November, 2012

November wraps up completely dry in Austin

November 30th, 2012 at 4:57 pm by under Weather

Our latest U.S. drought monitor shows moderate drought spreading across all of Central Texas. 80-percent of the state is under moderate drought.

This isn’t unexpected considering how dry our Fall has been. Check out the wrap up below from the NWS. Camp Mabry in Austin has received no rain this November. The last time we had a completely dry November was in 1896.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
325 PM CST FRI NOV 30 2012

...DRY NOVEMBER PERIODS ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS...

AFTER A DRIER THAN USUAL OCTOBER ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS THIS
YEAR...NOVEMBER 2012 HAS CONTINUED THE TREND FOR DRIER THAN USUAL
CONDITIONS FROM NOVEMBER 1ST THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON...NOVEMBER 30TH.
NOVEMBER 2012 IS ONE OF THE DRIER NOVEMBERS OF RECORD FOR AUSTIN...
DEL RIO...AND SAN ANTONIO.

THE LIST BELOW COMPARES THE RAINFALL SO FAR THIS NOVEMBER...FROM
NOVEMBER 1ST TO 3 PM NOVEMBER 30TH...WITH THE DRIEST NOVEMBERS OF
RECORD. THE 12 DRIEST NOVEMBERS OF RECORD ARE LISTED...BASED ON
THE ABSOLUTE VALUE OF RAIN THAT WAS OBSERVED.

AUSTIN MABRY HAS HAD NO RAIN IN NOVEMBER FROM NOVEMBER 1ST TO 3PM
NOVEMBER 30TH...2012. THE LAST TIME THAT THE AUSTIN CITY CLIMATE
SITE...LOCATED AT AUSTIN MABRY TODAY...HAD NO RAIN IN THE MONTH OF
NOVEMBER WAS IN NOVEMBER 1897...NOVEMBER OF 1894...AND NOVEMBER OF 1861.
AUSTIN BERGSTROM HAS HAD A TRACE OF RAIN IN NOVEMBER 2012 FROM
NOVEMBER 1ST TO 3 PM NOVEMBER 30TH. IN NOVEMBER 1970 AUSTIN BERGSTROM...
AUSTIN MABRY...AND DEL RIO HAD A TRACE OF RAIN...WHILE AT SAN ANTONIO
0.01 INCHES OF RAIN WAS OBSERVED IN NOVEMBER 1970.

FROM NOVEMBER 1ST TO 3 PM NOVEMBER 30TH...2012 AUSTIN MABRY HAS HAD
NO RAIN OR 0.00 INCHES FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER. NO RAIN IS EXPECTED
FOR THE REST OF NOVEMBER 2012 THROUGH MIDNIGHT TONIGHT.

THE DRIEST NOVEMBERS AT AUSTIN MABRY FROM 1856 TO 2011 ARE
LISTED BELOW.

 1. 0.00  NOVEMBER 1861...1894...AND 1897
 2. TRACE  NOVEMBER 1896...1903 AND 1970
 3. 0.01  NOVEMBER 1949
 4. 0.02  NOVEMBER 1927
 5. 0.03  NOVEMBER 1950
 6. 0.05  NOVEMBER 1924
 7. 0.10  NOVEMBER 1863
 8. 0.11  NOVEMBER 1966
 9. 0.15  NOVEMBER 1999
10. 0.25  NOVEMBER 1879
11. 0.33  NOVEMBER 2005
12. 0.34  NOVEMBER 1988

(more…)


Busy 2012 hurricane season ends

November 29th, 2012 at 2:36 pm by under Weather

Hurricane season wraps up Friday and this one has been busy. The map below shows the paths of all 19 storms, including Sandy which was number 18.

NOAA: Busy 2012 hurricane season continues decades-long high activity era in the Atlantic

Four U.S. land-falling storms include devastating Sandy and Isaac

November 30 marks the end of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season, one that produced 19 named storms, of which 10 became hurricanes and one became a major hurricane. The number of named storms is well above the average of 12. The number of hurricanes is also above the average of six, but the number of major hurricanes is below the average of three.

