June, 2012

Drought worsens in Central Texas

June 29th, 2012 at 8:07 am by under Weather

For the second week in a row, our drought situation has worsened. We’re behind more than four inches of rain for the month at Camp Mabry. Only 0.06″ of rain has fallen in Austin.

Extreme drought has returned in northern Williamson County. Severe drought covers Travis County, including the City of Austin.

 

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
108 PM CDT THU JUN 28 2012

...SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS...THE HILL COUNTRY AND RIO GRANDE
PLAINS REMAIN IN ABNORMALLY DRY TO SEVERE DROUGHT STATUS...

SYNOPSIS...
ON AVERAGE JUNE IS THE WETTEST MONTH OF THE YEAR...BUT JUNE 2012
HAS BEEN VERY DRY. SPOTTY SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS HAVE BEEN
OBSERVED ACROSS THE REGION DURING THE LAST WEEK IN ASSOCIATION
WITH UPPER LEVEL DISTURBANCES THAT HAVE MOVED INLAND FROM THE GULF
OF MEXICO. LONG RANGE OUTLOOKS ARE CURRENTLY TRENDING TOWARDS NEAR
NORMAL RAINFALL FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS.

THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER (CPC) IS CALLING FOR AN ENSO (EL
NINO SOUTHERN OSCILLATION) NEUTRAL PATTERN FROM NOW INTO LATE
SUMMER. A WEAK EL NINO IS FORECAST TO BEGIN TO DEVELOP BY LATE
SUMMER AND CONTINUE INTO THE FALL AND WINTER. WITH AN ENSO
NEUTRAL PATTERN EXPECTED WE SHOULD CONTINUE TO SEE A MORE TYPICAL
RAINFALL PATTERN.

THE US DROUGHT MONITOR (USDM) VALID JUNE 26TH AND ISSUED ON JUNE
28TH SHOWED DROUGHT CONDITIONS HAVE GOTTEN WORSE DUE TO THE LACK
OF RAINFALL. THE REGION IS CURRENTLY IN MODERATE (D1) TO EXTREME
(D3) DROUGHT STATUS. LOCATIONS ALONG AND TO THE WEST OF I-35 ARE
NOW IN SEVERE (D2) DROUGHT STATUS. MOST OF WILLIAMSON COUNTY IS
NOW BACK INTO EXTREME (D3) DROUGHT STATUS. WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT
RAINFALL...DROUGHT CONDITIONS WILL GET WORSE.

CURRENTLY 73 PERCENT OF THE STATE IS IN MODERATE DROUGHT (D1)
TO EXTREME DROUGHT (D3). CURRENTLY NONE OF THE STATE IS IN
EXCEPTIONAL (D4) DROUGHT STATUS.

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Lightning safety awareness week

June 28th, 2012 at 12:11 pm by under Weather

This is lightning safety awareness week. While there have been few thunderstorms in Central Texas this month, it’s a good information to go over. July is actually the deadliest month when it comes to lightning fatalities.

From NOAA:

This week, NOAA’s National Weather Service took its lightning safety message to the “lightning capital of the country” – Tampa, Fla., a city with more lightning strikes than any other in the nation. As the agency launched its annual lightning safety awareness campaign tomorrow, it reminds people when outdoors for work or play to go inside at the first sound of thunder.

“The message of this campaign is simple: If you can hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you – go indoors immediately,” said Donna Franklin, National Weather Service lightning campaign manager. “It’s tragic when people die because they stayed on the water fishing or on the golf course one minute longer than they should have. Being a victim of a lightning strike is a preventable tragedy that the National Weather Service is determined to stop as part of our efforts to build a Weather-Ready Nation.”

Working with partners, NOAA’s National Weather Service is building a Weather-Ready Nation to support community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather.

Lightning kills 54 people per year in the United States on average, but it strikes hundreds more who are often left with life-long debilitating injuries. The U.S. has seen four lightning deaths so far this year, all male, with three struck while fishing. About 80 percent of lightning victims are male, and about 60 percent of victims are struck when participating in sports or leisure activities.

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Record heat continues!!

June 27th, 2012 at 9:35 pm by under Weather

 

 

Today we broke another record high temperature at Camp Mabry, and tied a record out at the airport (ABIA).   The 106 we hit at Mabry broke a record that was set back in 1980 at 105 degrees and hit again in 2009.  The 104 at ABIA tied a record set back in 1980.  This record breaking heat seems more and more to be the norm in our area as many records have fallen this year and in the past few years.  Below is a list of the record high temps recorded at Mabry for each month of the year.

