January, 2013

In Session. In-depth: Health & Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek

January 31st, 2013 at 6:30 pm by under Politics

HHSC Commissioner Kyle Janek (State of Texas)

This Sunday on KXAN’s “In Session, In-depth,” Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek discusses the Women’s Health Program, the state’s Medicaid situation and lawmakers’ health care budget challenges.

Plus, Corrie MacLaggan of Reuters, Emily Ramshaw of the Texas Tribune, and Texas Medical Association President-elect Stephen Brotherton, M.D., weigh in Gov. Rick Perry’s State of the State and his legislative vision for Texans’ health.

Join us for “In Session, In-depth” this Sunday morning at 8:30 on KXAN News.


Straus appoints Central Texas lawmakers to leadership posts

January 31st, 2013 at 6:25 pm by under Politics

Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio (Texas House of Representatives)

On Thursday, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, released his list of committees assignments for the 83rd Regular Legislative Session. Five Central Texas lawmakers secured leadership posts:

  • Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin – Culture, Recreation & Tourism (Vice Chair)
  • Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin – Administration (Vice Chair)
  • Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin – Public Health (Vice Chair)
  • Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs – Rules & Resolutions (Vice Chair)
  • Rep. Doug Miller, R-New Braunfels – Special Purpose Districts (Vice Chair)

“These are charges that I take very seriously as the critical work of these committee will have an impact on the entire state and obviously in the Texas Hill Country, as well,” said Miller. “ I will help see to it that protecting private property rights, our state’s vital natural resources, and doing what is right for Texas will be priority components of our collective agenda.”

Central Texas members of the influential House Appropriations Committee – the budget writers – include:

  • Rep. Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin
  • Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin
  • Rep. Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock

“I look forward to supporting (Speaker Straus’s) goals of properly and transparently funding government’s core responsibilities while meeting the challenges of robust population growth,” Howard said. “I intend to be an effective advocate on the committee for restoring funds to public education and family planning programs that were so dramatically cut last session.

This list shows Central Texas lawmakers increased their power in the House this session. Last regular session, the delegation filled one less leadership role:

  • Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin – Administration (Vice Chair)
  • Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin – Joint Committee on Aging (Chair)
  • Rep. Elliott Naishtat, D-Austin – Public Health (Vice Chair)
  • Rep. Doug Miller, R-New Braunfels – Joint Committee on Oversight of Edwards Aquifer (Co-chair)

 


Freezing temperatures this morning

January 31st, 2013 at 4:08 pm by under Weather

After a two week period of unusually warm January weather, temperatures plunged below freezing in most areas early Thursday morning. Take a look at the morning lows recorded on the LCRA Hydromet thermometers:

 


January 31st, 2013 at 7:51 am by under Weather

The cold front that passed through Central Texas Tuesday night, and gave a few of our communities a number of garden variety thunderstorms, caused havoc through the Mid-Atlantic and East Coast yesterday, and last night.  The storm prediction center has a slew of tornado, wind damage, and hail reports from the passing system.

 

 

The town of Adairsville, located near Atlanta, Georgia, was decimated by the storm:

1619 ADAIRSVILLE BARTOW GA 3437 8493 MAJOR DAMAGE REPORTED IN DOWNTOWN ADAIRSVILLE. REPORTS OF CARS OVERTURNED AND MAJOR STRUCTURE DAMAGE(FFC)
1620 ADAIRSVILLE BARTOW GA 3437 8493 *** 1 FATAL *** MAN KILLED IN MOBILE HOME NEAR ADAIRSVILLE.EMERGENCY MANAGER CONFIRMS THAT APPROXIMATELY 100 CARS OVERTURNED NEAR EXIT 306 ON INTERSTATE 75.(FFC)

 

Photo of damage in Adairsville,GA after the storm

 

Here is a full recap, and the radar loop from yesterday’s storm courtesy of weather.com:

 

An unusual, widespread January severe thunderstorm outbreak began on Tuesday morning, Jan. 29, 2013 and has delivered a swath of damaging winds and some tornadoes from the Southern Plains to the lower/middle-Mississippi Valleys, Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley and Northeast over a 48-hour period.

Severe Outbreak Radar History

Radar loop from Jan. 29, 2013 (6am EST) through Jan. 31, 2013 (6am EST).

Severe Reports Tally (as of morning of Jan. 31)

  • 13 confirmed tornadoes in 8 states
  • 676 high wind/wind damage reports
  • 13 reports of large hail

The damage reports are plotted on the interactive map above.  Click each report to read about the damage.