Based on the combined number, intensity, and duration of all tropical storms and hurricanes, NOAA classifies the season as above-normal. 2012 was an active year, but not exceptionally so as there were 10 busier years in the last three decades.

This season marks the second consecutive year that the mid-Atlantic and Northeast suffered devastating impacts from a named storm. Sandy, and Irene last year, caused fatalities, injuries, and tremendous destruction from coastal storm surge, heavy rainfall, inland flooding, and wind. Storms struck many parts of the country this year, including tropical storms Beryl and Debby in Florida, Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana, and post-tropical Cyclone Sandy in New Jersey.

(more…)


Your Flu Outlook Today Is….

November 29th, 2012 at 9:24 am by under Weather

On daily weather reports we are all used to hearing about high and low temperatures, the chance for rain, or the pollen count for the day.  However, an article from Science Daily suggests that us meteorologists may be including a “chance of getting the flu” forecast into our weather presentation on a daily basis.  Here is the article that explains technology surrounding flu forecasting has come a long way….

 

 

This Week’s Forecast: Sunny With a 40 Percent Chance of Flu

ScienceDaily (Nov. 26, 2012) — New computer model takes a page from weather forecasting to predict regional peaks in influenza outbreaks

Scientists have developed a system to predict the timing and severity of seasonal influenza outbreaks that could one day help health officials and the general public better prepare for them. The system adapts techniques used in modern weather prediction to turn real-time, Web-based estimates of influenza infection into local forecasts of seasonal flu.

Results appear online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Year to year, and region to region, there is huge variability in the peak of flu season, which, in temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere, can happen as early as October or as late as April. The forecast system can provide “a window into what can happen week to week as flu prevalence rises and falls,” says Jeffrey Shaman, PhD, an assistant professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

As a test case, Dr. Shaman and Alicia Karspeck, PhD, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, used Web-based estimates of flu-related sickness from the 2003-2008 influenza seasons in New York City to retrospectively generate weekly flu forecasts and found that the technique could predict the peak timing of the outbreak more than seven weeks in advance of the actual peak.

In the future, such flu forecasts might conceivably be disseminated on the local television news along with the weather report, says Dr. Shaman. Like the weather, flu conditions vary from region to region; Atlanta might peak weeks ahead of Anchorage. “Because we are all familiar with weather broadcasts, when we hear that there is a 80% chance of rain, we all have an intuitive sense of whether or not we should carry an umbrella,” says Dr. Shaman. “I expect we will develop a similar comfort level and confidence in flu forecasts and develop an intuition of what we should do to protect ourselves in response to different forecast outcomes.”

As individuals, a flu forecast could prompt us to get a vaccine, exercise care around people sneezing and coughing, and better tune in to how we feel. For health officials, it could inform decisions on how many vaccines and antiviral drugs to stockpile, and in the case of a virulent outbreak, whether other measures, like closing schools, is necessary.

“Flu forecasting has the potential to significantly improve our ability to prepare for and manage the seasonal flu outbreaks that strike each year,” says Irene Eckstrand, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which provided funding for the study.

Worldwide, influenza kills an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 people each year; in the U.S. about 35,000 die from the flu every year.

The seed of the new study was planted four years ago in a conversation between the two researchers, in which Dr. Shaman expressed an interest in using models to forecast influenza. Dr. Karspeck “recommended incorporating some of the data assimilation techniques used in weather forecasting to build a skillful prediction system” remembers Dr. Shaman.

In weather forecasting real-time observational data are used to “nudge the model to conform with reality and reduce error in the model simulations,” he explains. Applying this method to flu forecasting, the researchers used near-real-time data from Google Flu Trends, which estimates outbreaks based on the number of flu-related search queries in a given region.

Going forward, Dr. Shaman will test the model in other localities across the country using up-to-date data. This is necessary, he says, since “there is no guarantee that just because the method works in New York it will work in Miami.”

