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NASA rainfall observing satellite out of fuel, but continues to provide data

September 1st, 2014 at 7:58 pm by under Weather

Rani Gran, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Pressure readings from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission‘s (TRMM) fuel tank on July 8 indicated that the satellite was nearly at the end of its fuel supply. As a result, NASA has ceased maneuvers to keep the satellite at its operating altitude of 402 kilometers (~250 miles). With its speed decreasing, TRMM has begun to drift downward. A small amount of fuel remains to conduct debris avoidance maneuvers to ensure the satellite remains safe.

TRMM’s slow descent will continue over the next 2 to 3 years. It will continue to collect useful data as its orbit descends to about 350 (217.5 miles) over the next 18 months. Once TRMM reaches an altitude of 150 to 120 kilometers (93 to 75 miles), it will re-enter the atmosphere.

The TRMM satellite, a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), was launched in 1997 to measure precipitation over the tropics, carrying the first precipitation radar into space.

“TRMM has met and exceeded its original goal of advancing our understanding of the distribution of tropical rainfall and its relation to the global water and energy cycles,” said Scott Braun, the mission’s project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Its planned three-year mission has already lasted 17 years and provided researchers with an unprecedented data set that combined more traditional radiometer measurements with 3-dimensional radar scans across the tropical ocean and into the lower mid-latitudes from 35N to 35S latitude. Also unique to TRMM is its inclined orbit that allows it to cut across the paths of polar orbiting satellites and revisit locations at different times of day, which is important for understanding how rainfall evolves with the day/night cycle. TRMM provided the first measurements of this type over the tropical ocean.

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Developing tropical system may bring rain next week

August 31st, 2014 at 8:35 pm by under Weather

nhc image

Sunday night, the National Hurricane Center is keeping a close eye on an “invest” crossing the Yucatan Peninsula set to emerge over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico waters on Labor Day.

NHC’s prescribed odds of development have been steadily increasing over the past 48 hours, as forecast tracks are shifting slowly northward.

inv99

As of Sunday night, most computer forecasts still steer the storm west-northwestward into the Mexican coast mid week. But compared to previous model runs, some of the computer’s tracks are shifting northward.

If this developing storm takes one of the more northerly options, coming onshore near the TX/Mexico border, Central Texas could see increased rain chances Tuesday and Wednesday.

Stay tuned to KXAN and KXAN.com for the latest as this situation develops.


Dangerous heat in some areas Labor Day weekend

August 31st, 2014 at 3:26 pm by under Weather

heat index

 

With heat index values as high as 109 degrees Sunday and Monday afternoons in some areas, be sure to exercise extreme caution while spending time outdoors.

Follow the tips below, courtesy of NOAA:

  • 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.

Isolated flash flood impacts Gillespie County

August 30th, 2014 at 9:51 pm by under Weather

gillespiee

Between approximately 6:30 – 9 PM Saturday evening, a large thunderstorm sat nearly stationary over western Gillespie County in the Hill Country.

The local Sheriff’s office reported that RR 783 between Doss and Harper was flooded — with 1.5 feet of water over the roadway.

Radar-indicated rainfall estimates were over 4″ in one isolated rural location nearby, but unfortunately we do not have any rain gauges in that spot.

Here are some actual rainfall totals from the LCRA Hydromet network of rain gauges, which you can always find on KXAN.com under the Weather tab.

8-30 RAIN

 


Texas Longhorns season opener forecast

August 30th, 2014 at 7:06 am by under Weather

8-30 game day

 

An area of low pressure is still spinning off the South Texas coast Saturday–close enough to provide a few showers and thunderstorms locally Saturday afternoon and evening.

Most of us are forecast to remain dry for tailgating and game time Saturday, but if these isolated storms do impact the area, they may contain brief heavy rain and dangerous lightning.

Remember, “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!” and of course, Hook ‘Em!


TS Cristobal update

August 24th, 2014 at 10:26 pm by under Weather

TS track

 

The latest from NHC:

BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM CRISTOBAL ADVISORY NUMBER 6
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL042014
1100 PM EDT SUN AUG 24 2014

…CRISTOBAL MOVING SLOWLY NORTHWARD WITH NO CHANGE IN STRENGTH…
SUMMARY OF 1100 PM EDT…0300 UTC…INFORMATION
———————————————–
LOCATION…24.8N 73.1W
ABOUT 105 MI…165 KM ENE OF SAN SALVADOR
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…45 MPH…75 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…N OR 350 DEGREES AT 5 MPH…7 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…998 MB…29.47 INCHES
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
——————–
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY…

NONE.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT…

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR…
* CENTRAL BAHAMAS…INCLUDING CAT ISLAND…THE EXUMAS…LONG
ISLAND…RUM CAY…AND SAN SALVADOR

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TS Cristobal forms in the Atlantic

August 24th, 2014 at 9:19 am by under Weather

TS track

The latest from the National Hurricane Center as of 9 AM Sunday:

…CRISTOBAL RE-FORMS A LITTLE TO THE NORTHEAST…
…STILL MOVING NORTHWESTWARD NEAR THE SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS…

SUMMARY OF 800 AM EDT…1200 UTC…INFORMATION
———————————————-
LOCATION…23.0N 73.0W
ABOUT 40 MI…60 KM N OF MAYAGUANA ISLAND
ABOUT 135 MI…215 KM ESE OF LONG ISLAND
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…45 MPH…75 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT…NW OR 325 DEGREES AT 9 MPH…15 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…1001 MB…29.56 INCHES
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
——————–
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY…