Here are some of the notable reports:

  • An EF2 tornado touched down in the pre-dawn hours in Mt. Juliet, Tenn., with estimated winds of 115 mph.  Heavy damage was observed at the ballpark.  The tornado’s path length was 4.6 miles.
  • A tornado flipped numerous cars and leveled homes in Adairsville, Ga.  This same supercell thunderstorm then damaged multiple structures near Calhoun, Ga.  Roughly 100 vehicles were flipped as the tornado crossed I-75 near Calhoun.  Survey teams from the National Weather Service will investigate these areas Thursday.

Sadly, there was one fatality from the Adairsville, Ga. tornado, ending what had been a record tornado death-free streak in the U.S. of 219 consecutive days, since the last U.S. tornado death on June 24, 2012.

The old U.S. record streak was 197 straight days without a tornado fatality, ending on Feb. 28, 1987, according to Severe Weather Expert, Dr. Greg Forbes.

Damaging non-thunderstorm winds then swept into the Northeast during the early morning hours of Jan. 31, 2013.  Gusts to 81 mph were measured in southern New England, including 60-65 mph gusts at both New York-LaGuardia and Boston-Logan Int’l Airports.  At least 215,000 were without power in the Northeast.


Viewer storm photos

January 29th, 2013 at 8:18 pm by under Weather

These photos were taken by David Pauley Tuesday evening in Bastrop County near Camp Swift:

The following photo from:  Beverly Heacker in Pflugerville:

Lindsey Cooper in Elgin took this photo:

Cathy in Georgetown took this photo:

This photo sent to us by Cindu:

 


An Interesting Weather Day Headed Our Way…

January 29th, 2013 at 9:48 am by under Uncategorized, Weather

Here is the latest quick synopsis from the National Weather Service on today’s forecast:

The SPC also has included the northern part of our viewing area in the “slight risk” area for severe weather.  If anything pops up we will keep you posted from the First Warning Weather Forecast Center.  Also, remember KXAN.com’s interactive radar is available 24/7/365.

 

An upper level storm system is expected to move through Texas today into Wednesday. There will be a chance for strong thunderstorms along and ahead of a cold front associated with the upper storm system…mainly along and northeast of highway 71 this afternoon and early evening. Strong gusty winds is the primary threat. Strong gusty winds and very dry air behind the front will promote the spread of fires from noon today through midday Wednesday. A Red Flag Warning has been issued for all counties along and west of a line from Taylor to Gonzales to Cuero.

 

Here are the counties included in the red flag warning that starts at 3pm today and lasts through 3pm Wednesday afternoon:

From the NWS regarding the red flag warning:

RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO
3 PM CST WEDNESDAY FOR STRONG WINDS AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITIES
ACROSS THE HILL COUNTRY AND MUCH OF SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS...

* AFFECTED AREA...THE FOLLOWING SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS COUNTIES...
  LLANO...BURNET...WILLIAMSON...KERR...BANDERA...GILLESPIE...
  KENDALL...BLANCO...HAYS...TRAVIS...BASTROP...MEDINA...BEXAR...
  COMAL...GUADALUPE...CALDWELL...FRIO...ATASCOSA...WILSON.

* 20-FOOT WIND...WEST 15 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 30 MPH.

* HUMIDITY...15 TO 20 PERCENT.

* IMPACTS...ANY FIRES THAT DEVELOP WILL LIKELY SPREAD RAPIDLY.
  OUTDOOR BURNING IS NOT RECOMMENDED.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS
ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW...OR WILL SHORTLY.  AVOID THE USE OF
OPEN FLAMES OR ANY ACTIVITIES THAT MAY GENERATE SPARKS.
ACCIDENTAL IGNITIONS WILL HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO GROW QUICKLY INTO
DANGEROUS WIND DRIVEN WILDFIRES.

The SPC also has included the northern part of our viewing area in the "slight risk" area for severe weather.  If anything pops up we will keep you posted from the First Warning Weather Forecast Center.  Also, remember KXAN.com's interactive radar is available 24/7/365.