Funding for the research was provided by the National Institutes of Health (grant numbers GM100467, GM088558 and ES009089) and the Department of Homeland Security.


Weather workshops for teachers

November 28th, 2012 at 2:30 pm by under Weather

Yet another big event is coming to Austin this January. This time it’s all about weather. Scientists, researchers and meteorologists from all across the country will head our way for the five day event. There’s also great opportunities for local teachers to get in on the action.

Educational Outreach Initiative Event to be Held at 93rd Annual Meeting in Austin

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) will be hosting its 93rd Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, January 5th through the 10th at the Austin Convention Center. As part of the Annual Meeting, the AMS is hosting a bold Educational Outreach Initiative to K-12 science teachers. This will give teachers the opportunity to connect local and Texas teachers with some of the most innovative and forwarding thinking scientists, researchers, operational meteorologists, educators, students, and other weather enthusiasts. It is also designed to create a partnership to enhance our Nation’s ability to understand the causes of and response to severe weather events.

There are several opportunities for teachers to interact with our Nation’s weather and climate experts through WeatherFest—a free family science event on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.—as well as a Teacher Workshop, Teacher Short Course, and the Symposium on Education.

The teacher workshop developed for K-8 teachers will be held on Tuesday January 8th at the Marriott Courtyard & Residence Inn (300 E. 4th Street) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This will be followed by a fantastic event sponsored by the University of Texas/Environmental Science Institute and the AMS as they present Hot Science–Cool Talks with Dr. Kerry Emanuel of MIT at the Student Activities Center (SAC) at the University of Texas Campus in Austin. Also on Tuesday, a short course for high school teachers will be held at the Marriott Courtyard & Residence from 8 p.m. to 5 p.m.

These events are FREE to teachers who register prior to December 21st at http://annual.ametsoc.org/2013/index.cfm/linkservid/B284DD9E-6B4D-463C-BDB1BB7A2145529E/showMeta/0/



Weather data from nation’s largest wind farms could improve U.S. models, forecasts

November 27th, 2012 at 1:15 pm by under Weather

Private companies share weather data with NOAA

NOAA Office of Education’s Bay-Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Program participants.

Two of the nation’s largest producers of wind-generated electric power will share privately-collected weather data with NOAA, providing agency scientists with additional observations from wind farms across the nation for research and operations.

NOAA now has data sharing agreements with Iberdrola Renewables of Portland, Ore., and NextEra Energy Resources of Juno Beach, Fla.—the country’s two largest generators of wind-generated electric power, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

The companies will provide valuable weather observations from instrumented towers in their wind farms and wind speed data from instruments atop wind turbines. Since 2011, Xcel Energy of Minneapolis, Minn. has provided similar observations to NOAA. (more…)


Holiday Happenings…

November 27th, 2012 at 10:04 am by under Weather

It may still be weeks away, but if you are trying to get yourself and your family into the holiday spirit, there are a few goings on around the area that could help!  Here is a list of holiday happenings scheduled to take place over the next few days in and around Central Texas:

San Marcos Sights & Sounds Of Christmas

 The Sights & Sounds of Christmas in San Marcos is perfect for the whole family to enjoy four nights filled with fun & holiday cheer. Come out to take a picture with Santa, enjoy live music, browse arts and crafts and of course eat, all under thousands of twinkling lights at this year’s Sights & Sounds of Christmas in San Marcos, TX. The park will be open 5:30-10:30pm on Wednesday and Thursday, 5:30-11pm on Friday and 1-11pm on Saturday.

San Marcos Plaza Park
206 N. C M Allen Pkwy.
San Marcos, TX 78667
(512) 393-8430

Website: http://www.sights-n-sounds.org/

 

23rd Annual Dickens’ Christmas In Lockhart

 Lockhart, Texas is transformed into 19th century England as the weekend kicks off Fri evening with the Lighted Christmas Parade at 7pm on the Courthouse Square. Then, all day Sat, the holiday celebration continues with food, arts & crafts vendors, and free musical and kids entertainment. This unique community event ends with the the lighting of the Yule Log. Then the library and the historic downtown are lit with thousands of lights.

