July, 2012

This year’s Gulf ‘Dead Zone’ fourth smallest on record

July 31st, 2012 at 10:20 am by under Weather

From NOAA:

Midwest drought brings fourth smallest Gulf of Mexico ‘Dead Zone’ since 1985

NOAA-supported scientists have found the size of this year’s Gulf of Mexico oxygen-free ‘dead zone’ to be the fourth smallest since mapping of the annual hypoxic, or oxygen-free area began in 1985. Measuring approximately 2,889 square miles, the 2012 area is slightly larger than Delaware.

Long-term measured size of the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone (Courtesy: NCOOS)

The survey also found a patchy distribution of hypoxia across the Gulf differing from any previously recorded. This is in stark contrast to last year, when flood conditions, carrying large amounts of nutrients, resulted in a dead zone measuring 6,770 square miles, an area of the state of New Jersey. The last time the dead zone was this small was in 2000 when it measured 1,696 square miles, an area slightly smaller than Delaware.

“The smaller area was expected because of drought conditions and the fact that nutrient output into the Gulf this spring approached near the 80-year record low,” said Nancy Rabalais, Ph.D., executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) who led the survey cruise. “What wasn’t expected was how the scattered distribution of hypoxia areas differed from any others documented in the past. Confirmed, however, is the strong relationship between the size of the hypoxic zone and the amount of fresh water and nutrients carried to the Gulf by the Mississippi River.”

The smallest recorded dead zone to date measured 15 square miles in 1988. The largest dead zone, also called a hypoxic zone, measured to date occurred in 2002 encompassing more than 8,400 square miles. The average size of the dead zone over the past five years has been 5,684 square miles, more than twice the 1,900 square mile goal set by the Gulf of Mexico/Mississippi River Watershed Nutrient Task Force.

Hypoxia is fueled by nutrient runoff from agricultural and other human activities in the Mississippi River watershed, which stimulates an overgrowth of algae that sinks, decomposes and consumes most of the life-giving oxygen supply in bottom waters.

The hypoxic zone off the coast of Louisiana and Texas forms each summer and threatens valuable commercial and recreational Gulf fisheries. In 2010, the dockside value of commercial fisheries in the Gulf was $639 million. More than 4.6 million recreational fishers took an estimated 22 million fishing trips in 2010, further contributing to the Gulf economy.”


Texas Primary: Runoff Races to Watch

July 31st, 2012 at 12:55 am by under Politics

Ted Cruz shakes hands with David Dewhurst at a debate in Dallas. (AP photo)

U.S. Senate – Republican

The last hours before Tuesday’s runoff have, no doubt, been tough for Lt. David Dewhurst’s campaign. A Politico article all but declared Republican rival Ted Cruz the party’s nominee for U.S. Senate, followed by a new survey from Public Policy Polling showing Cruz leading 52-42.

That same poll showed just how far Gov. Rick Perry – one of Dewhurst’s biggest supporters in the primary – has fallen in public opinion since his failed presidential bid. Thirty-five percent of respondents said that endorsement would make them less likely to vote for Dewhurst.

A big name on Cruz’s endorsement list is Sarah Palin. The poll showed 31 percent of voters were more likely to support a candidate if she endorsed him.

Still, runoff elections are often unpredictable. While Cruz has the momentum in this ultra-conservative race, an internal poll from Dewhurst’s campaign shows the lieutenant governor up by five percent – 48-43.

U.S. Senate – Democrat

Former Texas House member Paul Sadler was up against three opponents in the May primary. The man who he ended up facing in the runoff is someone who really made no effort to put together a statewide campaign – Grady Yarbrough, a 75-year-old retired educator.

In a state dominated by Republican politics (they hold every statewide office), the ballot count will be telling in just how many Democrats hope their efforts will lead to a victory in November.

However, with Texas’ growing Hispanic population, some politicos have predicted a shift in Texas politics. But don’t count on it anytime soon.

Texas Senate District 25 – Republican

GOP candidates have been campaigning hard in the last few weeks across this newly redrawn, X-shaped district running from South Austin to North San Antonio, and from Seguin to Boern.

State Sen. Jeff Wentworth faces a challenge from emergency-room physician Donna Campbell. Wentworth has held this seat for almost 20 years, while Campbell recently relocated to New Braunfels to live within the district’s boundaries.

The primary for this position was one of the most brutal in the state. Before May’s Election Day, Wentworth and former Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones were involved heavily in a TV ad war, even a lawsuit.