Storms and wildfires possible Tuesday

January 28th, 2013 at 5:49 pm by under Weather

An upper level storm system is expected to move through Texas Tuesday into Wednesday. There will be a chance for strong thunderstorms along and ahead of the front mainly along and northeast of highway 71 Tuesday afternoon and evening. Hail and gusty winds are the primary thunderstorm threats. Strong gusty winds and very dry air behind the front will promote the spread of fires late Tuesday through Wednesday afternoon. A Red Flag Warning has been issued for all counties along and west of a line from Taylor to Luling to Karnes City.   (NWS)
——————————————————–
Here is a message from National Weather Service Warning Coordination meteorologist Paul Yura:

…Fire concerns increase Tuesday afternoon through mid day Wednesday…. (more…)


Preview: Perry’s State of the State

January 28th, 2013 at 10:42 am by under Politics

Inside the State of the State address Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011 (Josh Hinkle/KXAN)

Tuesday’s State of the State could determine the state of Rick Perry’s political future for years to come. The speech will launch his seventh legislative session as governor and indicate how likely it would be to make another run for this office or possibly another stab at leading the nation as president.

The address is at 11 a.m. Tuesday during a joint session of the House and Senate. This is a chance for Perry to lay out the issues he wants state lawmakers to tackle in the current legislative session. So far, he has mentioned:

  • Tax relief, based on billions in the state’s surplus
  • Infrastructure and energy improvements, possibly using the rainy day fund for water supplies
  • Making the small business tax exemption permanent
  • Controlling college tuition, in an effort to bolster the state’s workforce
  • Drug screening welfare applicants
  • Expanding the ban on abortion, based on the pain felt by the fetus

Perry has not ruled out running for either office, though he has indicated he would wait to make any announcement until after the session. But after a year of very public campaign stumbles, people will be watching closely to see if he has the ability to bounce back.


Drought Meeting In San Antonio…

January 28th, 2013 at 7:59 am by under Weather

It is no secret the Lone Star State has been starving for moisture the past few years, and Texas is not alone.   In fact, much of the south central portion of the United States has been, and continues to be  stuck in a drought status.

Latest Texas drought map. The viewing area is still encompassed in the moderate to severe drought category.

No one knows how long it will take us to finally climb back out of our long stay in a drought status.  Nor does anyone know the true impacts this dry stretch will have on the southern portion of the country.  However, leading natural resource specialists and conservationists are coming together in San Antonio to try to sort through those issues.

 

CONSERVATION LEADERS TO GATHER IN SAN ANTONIO TO DISCUSS NATION’S FUTURE
Texas is entering into its third straight year of record drought conditions, with over two-thirds of the United States currently listed in moderate to exceptional drought condition. Are we headed for another catastrophic Dust Bowl like our nation experienced in the 1930s? With the lack of rain, how can landowners help improve water quality and quantity for cities?  Is the agriculture industry facing disaster or on the edge of an American agriculture revolution? With the population expected to double in the next 60 years, can America keep producing enough food to keep up?
 
Leading natural resource specialists and conservationist from across the nation are convening in January 27-30 at the Marriott River Center Hotel in San Antonio, Texas for the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) 2013 annual meeting to discuss these and other questions America is facing.
The 2013 NACD Annual Meeting will feature keynote speaker Timothy Egan, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and the author of six books, including The Worst Hard Time, which won a National Book Award for nonfiction. The Worst Hard Time chronicles the unparalleled dust storms in the High Plains during the Great Depression. This fall, Egan served as the main on-screen narrator for filmmaker Ken Burns’ PBS documentary about the Dust Bowl.
Other confirmed speakers include: Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28); Jason Weller, Acting Chief, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); Ellen Gilinsky, Senior Policy Advisor, Environmental Protection Agency; Gene Schmidt, NACD President; John Larson, NACD Chief Executive Officer; David Lamm, Soil Conservationist, NRCS East National Technology Support Center; Tom Martin, CEO, American Forest Foundation; and Tim Wigley, President of the Western Energy Alliance.

Geminid meteor shower “dreamlapse”

January 27th, 2013 at 9:57 am by under Weather

Six weeks ago, the First Warning Weather team instructed local residents to keep an eye to the sky for the peak of the 2012 Geminid meteor shower.

Although many urbanites may not have had the best view due to light pollution, a team of photographers led by Sunchaser Pictures made sure to capture to meteor shower in all of its glory.

Click on the video link below to see high-definition time lapse photography of the meteor shower as seen from Death Valley, California on the night of December 13, 2012. Enjoy the view!

Video still from the Death Valley “dreamlapse” (Credit: Sunchaser Pictures)