Website:  http://www.lockhartchamber.com/pages/DickensChristmas/

 

Ballet New Braunfels Presents The Nutcracker

he Nutcracker is a timeless Christmas classic ballet that tells the whimsical tale of Clara and her dreamland adventures with her beloved Nutcracker Prince. This is a great holiday tradition for all ages, children and adults alike. Show times:  Friday November 30 7:00pm, Saturday December 1 1:00pm, Saturday December 1 7:00pm.

Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre
290 W. San Antonio St.
New Braunfels, TX 78130
(830) 627-0808

 

Christmas At The Capitol

A Cappella Texas presents our annual FREE concert at the Capitol rotunda. With guest quartets and sing-a-long favorites, it will be yuletide fun for the whole family.

Website: http://www.acappellatexas.org/

 

2012 Round Rock Rotary Reindeer Run

The Round Rock Rotary Reindeer Run is a 5K Fun Run put on by the Sunrise Rotary Club of Round Rock and City of Round Rock Parks and Recreation. Net proceeds will go to the maintenance and improvement of the city’s Play for All Abilities Park for children with cognitive or physical challenges.

When:  Sunday December 2 @ 5:30pm

Website:  http://roundrocktexas.gov/home/index.asp?page=1797

 

2nd Annual Merry Movie Night Under The Stars (Saturday, Dec 1  6:30p to 10:00p)

 FREE Admission
RSVP Get Tickets: http://ascmovienight.eventbrite.com/

Come sit with us under the stars to watch two beloved classics:
6:30 pm: A Charlie Brown Christmas
7:30 pm: A Christmas Story

Bring your own blanket and we’ll have tempting treats for kids and adults…and yes, there will be beer! This is an official Austin Shop Crawl event. Use your FREE Austin Shop Crawl Badge to benefit from the specialty discounts. Don’t forget to bring a toy for Toys for Tots. Seating starts at 6:00 pm.

Website:  http://ascmovienight.eventbrite.com/

Next week we’ll compile another list highlighting the latest and greatest of the holiday schedule for the area.  Until then, enjoy the most wonderful time of the year!!


Amazing weather videos this month

November 26th, 2012 at 1:39 pm by under Weather

From our friends at EarthSky and Matt Daniel’s Weatherglobe blog, click on the link below to see some amazing weather videos posted this month:

Amazing weather videos in November 2012

waterspout in Australia by Syne Michael
Check out the amazing videos that were uploaded in November – a tornado in Portugal, hail in Australia, a waterspout, and scenes from Hurricane Sandy.

What causes lake-effect snow?

November 25th, 2012 at 9:59 am by under Weather

A satellite photo of a lake-effect snow event. Notice northwest winds blowing over the Great Lakes, causing clouds to form and deposit large amounts of snow in downwind locations. (Photo courtesy of xweather.org)

With an ongoing lake-effect snow event in the Great Lakes area today, it’s a good time to take a moment and learn about what exactly causes this phenomenon.

The basis of the concept lies in the high specific heat capacity of water. This means that, compared to air, water takes a longer time to cool off – or to warm up.

Because of that physics principle, during the fall and early winter months, the Great Lakes are still relatively warm from all of the sunlight they absorbed during the summertime.

At the moment, cold, dry Arctic air is spilling southwards into the northeastern parts of the US.

When this cold air blows over the warmer water, evaporation occurs and the air is warmed. This makes the air unstable and turbulent.

The warm, moist air near the surface of the lake rises, which causes it to cool. As it rises and cools, clouds are formed.

As the warm, moist air continues to rise and form clouds at colder (higher) levels above the lake surface, snowflakes form inside of the cloud. This process is referred to as convection, and is one of the causes of precipitation.