To the surprise of many, Jones came in third, leaving Campbell to compete in the dead-of-summer runoff – a time when garnering votes is perhaps its most challenging.

Railroad Commission, Place 1 – Republican

Two of three seats on the state’s major regulator of the oil and gas industry are up for the taking. Environmental regulations and tech upgrades have risen to the top of issues in the Railroad Commission race, thus far.

Gov. Rick Perry appointed Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman to a seat vacated when Michael Williams left to run for Congress. Now, Smitherman faces Greg Parker, a Comal County commissioner

Railroad Commission, Place 2 – Republican

If you follow Texas politics, the two people squaring off for another seat on the Railroad Commission should be familiar. Christi Craddick is the daughter of former House Speaker Tom Craddick. She led the primary, followed by longtime state Rep. Warren Chisum.

Craddick, a lawyer, has suggested Chisum’s energy background could be a conflict of interest for the agency. Chisum has been critical of a $300,000 contribution from Tom Craddick to his daughter’s campaign.

Travis County Constable, Precinct 2 – Democrat

One of the nastiest races in Central Texas has strangely played out like a statewide campaign. Travis County Constable Adan Ballesteros faces Michael Cargill in this North Austin rivalry.

A constable is responsible for serving misdemeanor warrants and tasked with a handful of other local civil and criminal duties. However, this battle has largely distracted voters from those items.

So far, the candidates have accused each other of aiding in cocaine trafficking and criminal theft. They have also pointed out previous arrests and plastered negative signs throughout the city.

Texas Supreme Court, Place 4 – Republican

Justice David Medina has a strong challenger in John Devine, a former district judge and congressional candidate. To make matters more difficult for the incumbent, Medina also has a string of recent legal troubles weighing him down ahead of the runoff – including a drunk driving charge (ended in a hung jury) and indictments (eventually dismissed) stemming from a fire at his home in Houston.

Still, a State Bar preference poll showed Texas lawyers would still choose Medina over his opponent. Devine has his own history of arrests at anti-abortion rallies, not to mention he was a judge who pushed placing an image of the Ten Commandments in the courtroom.

The winner of this race will automatically take office in January, since no Democrat filed.

State Board of Education, District 10 – Republican

Two educators face off in this race, both expected to be a good fit for the position in a tough financial time for schools statewide.

Rebecca Osborne is a teacher at McNeil High School in the Round Rock Independent School District. Tom Maynard is a former teacher and member of the Florence school board.

Llano Declares Stage 2 Water Restrictions

July 30th, 2012 at 3:40 pm by under Weather

Due to low flows on the Llano River, and forecasted hot and dry conditions, the City of Llano has ordered Stage 2 Water Restrictions be implemented. Property owners can only water twice per week according to the published schedule, and are not allowed to water during the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Odd numbered addresses may water Wednesday and Saturday; even numbered addresses may water Thursday and Sunday; and commercial or multi-family properties may water Tuesday and Friday. Additional restrictions prohibit the use of water for fountains, wash down of sidewalks, and washing of vehicles except on designated watering days. Violation of the water use restrictions may result in a fine according to the Ordinance.

 The City is also asking residents to use water wisely by keeping irrigation water off sidewalks and out of gutters. “If water is going into the street, it’s not helping your lawn,” added Finley deGraffenried, City Manager. The City’s drought Ordinance is available on line at www.cityofllano.com.


The modern, online musician

July 30th, 2012 at 3:19 pm by under Uncategorized

Austin is the “Live Music Capital of the World”. That’s great! You’re a musician. You love to sing. You know enough songs to fill a two-hour set. Now what?

In the old days, you had to pound the pavement from place to place, just to meet people who MIGHT want to listen to you. First you had to write and record your songs. You had to snail mail (aka. the U.S. Postal Service) your demo tapes to record labels and hope that they like them. If they liked you and actually recorded an album, then you had to use snail mail again to send the albums to as many radio stations as you could afford. Hopefully, they played your song and you were slowly on your way.

Luckily, things are very different today. Yes, there are still record labels, but for many musicians, it’s easier to get started on their own. Technology and the Internet have many tools available to help a musician record, upload and promote their tunes!

The first step is writing the song.  If you’re just beginning, there are some local options. Girl Guitar offers a songwriting class that runs six weeks. If you’re not into the classoom scene, then you might want to check out the Austin Songwriters Group which is in its 25th year of serving Austin songwriters. There’s also a songwriting group on Meetup.com and another on a Facebook Songwriter page.  A songwriting software such as Masterwriter is invaluable. I use it every day.