Month Record Temp Year
Jan 90 1971
Feb 99 1996
Mar 98 1971
Apr 99 2006
May 104 1925
Jun 109 2012
Jul 109 1954
Aug 112 2011
Sep 112 2000
Oct 100 1938
Nov 91 2006/1951
Dec 90 1955

 

Looking at the list you will notice 6 of the 12 monthly high temps have occurred in the past 16 years.   Also, the high temp of 109 yesterday wasn’t just crazy hot for June, but for any time of the year here in Austin.  In fact, there have only been 5 other days that have been hotter than yesterday here in Austin, and all of them have occurred since 2000!

Temp Date
112 9/5/2000
112 8/28/2011
110 9/4/2000
110 8/27/2011
110 9/4/2000
109 6/26/2012


Over the next 7 days I am not forecasting any more record temps, but we are going to be within a few degrees of the record high most of the next 7 days.  Make sure to remember safety in the heat, lots of fluids, frequent breaks, light weight light colored clothing.  Of course if you have elderly family and friends its always a good idea to help them out, especially with anything that will take them out in the heat.  Children also need to avoid prolonged exposure to the heat.


Tuesday’s heat breaks records

June 27th, 2012 at 7:29 am by under Weather

Temperatures Tuesday climbed to record-breaking heights. We topped out at 109 at Camp Mabry. That broke the record for the day, but also for the month of June.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
715 AM CDT WED JUN 27 2012

...RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS ON TUESDAY...

STRONG HIGH PRESSURE CENTERED OVER THE CENTRAL PLAINS HAS PROVIDED
SUBSIDENCE AND DRY AIR ACROSS TEXAS FOR SEVERAL DAYS NOW. THE
SUBSIDING AIR AND LACK OF DEEP MOISTURE LIMITS THE FORMATION OF
CLOUDS. THE LACK OF CLOUD COVER AND DRIER AIR ALLOWS TEMPERATURES
TO SOAR VERY QUICKLY.

AUSTIN MABRY..109 DEGREES
       RECORD FOR JUNE 26
       HOTTEST TEMPERATURE EVER RECORDED IN JUNE
       PREVIOUS HOTTEST RECORD WAS 108 DEGREES ON 06/14/1998
       ALL TIME HOTTEST DAY...112 DEGREES SET ON 09/5/2000

AUSTIN BERGSTROM INTERNATIONAL...106 DEGREES
       RECORD FOR JUNE 26
       3RD HIGHEST TEMPERATURE FOR JUNE
       HOTTEST JUNE DAY...109 DEGREES ON 06/14/1998
       2ND HOTTEST JUNE DAY...107 DEGREES ON 06/25/2009
       ALL TIME HOTTEST DAY...112 DEGREES SET ON 09/05/2000

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Beat the heat at Lake Travis!

June 26th, 2012 at 11:34 pm by under Weather

While this summer won’t end up breaking every major heat record like last year, one major record did fall Tuesday. The high of 109 at Camp Mabry was the hottest temperature ever recorded in the month of June (Click here for more about Tuesday’s heat).  And, when it’s this hot, places like Barton Springs Pool, or Lake Travis become very attractive.

   And while we’re on the topic of Lake Travis, I want to thank a wonderful group of employees at Austin Boats and Motors and Flowers by Nancy, Too, for the very nice card and really beautiful flower arrangement I received Tuesday.

They wrote to thank me for keeping the businesses around Lake Travis in mind when we report Lake Travis water levels.

Too often, media reports about the dropping level of Lake Travis give the impression that the lake is almost empty.  But, the reality is, that is far from true. While our viewers ask us to keep them updated daily on lake information, we make it a point to regularly inform our audience that there is still plenty of water in the lake for whatever recreational activities they enjoy.

Even when the lake reached a 47 year low back in January, it was still a huge lake, with plenty of water for boating, swimming, and other recreational purposes. And, with the winter and early spring rains, the lake is even higher now, back to about 50% full.

Yes, you might have to wait a little longer to put your boat in the water due to the reduced number of boat ramps, but it’s worth the wait. And, if your boat is already on the lake, or you want to rent a boat, or just relax at a lakeside restaurant, you’ll still find it to be one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a summer day in Central Texas.

So, don’t let those nightly lake level reports (even when they’re dropping a little bit every day) scare you off.  Spend a day at Lake Travis and you’ll see what I mean!


Heat: A Major Killer

June 25th, 2012 at 1:30 pm by under Weather

With excessive heat back in our forecast, it’s important to remember the dangers of summertime heat–a major killer.  Here is some comprehensive information from the National Weather Service, FEMA, and American Red Cross:

thermometer icon Heat: A Major Killer

Espanol

Sunset on a hot summer dayHeat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of
fatalities each year. In fact, on average, excessive heat claims more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. In the disastrous heat wave of 1980, more than 1,250 people died. In the heat wave of 1995 more than 700 deaths in the Chicago area were attributed to heat. In August 2003, a record heat wave in Europe claimed an estimated 50,000 lives.

