacific cold front, I wouldn’t be surprised if some people saw more than 3 inches of rainfall by next Wednesday. Also, something we will be watching for, is some strong to possibly severe storms very early Tuesday and into the day Tuesday.
Below is the forecast from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center for the time period of Sunday night at 7pm through Tuesday night at 7pm. Notice the bulls eye over North Texas/South Oklahoma of 5.51″.