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Hurricane remnants bring flooding rain to Central Texas

September 19th, 2014 at 9:51 am by under Weather

For the past three days, the remnants of Hurricane Odile have sent periodic rounds of heavy rainfall into Central Texas.

Parts of our area have now seen more rainfall than anywhere in Arizona, New Mexico, or West Texas (areas more directly affected by the ex-hurricane’s circulation).

Check out the rainfall totals below from the past week (courtesy LCRA, also available sorted by which lake the water flows into here) to see if your neighborhood was one of the lucky ones:

9-19 Rain hill co

9-19 rain metro

9-19 rain east

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Dangerous category 4 Hurricane Odile heading for Baja Peninsula

September 14th, 2014 at 4:12 pm by under Weather

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:58 PM GMT on September 14, 2014

Hurricane Warnings are flying for Mexico’s Baja Peninsula as dangerous Category 4 Hurricane Odile approaches.

Odile put on an impressive burst of rapid intensification Saturday night, going from a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds to a Category 4 storm with 135 mph winds in just 24 hours. Satellite loops show that Odile has likely topped out in strength, but the storm has a large area of very intense eyewall thunderstorms and a prominent eye.  Odile’s heavy rains have mostly remained offshore of Mexico, though an outer spiral band brushed the Southwest coast of Mainland Mexico on Saturday, bringing 0.31″ of a rain and a wind gust of 32 mph to Manzanillo. Baja will not be so lucky.

The eyewall of Odile is likely to pass over or just to the west of the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula just before midnight PDT Sunday night. The 11 am EDT Sunday NHC Wind Probability Forecast gave Cabo San Lucason the southwestern tip of the Baja Peninsula a 99% chance of seeing tropical storm-force winds of 39+ mph, and a 47% chance of hurricane-force winds. These odds were 98% and 19%, respectively forSan Jose del Cabo, about 30 miles farther to the northeast. Tropical moisture flowing northwards from Odile’s circulation is likely to bring heavy rains to Northern Mexico and the Southwest U.S. late this week. An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft will investigate Odile Sunday afternoon.


Figure 1. MODIS satellite image of Hurricane Odile off the coast of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, taken at approximately 4 pm EDT Saturday September 13, 2014. At the time, Odile was a Category 1 storm with 90 mph winds. Image credit: NASA.

Links
Mexican radar
Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa webcam in Cabo San Lucas

An incredibly active year for major Eastern Pacific hurricanes
Odile’s intensification into a Category 4 storm gives the Eastern Pacific east of 140°W seven major hurricanes so far this year. With the season typically only about two-thirds over by September 14, we have a decent chance of tying or beating the record of eight intense hurricanes in a season, set in 1992. The 2014 tally for the Eastern Pacific east of 140°W currently stands at 15 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 7 intense hurricanes. An average Eastern Pacific hurricane season sees 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes during the entire year. The records for total number of named storms, hurricanes, and intense hurricanes were all set in 1992, with 25 named storms, 14 hurricanes, and 8 intense hurricanes. If we include the Central Pacific between 140°W and 180°W, these record tallies in 1992 were 28 named storms, 16 hurricanes, and 10 intense hurricanes, compared with the 2014 totals of 15 named storms, 11 hurricanes, and 8 intense hurricanes (Genevieve did not become a hurricane and then major hurricane until it crossed from the Eastern Pacific into the Central Pacific.) What’s really remarkable about the 2014 season is the proportion of named storms that have intensified to major hurricane strength: 8 of 15, or more than 50%. That’s really difficult to do, particularly when the cold water wakes left behind by previous major hurricanes chill down the sea surface temperatures.


Keep Austin Beautiful Lake Travis cleanup today

September 14th, 2014 at 5:25 am by under Weather

9-14 KAB FCAST

Join Keep Austin Beautiful, Travis County, and Colorado River Alliance for the biggest scuba diving and shoreline cleanup in Texas. Cleanup of the shoreline and bottom of Lake Travis is followed by a volunteer party featuring free lunch, music, and children’s activities. All volunteers receive a free t-shirt!
UNDERWATER AND SHORELINE CLEANUP 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014
9:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M.
  • Register here to volunteer along a park shoreline or at the volunteer appreciation party
  • For information about registering as a dive capitan or volunteer, click here
  • See site list below for cleanup locations
  • For questions about volunteering, please email or call Ivey at 512-391-0617 x 906
Shoreline Volunteer Sites DiveVolunteers Sites
  • Arkansas Bend
  • Bob Wentz at Windy Point
  • Cypress Creek
  • Low Water Crossing
  • Mansfield Dam Park
  • Mansfield Dam Overlook
  • Pace Bend
  • Sandy Creek
  • Tom Hughes
  • Hippie Hollow
  • Starnes Island (North, South, East)
  • Sometimes Island
  • Oasis Bluff (Tom Hughes)
  • Bob Wentz at Windy Point
  • Hippie Hollow (East, West)
  • Mansfield Dam
Volunteer Thank You Party

Sunday, September 14, 2014
11:00 A.M. – 1:30 P.M.
The Oasis on Lake Travis, 6500 Comanche Trail, 78732

After the cleanup, join us at The Oasis on Lake Travis for the Volunteer Appreciation Party featuring free lunch, live music, Finley the Fish’s dance moves, kids’ activities, most unique object contest, and door prizes!
To volunteer at the party, please register here. Volunteer tasks include serving food, handing out t-shirts, and bringing Finley the Fish to life!