NONE.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT…

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR…
* SOUTHEASTERN BAHAMAS…INCLUDING THE ACKLINS…CROOKED
ISLAND…LONG CAY…THE INAGUAS…MAYAGUANA…AND THE RAGGED
ISLANDS…AS WELL AS FOR THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
* CENTRAL BAHAMAS…INCLUDING CAT ISLAND…THE EXUMAS…LONG
ISLAND…RUM CAY…AND SAN SALVADOR

INTERESTS IN THE NORTHWESTERN BAHAMAS SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS
OF THIS SYSTEM. A TROPICAL STORM WATCH COULD BE REQUIRED FOR
THIS AREA LATER TODAY.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA…PLEASE MONITOR
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE. (more…)


Dangerous heat continues this weekend

August 22nd, 2014 at 3:40 pm by under Weather

8-22 Heat Adv

 

HEAT ADVISORY has been extended through Saturday evening for Fayette County — where dangerous heat is forecast to continue this weekend.

Throughout the rest of Central Texas, expect “feels like” temperatures as high as 104º Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Stay cool!

Read more from the National Weather Service:

FAYETTE-WILSON-KARNES-GONZALES-DE WITT-LAVACA-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...LA GRANGE...FLORESVILLE...KARNES CITY...
GONZALES...CUERO...HALLETTSVILLE
314 PM CDT FRI AUG 22 2014

...HEAT ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 PM CDT SATURDAY...

* TEMPERATURE...HEAT INDICES OF 105 TO 108 DEGREES DURING THE
  AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING HOURS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY WITH LOWS
  FRIDAY NIGHT IN THE UPPER 70S TO NEAR 80 DEGREES.

* IMPACTS...EXTENDED OUTDOOR ACTIVITY COULD LEAD TO
  DEHYDRATION...HEAT EXHAUSTION OR HEAT STROKE IF PROPER
  PRECAUTIONS ARE NOT TAKEN.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN
POSSIBLE...RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR
EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT
STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN
POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR
WORK THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS
SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS IN SHADED OR AIR CONDITIONED
ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL
AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKE IS AN EMERGENCY...CALL 911.

Hill Country enjoys Sunday rain, others stay dry

August 17th, 2014 at 8:41 pm by under Weather

hydro

 

Two rounds of thunderstorms–one early Sunday morning in Mason and San Saba counties and another Sunday afternoon in Lampasas, Burnet and Llano counties–brought measurable rain to much of the western and northern Hill Country.

The LCRA hydromet map above shows the distribution of Sunday’s rainfall (and which lakes the rain eventually flows into).

The luckiest spots, mainly in San Saba and Lampasas counties, saw over an inch of rain in a few isolated locations. The heavy downpours led to brief concerns of low-water crossing/creek flooding, although no major problems were reported.

Though most of Sunday’s rain will be absorbed by the drought-stricken soil in the Hill Country, minor river inflows could feed Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake and Lake LBJ.


San Marcos enters STAGE 4 water restrictions

August 17th, 2014 at 5:15 am by under Weather

SM water

Central Texas water users are facing unprecedented pumping restrictions by the Edwards Aquifer Authority.

The authority announced Stage 4 restrictions that mandates users in Bexar and Medina counties, and parts of Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays counties to reduce water use by 40-percent because of low water levels and lingering hot and dry weather. The aquifer dropped to 628.9 feet above sea level Monday. That’s its lowest level in nearly 20 years.

The aquifer services municipal utilities, agriculture and industrial customers in seven counties. Cities are considering purchasing water from other providers and tightening conservation requirements.

San Marcos city officials said Stage 4 restrictions will be implemented TODAY, Sunday, at noon. These are the stiffest water rules the city has faced and mean enforcement teams will be increasing their patrols.

Enforcement teams had issued 159 notices of violation and 24 second notices by the end of July, but had not levied any fines. Punishment for violating the restrictions ranges between $120 per day and $1,000 per day, for repeat offenders. San Marcos gets 93 percent of its water from Canyon Lake, but restrictions sill apply to all residents despite the city drawing just a small portion of water from the aquifer.

Water Restrictions:

Under Stage 4, use of sprinklers will be limited to one day every other week on a designated weekday between 6-10 a.m. or 8 p.m.-midnight.

Designated sprinkler weeks are as follows:

  • No sprinklers on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • August 18 -22 – No sprinklers.
  • August 25 – 29 – Sprinklers allowed on designated weekday and times.
  • September 1 – 5 – No sprinklers.
  • September 8 – 12 – Sprinklers allowed on designated weekday and times.

Designated weekday by last number of address:

  • 0 or 1 – Monday
  • 2 or 3 – Tuesday
  • 4 or 5 – Wednesday
  • 6 or 7 – Thursday
  • 8 or 9 – Friday

Soaker hose and drip irrigation are allowed one day per week on the designated weekday before 10 a.m. or after 8 p.m. Hand watering is allowed on any day before 10 a.m. or after 8 p.m.

Stage 4 rules prohibit water waste, washing impervious surfaces, filling swimming pools, and using decorative water features. Foundation watering is allowed one day per week on the designated weekday before 10 am or after 8 pm, and only by soaker hose or hand-held hose.