North American summers are hot; most summers see heat waves in one or more parts of the United States. East of the Rockies, they tend to combine both high temperature and high humidity, although some of the worst heat waves have been catastrophically dry. (more…)


Staying safe in this heat

June 25th, 2012 at 12:13 pm by under Weather

Temperatures hit the upper 90s by noon Monday. We’re headed to the triple digits and temperatures could be even warmer Tuesday.

Take extra precautions if you’ll be spending time outdoors. Here are tips from the National Weather Service.

Adult Heat Wave Safety Tips

  • Slow down. Reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day. Children, seniors and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
  • Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
  • Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods, like meat and other proteins that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
  • Drink plenty of water, non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney or liver disease, are on fluid restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. Do not drink alcoholic beverages and limit caffeinated beverages.
  • During excessive heat periods, spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, go to a library, store or other location with air conditioning for part of the day.
  • Don’t get too much sun. Sunburn reduces your body’s ability to dissipate heat.
  • Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.

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Tropical Storm Debby Soaking Florida

June 24th, 2012 at 10:24 pm by under Weather

The 10pm data is out on Tropical Storm Debby, and it is not good news for parts of Florida.  The latest advisory (#7) shows the winds have remained at 60mph, and the movement continues to be stationary.  The storm has had some drier air move into the core, so the majority of the rainfall right n0w is falling over Florida.  Since the storm is over warm Gulf waters, and in a relatively low sheared environment, the system is forecast to moisten up over the next day or two as it slowly drifts northward.  A building ridge to the north is blocking the Tropical Storm from moving much through the day today.  Forecast models keep this ridge blocking the storm from moving much over the next few days, and then as the ridge breaks down, it will allow for some movement to the northeast later in the week.

Below are the forecast model tracks for Debby tonight.  Finally we are seeing a lot more agreement compared to 24 hours ago.

 

The official NHC forecast for Debby is below, and it shows that slow movement to the north over the next few days.

If this forecast does verify, this could mean record amounts of rainfall over the next few days in Florida.  Below is the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center rainfall estimate total for the next 5 days.  If you look at the bulls-eye near the Florida Panhandle…that is right, almost 2 feet(23.7″)!!!


Tropical Storm Debby 10am Update

June 24th, 2012 at 10:19 am by under Weather

The latest update to Tropical Storm Debby shows wind speeds near 60mph, with the movement to the northeast at 6 mph.  The forecast models are continuing to push to the right of the previous runs, and the latest National Hurricane Center forecast reflects this.  Below if the morning hurricane forecast model runs for Debby.  Below that is the 10am update (advisory #5) for Tropical Storm Debby from the NHC.  If this forecast pans out, hot and dry weather will continue for us.


Tropical Storm Debby forms

June 23rd, 2012 at 10:09 pm by under Weather

The latest advisory has been issued (#2) on Tropical Storm Debbie.  The winds are at 50mph with the storm and it is not moving at this time.   The majority of the moisture with Debby is in the eastern half of the storm, pounding the state of Florida with rain.  There have been some Tropical Storm Warnings issued for the northern Gulf coast in Louisiana as the storm is only about 210 miles south.  The official forecast track from the National Hurricane Center has about a day of northerly movement, and then a turn to due west.  If this does pan out, that would take the storm into the Lower Texas Coast late next work week.  However, as you can see below the forecast models are really all over the place on where this storm will go over the next 5 days.  The one thing that is consistent is the northerly movement through tomorrow.  The white line is the official NHC forecast.

The forecast track from the Hurricane Center assumes a ridge to the north will steer the storm mainly west heading through the work week.  The intensity forecast also shows Debby becoming a Category 1 strength hurricane by Tuesday as it enters a more favorable environment with much less wind shear.

Since the path of the storm is still more than 100 hours out from the Texas coast, I have put together some graphics to give you an idea of what to expect from Debby based on the eventual track.

If the storm follows the track above, the impact on us would be very hot and dry weather, with a north to northwesterly dry flow.

The path above shaded in green would produce our best chances of rain and thunderstorms.  This also would bring the threat of heavy rainfall, gusty winds (especially if it becomes a hurricane), and isolated weak tornadoes.

The more southern plot above could produce more of an easterly wind, which would increase our muggy factor, but give us no more than a few isolated showers or a t-storm or two.  Remember Dolly a few years ago?

We will continue to monitor and track this storm throughout the weekend and the work week.  In the short term, temps are going to ramp back up into the 100s, so make sure you drink lots of water, wear that light weight, light colored clothing, and take it east outside.