The second step is finding someplace to play the song. Now I know that some people might want to record it first but I like to actually try it out before I put the effort into recording it. Austin has some great open mic venues and there is a Facebook Austin Open Mic page that lists almost all of them.  Gigmaven is another great source for finding venues to perform at.

Next, you’ll need musicians to play with you. Where do you find them? You can meet some great people at the open mics. But you can also access some amazing networking resouces online.  Musolist  is a website that specializes in locating other musicians. There’s also a Facebook page for people looking for gigs and bandmates

Then it’s on to recording. The traditional route is to sign with a record label and have them pay for the recording.  But, let’s face it, for the most of us, that’s just not going to happen. We’re going to have to find a studio and pay for it ourselves. Luckily, the Austin Texas Business List  has a recording studio page as does the Texas Music Office. Or, as a beginner you could record the songs yourself at home using your own computer. Garage Band is probably the most popular recording software. The down side is that it only works on Macs, iPads and iPhones. There’s also Band In A Box, which I use to get the basics of the song down. Another option is to create a page on a website that allows you to collect payments from fans to help finance your time in the studio. The two that I’ve seen used are Pledgemusic and Kickstarter. The upside of going this route is that YOU get to decide how to spend the money. The down side is that you have to hope that your fans make enough pledges to pay for your project.

Once you have some songs recorded, you need to get them out to the public. Digital is the way to go. Sure, you still want to make physical CDs that you can sell at venues or mail to customers. But, in the meantime, there are several websites that provide platforms to market and sell your music. MuniteCDBabyNumubu and Reverbnation all offer ways to connect with other musicians, producers, studios and, most importantly, the public. You can upload your songs and videos, send invites to people via connections to your Facebook and Twitter pages. 

The Internet has literally brought the entire process into our own homes with so many different ways of reaching out to the masses. It has empowered all aspiring musicians and singers to take control of their careers instead of being dependant on others who might not share the same ideas of how it should be done. 

So at the end of the day, there is no reason for anyone who wants to sing and record their own songs to not pursue their dreams.  I can’t wait to hear some of the songs that come from your dreams! Best of luck!

Weather recap

July 29th, 2012 at 8:46 pm by under Weather

Today we finally got to 100 again.  It has been more than a week since we last hit 1oo (a week ago Saturday), and the forecast is calling for a little mini-streak of 100′s coming up this week.  A big high is going to dominate our weather over the next week, so don’t expect much of anything from the rainfall department.  Typically this is the hottest and driest part of the entire year, so there is nothing terribly uncommon about this.  In fact, if we had not gotten all the good rainfall earlier this month, temps today and the next few days would probably be closer to 105 or higher.  Today was only the 10th day that we hit 100 this year, compared to 45 days by this time last year.  We have also seen a lot more rain than we did by this time last year too.

How about the Atlantic Hurricane season?  It got off to a very quick start, but since has been very quiet.  So far we have had 3 tropical storms, and 1 hurricane this season.  Our first two tropical storms occurred before the official start of the Atlantic Hurricane season, the next two in June, and now 0 (zero) in July.  Last year we had 4 tropical storms by the same point in July, with 3 of them occurring in the last 10 days of July.  Typically hurricane season starts to pick up this time of year.  Look at the chart below from the National Hurricane Center

I found some other interesting information on the Hurricane Center website that shows that historically speaking we are ahead of schedule this hurricane season.  However, I should note the building El Nino should help to keep the forecast for a near normal activity season in check.

Progress of the average Atlantic season (1966-2009). Date upon which the following number of events would normally have occurred.

Number Named systems Hurricanes Category 3 or greater
1 July 9 Aug 10 Sep 4
2 Aug 1 Aug 28 Oct 3
3 Aug 13 Sep 9 -
4 Aug 23 Sep 21 -
5 Aug 31 Oct 7 -
6 Sep 8 Nov 23 -
7 Sep 16 - -
8 Sep 24 - -
9 Oct 4 - -
10 Oct 19 - -
11 Nov 23 - -


Back to our weather at home….. Clearly the heat ridge over our area is going to be impacting our area past the current forecast cycle of the next 7 days.  Below are images from the Climate Prediction Center, which show much above normal temps for much of the country for the next couple of weeks.  Below are the forecast graphics for days 8-14 in the forecast (Monday 8/6 – Sunday 8/12).

Getting hotter, and dustier?