The prevailing cold wind blows the clouds over land eventually, bringing them over the land area that is downwind from the lake. As these clouds move from over the lake surface to over land, the convective heat source is lost and the air can no longer retain the moisture it’s holding.

All of the moisture (snowflakes) in the cloud suddenly have nothing to keep them airborne, producing an area of heavy snowfall as the moisture is dumped out of the clouds. Lake effect snow has caused some of the highest snowfall totals in history, with rates of several inches per hour fairly common.

Incredible snowfall totals can result from lake-effect snowfall. (Photo courtesy of xweather.org)


One Month Later…

November 24th, 2012 at 8:13 pm by under Weather

It has been nearly a month since Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy pummeled the Northeast US Coastline into submission.  It will easily go down as one of the most devastating, and costliest natural disasters in United States history.  Sandy’s effects on the New York and New Jersey coastlines may have faded from the headlines, but are still an ongoing problem.  In case you have missed these stories over the past few days, here is the latest on what is happening to our friends and neighbors 1,750 miles away.

Thanksgiving For Sandy Victims

For hundreds, even thousands of families still without power, a traditional hot Thanksgiving dinner was just a dream.  That dream came true for many folks Thursday evening, as volunteers flocked to help those who just wanted one meal, to help forget their daily nightmare.  One non-profit group delivered 35,000 hot Thanksgiving dinners comprised of turkey, mashed potatoes, and apple pie to those in need. 

Multiple resturaunt owners across NYC have devoted their kitchens strictly to provide free meals to Sandy’s victims.  One returant owner was quoted as saying “as long as the victims keep coming, we’ll keep feeding them.” 

Even celebrities decided to spend their holiday giving a helping hand.  Rapper 50 Cent was found passing out food near Wall Street that was prepared by two famous NYC chefs.  There have even been whispers that kids were trying to keep the plates that 50 touched as a memento!!

Latest NJ Damage Estimates

Not long ago, preliminary damage analysis, prepared by the office of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, was released.  In the report, it is estimated that at least $29.4 billion of damage was caused by Sandy’s wrath in New Jersey alone.  According to Christie, the estimate includes damage to personal property, businesses, infrastructure, and utility damage.  Christie also said the estimate will be refined in the future to include impact on the next tourist seasons, real estate values, and population shifts.

Washed Away Sand Dunes To Be Rebuilt

Coastal towns have always been susceptible to incoming water from the Atlantic.  Multiple precautions were taken in these locations to protect homes from the invading water.  One known way of doing this, was to  put homes close to the shore on stilts.  Another, was to build natural barriers between neighborhoods and the water, made of sand.  These massive sand dunes were always considered a great protector from the surge of a normal storm.  However, Sandy was no normal storm.

With Sandy’s massive storm surge, dunes were compromised, and in many cases completely washed away.  In some towns, sand was carried 1/2 of a mile inland, and placed wherever the water decided was a good spot.  This has left homes susceptible to more water damage, considering the ocean now has a free and clear path to move in. 

Local governments have decided this is a problem that needs to be taken care of immediately.  Therefore, bulldozers and backhoes have been brought in to move the displaced sand back to the shore.  Crews have been working feverishly to rebuild the dunes, so they can then get back to work picking up the pieces of their towns, without having to worry about more water slowing them down.

Our thoughts and prayers have been, and continue to be with those whose lives have been completely altered by this natural disaster.


Entirely rain-free November a bleak possibility

November 24th, 2012 at 9:32 am by under Weather

Today will be the 29th consecutive day with no measurable rainfall at both Camp Mabry and Austin-Bergstrom airport.

As we near the end of the month, the 7-day forecast holds a couple of slim chances for a few drops in the bucket – but a completely dry November is starting to look like a bleak possibility.

If we do end the month with 0.00″ of rain at Camp Mabry, this will only be the 4th such occurrence since records began in 1856, and the first time in over a century:

Camp Mabry’s Driest Novembers:

November 1861 – 0.00″

November 1894 – 0.00″

November 1897 – 0.00″

November 2012?