July 28th, 2012 at 9:08 pm by under Weather

July is finishing on a strong note in the temperature department as we look to send the month off on a streak of 100 degree days.  We should feel quite lucky however, at this point we were in the middle of a streak of 27 days in a row of 100+ degree heat from Mid July 2011 to Mid August 2011.  So far for 2012 we have only had 9 days of 100+ degree heat, compared to the 44 we had at this point last year.

Month 2012 2011
May 0 3
June 6 15
Jul (1-28) 3 26
Total 9 44

Through today, the average high temp in July is 95.8, and the average low is 74.1.  The average for the month of July though today is 84.98 or 85.0 when rounded which makes our monthly departure from normal 0.0   Which means July 2012 has been completely normal.  However, with a trio of warm days left in the month, we will probably finish the month 0.1-0.2 degrees above normal.  For the record, July 2011 averaged 5.5 degrees above normal, with highs averaging 102.1 and lows at 77.2.

As far as the hazyness in the sky… well we can thank some of the African Dust on that.  According to the TCEQ the Air Quality will be in the moderate range the next few days here in Austin and Central Texas.  Below is the forecast for the next few days from the TCEQ.

Sunday 07/29/12 Outlook
African dust will continue to cover most of the state with “Moderate” PM2.5 levels. Fine particulate levels may begin to drop in the afternoon and evening in South Texas as the dust cloud moves north out of the area, though the daily PM2.5 AQI will probably remain at the low end of the “Moderate” range as another dust cloud approaches the coast. Winds may be light enough and background levels high enough for ozone to reach “Moderate” levels on the east and northeast side of the Houston area, on the north and northeast side of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area, and in parts of Northeast Texas, with highest concentrations in the afternoon and early evening. Elsewhere in far West Texas, moderate winds, low incoming background levels, and heavy cloud cover should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range.

Monday 07/30/12 Outlook
The African dust cloud should begin to clear the state as it moves northward, resulting in decreasing fine particulate in the northern half of the state. Lingering dust and another dust cloud moving into South Texas should keep PM2.5 levels at “Moderate” for the day over parts of South, South Central, and Southeast Texas, especially along the coast. Winds may be light enough and background levels high enough for ozone to reach “Moderate” levels on the east side of the Houston area, on the north and northeast side of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, in the Beaumont-Port Arthur and El Paso areas, and in parts of Northeast Texas, with highest concentrations in the afternoon and early evening. Elsewhere in the state, moderate winds and low incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range.

Tuesday 07/31/12 Extended Outlook
Winds may be light enough and background levels high enough for ozone to reach “Moderate” levels on the east and northeast sides of the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth areas, in the Beaumont-Port Arthur and El Paso areas, and in parts of Northeast Texas, with highest concentrations in the afternoon and early evening. An African dust cloud with “Moderate” PM2.5 levels should continue to impact South Texas, especially along the coast. Elsewhere in the state, moderate winds and low incoming background levels should help to keep air quality in the “Good” range.

The Naval Research Lab does Aerosol modeling just like we have forecast models for rain and clouds.  This model gives a good glimpse of where the African Dust is right now.  Based on this model it appears that the dust will remain in the area through much of the week but slowly thin out by late week into next weekend.  This is helped out by the fact that a high is going to be parked over our area much of the week, and we will have light winds aloft.  Late in the week the high will push west and we will start to see a bit of a north/northeast breeze on the outer edge of this high that should thin the dust a bit.


Watch for meteors this weekend

July 27th, 2012 at 10:33 pm by under Weather

Our friends at EarthSky tell us this is a great weekend for meteor viewing.

Here are the details, courtesy earthsky.org: 


Deborah Byrd

Image Credit: Stéphane Guisard / ESO
Image Credit: Stéphane Guisard / ESO
The weekend of July 28-29, 2012 could be great for meteor-watching if you watch between midnight and dawn.

Okay, here’s the scoop. Every year, two big meteor showers combine around now to create wonderful northern summer meteor displays. They are the Delta Aquarids and the famous Perseids. The Delta Aquarids ramble along steadily in late July and early August every year, without a very definite peak. The Perseids peak every year around the mornings of August 11-13. But, every year, you have to watch out for the moon. And the moon in 2012 is creating some very specific windows for optimum meteor-watching. One of those is this weekend – July 28-29, assuming you watch between midnight and dawn.

As we just said, the Delta Aquarid shower rambles along in late July and early August without a very definite peak. But this weekend – July 28 and 29, 2012 – is a good time to watch because the moon will be absent from the morning sky. It’s a waxing gibbous moon that you’ll see in the sky around now. It’ll be up mostly in the evening, leaving the hours between moonset and dawn moon-free for the Delta Aquarid meteors. How many might you see? No way to know. But you might see some!

Read more about the 2012 Delta Aquarid shower here

Find the time of moonset in your location with this custom calendar (check moonrise and moonset option)

The really big meteor event of any Northern Hemisphere summer is always the Perseid meteor shower in August. It’s reliable, and rich with meteors that fall in many colors. It very typically produces about 60 meteors per hour, or several every few minutes. The Perseids will peak on the mornings – not the evenings – of August 12 and 13 in 2012. The moon will be in a waning crescent phase, rising around midnight. While the moon will somewhat obscure the 2012 Perseid display, it won’t hinder the Perseids nearly as much as the supermoon obscured the last meteor shower, the Eta Aquarids, in May. Plus the moon has a special treat in store for meteor-watchers in 2012.

European Southern Observatory Photo Ambassador Stéphane Guisard caught this Perseid meteor at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile in 2010. Via Wikimedia Commons.

A 2009 Perseid meteor – multi-colored, long, beautiful – streaking along to the left of the summer Milky Way. Image Credit: Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons

On the mornings of August 11, 12 and 13, 2012, the moon will be sweeping past the sky’s brightest planets – Venus and Jupiter – in the eastern predawn sky. It doesn’t get any better than meteors plus moon and planets. And especially these two planets, which are super bright and wonderful in the morning sky now. So mark your calendars!

Radiant point of Perseid shower: northeast after midnight, closer to overhead before dawn.

The Perseids radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus the Hero. You don’t need to know Perseus to watch the shower because the meteors appear in all parts of the sky. The Perseids often peak at 50 or more meteors per hour in a dark sky. The Perseids tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn. These meteors are often bright and frequently leave persistent trains. Read more about the 2012 Perseid meteor shower here.

Find out about meteor showers for the rest of the year: EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2012

These two showers combine every year in late July and August to give Northern Hemisphere skywatchers their best meteor display of the year. Why so good in the Northern Hemisphere, and not as good in the Southern Hemisphere?

Two reasons. First, the constellation Perseus – radiant point of the Perseid shower – is fairly far to the north on the sky’s dome. From the far Southern Hemisphere, this shower’s radiant point can’t be seen, and any meteors that are visible to Southern Hemisphere observers have to make their way up and over the horizon. It’s true that the Delta Aquarid shower favors the Southern Hemisphere, and the tropical latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. But the Delta Aquarids don’t produce the same memorable displays as the Perseids.

Second, late July and early August is summertime for the Northern Hemisphere. And no matter how diehard a meteor watcher you may be, kicking back on a summer night in your lawn chair or blanket on the ground is always more fun than huddling in a sleeping bag to watch meteors. Southern Hemisphere skywatchers sometimes tell us their best meteor shower of the year is the Geminids in December, which comes during their summer. Read more about the Geminids here.

Bottom line: The next meteor shower in 2012 is two showers, the Delta Aquarids and the Perseids. Watch for a display of Delta Aquarids around this weekend (July 28-29, 2012) in the hours between midnight and dawn. Which morning will be best? Any of these upcoming mornings would be a good time to try – Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday – around the July 28-29 weekend. The moon will be gone from the predawn sky, leaving the sky dark for meteor-watching. Otherwise, wait until the mornings of August 11, 12 and 13 to watch for Perseid meteors (with maybe a few Delta Aquarids scattered in, still). On those mornings, as an added treat, the moon will be sweeping past Venus and Jupiter in the eastern predawn sky. It’ll be great.


Operation Hydration

July 27th, 2012 at 1:10 pm by under Weather

   We were just at the Round Rock Express game last night for “Fans from Fans” night (see blog post below). Tonight, the Express is teaming with AT&T Veterans of Austin, Girl Scouts Council of Texas, and The Home Depot for “Operation Hydration 2012,” an effort to collect bottled water for soldiers.

  Here’s what you’ll need to know to if you’re going to the game tonight:

WHO:              AT&T Veterans of Austin are teaming up with the Round Rock Express, Girls Scouts Council of Texas and The Home Depot to invite the public to join in an effort to collect bottled water for Fort Hood troops stationed in Killeen.

WHAT:            AT&T Veterans of Austin will be working with volunteers from The Home Depot to staff the Dell Diamond water collection point. The Round Rock Express is hosting the bottled water drive at the Dell Diamond, where 400 – 500 Girl Scouts will attend the game against the Albuquerque Isotopes and then have an overnight campout at the ballpark.

Each Girl Scout is being asked to bring a case of bottled water to the Home Base ticket gate drive-up/drop-off site the night of the game. All water collected will benefit USO Fort Hood, which is celebrating its 11th birthday in August.

This Austin event is part of a statewide AT&T Veterans water drive that kicks off on July 26, 2012 in Waco with state Sen. Brian Birdwell, a decorated military veteran. AT&T Veterans are staffing the Waco water collection point as well as those across the state in Dallas, Fort Worth and Richardson.

WHEN:            Friday, July 27, 2012, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (Ticket gates open at 5:30 p.m.)

WHERE:         The Dell Diamond                  

3400 Palm Valley Blvd.

Round Rock, Texas  78665

Water collection at Home Base ticket gate on southwest corner of Dell Diamond  



Drought improves locally, and just slightly

July 27th, 2012 at 11:40 am by under Weather

Another week, another little chip we took out of the drought locally.  It wasn’t a huge difference week to week, but then again most of the area saw little to no rainfall over the past week, and the conditions seemed to improve.  Clearly, seeing almost 4″ at ABIA and almost 6″ at Camp Mabry during what typically is our driest month helps.  As it stands, we are still about 4.2″ above normal at Mabry, and with no more rain in the July forecast, we will still finish around 4″ above normal.  Below is a comparison image taken from the US Drought Monitor website, comparing the last week’s image on the left (7/17/2012) vs. the current image on the right (7/24/2012).  *click on image for full screen*

The yellow color represents the “D0- abnormally dry” drought condition, the best drought status.  This has taken over much of our area from along I-35 and east.  The exceptions are in Williamson and Milam counties.  Most of the rest of our area is under a “D1- Moderate” drought, shaded in a light orange or peach color.  This is quite an improvement, especially in Burnet and Blanco counties, which last week were almost entirely a category worse.  The darker orange color represents the “D2- Severe” drought.  You can see a little pocket of that in North-Central/East Williamson County, and Northwest Milam county.  This area has actually shrunk from last week, when almost all of Williamson County was covered and most of the northern half of Milam County was covered.   The only downfall in our area week to week was in Gillespie County, where the lack of above normal rainfall this month like most of the rest of our area has caused a worsening drought.  Much of the Western half of the county dropped from a “D1- Moderate” to a “D2-Severe” Drought.  The forecast calls for a high to build into the area for the next week and shut off rain chances.  Starting later in August our really dry pattern starts to shift as the seasons begin to shift.  The longer range outlooks call for near normal rainfall and temps over the next 3 months.

While gathering information on the drought’s week to week changes in our area, I thought it would be interesting to show how far we have come in a year.  Boy, its quite amazing!  While most of the country has fallen into a bad drought situation, things in Texas have GREATLY improved in the last year.

Below is an image from the US Drought Monitor website that compares the drought monitor from 7/26/2011 to 7/24/2012.  Amazing!  Especially in our area, a year ago the entire area was in a “D4- Exceptional” drought, the worst level.

Below I have posted a pick of the latest US Drought Monitor for the entire US.  Very sad news for many farmers all over the country, and sure to be something that will effect all of us when we go grocery shopping in the next few months.

NOAA has put together an interesting 13 second video clip of a map of the United States, with the drought conditions laid on top for each month of 2012.  It really shows how quickly the current drought escalated across the country.

Drought month by month 2012


Thank you Round Rock Express fans!

July 26th, 2012 at 11:52 pm by under Weather

Round Rock Express fans drop off a new box fan before the game Thursday night.

Fans From Fans night was a great success at the Dell Diamond Thursday. Not only did dozens of Express fans bring in brand new fans for Family Eldercare, but many KXAN viewers who couldn’t attend the game made online donations totaling $2500!

We are so grateful for your support because we still need over 1,000 fans to meet the need in our community this summer, and it is getting hotter by the day. In addition, your cash donations allow Family Eldercare to buy the fans at a bulk discount rate, providing even more fans and some air conditioners for those in our community who desperately need them.

KXAN promotions staff give free tickets to fans who donated fans Thursday night.

If you haven’t had a chance to support the fan drive yet, click here to go to Family Eldercare’s website, where you can find drop-off locations for your fans, or make an online donation.

Thank you again for your support of this worthy cause!