Last year’s Lake Travis Underwater Cleanup:

On Sunday, September 15th, 2013, 1,015 volunteers geared up with wetsuits, scuba tanks, trash bags, and gloves to clean Lake Travis above and below water. From the shoreline and depths of Lake Travis, volunteers collected 1.6 tons of trash finding everything from common keys, glasses, cell phones (including iPhones), pull tabs, a boat motor, and shoes to more bizarre tweezers, a 20-year-old cassette tape, men’s whitey tighty underwear, a crankshaft, and a stainless steel grill. But the most unusual shoreline item of all, a pink flamingo cemented in a bucket, was found by Pack 205, who won a two-hour chartered sailing trip prize for their find. The value of volunteer time (2,500 hours) totals $55,000, plus the $20 bill found during the cleanup at Starnes Island.

View results from past events: 2012, 201120102009, and 2008

How the game of golf adapts to global warming

September 13th, 2014 at 9:24 am by under Weather

(Scientific American)

Hot weather combined with intense downpours – one of the signature signs of a changing climate – has flummoxed duffers and greenskeepers alike on East Coast golf courses. But don’t handicap them yet
Aug 18, 2014 |By Marianne Lavelle and ClimateWire
turf grass

The USGA has spent about $35 million since the mid-’80s on scientific research for improved and more resilient turf grass.
Credit: Simon Jardine via Flickr

Want to see the future of turf grass? It’s growing at Rutgers University in a “library” of grasses on thousands of 4-foot by 6-foot research plots – 12,000 plots exclusively for bent grasses destined for golf courses.

Samples come from around the world, especially Europe, where most turf grasses used in the United States originate. University researchers work with some 25 seed companies to develop new varieties; the university earns royalties through licensing and marketing agreements.

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Curiosity captures clouds on Mars

September 9th, 2014 at 9:30 pm by under Weather

From IFL Science:

September 8, 2014 | by Janet Fang

photo credit: Clouds that are probably composed of ice crystals and possibly supercooled water droplets were caught in images by NASA’s Opportunity rover / NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell

Having just celebrated its two-year anniversary on the Red Planet back in August, NASA’s Curiosity has rolled in another achievement: capturing images of Martian clouds.

Last week, @MarsCuriosity shared this photo (right) and tweeted: “Head for the hills! I’m driving towards these hills on Mars to do geology work & also search for clouds.”

During its first year, the rover fulfilled its goal of determining whether Mars had environmental conditions favorable for microbial life when it found sedimentary rocks containing clay, suggesting that a lakebed existed billions of years ago. Then, in its second year, Curiosity drove towards its long-term science destination on the lower slopes of Mount Sharp at the center of Gale Crater.

By turning its instruments skyward, the rover hopes to shed light on weather patterns that have helped shape the climate on Mars. “Clouds are part of the planet’s climate system,”Robert Haberle of NASA Ames tells Astrobiology Magazine. “Their behavior tells us about winds and temperatures.” Winds are the primary mechanism that shaped the planet’s surface for the past three to four billion years, he adds.

The wind-blown Martian clouds captured by Curiosity are probably composed of ice crystals and supercooled water droplets—yet another indication of ancient Martian life. “Some studies suggest that clouds in the past may have significantly warmed the planet through a greenhouse effect,” Haberle explains. “A warmer environment is more conducive to life.”

[Via Astrobio.net]

Correction: NASA’s Opportunity took the cloud image above in 2006. https://twitter.com/MarsCuriosity/status/509123819835895809


Better weather forecasts mean fewer airline delays, less turbulence

September 8th, 2014 at 7:40 pm by under Weather

NY Times:

Amanda Terborg, an Aviation Weather Center meteorologist in Kansas City, Mo. CreditDan Gill for The New York Times

Just a few years ago, airlines got their weather reports by telex. Pilots pored over reams of paper and compared the forecasts with their flight plans. Once airborne, they depended on radio communications and rudimentary radar to avoid bad weather.

Now, pilots download detailed flight plans and weather reports full of intricate graphics onto tablet devices. Flight dispatchers track aircraft in real time and provide up-to-the minute weather data. New generations of airplane radar systems allow for easy in-flight adjustments.

The result? Fewer of the bumps, jolts and spilled drinks that have been a part of flying ever since the Wright Brothers.

“The secret sauce is how you use the information,” said Tim Campbell, senior vice president for air operations at American Airlines. “Fundamentally, it’s only a forecast and it’s still weather.

Stronger computing power, improved satellite and radar technology and more sophisticated scientific models have all given airlines a more detailed understanding of flying conditions. This means they can better plan their operations before flights — for instance by canceling flights early and avoiding stranding passengers at airports. During flights, they can better navigate around storms and avoid turbulence.

The Aviation Weather Center. CreditDan Gill for The New York Times

Weather accounted for 36 percent of all airline delays in 2013, down from 50 percent in 2003, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

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Beneficial overnight rain soaks much of the area

September 7th, 2014 at 9:07 am by under Weather

A slow-moving cold front combined with tropical moisture from Hurricane Norbert over Central Texas to produce wetting rain late Saturday through early Sunday morning.

Check out some of the luckiest–and most unlucky–communities in terms of rainfall totals below, or browse the list yourself here. Rain totals are as of 9 AM Sunday.

9-7 hill co rain

 

9-7 metro rain

 

9-7 east rain


Localized flash flooding possible tonight

September 6th, 2014 at 7:23 pm by under Weather

9-6 omni

 

As a slow-moving cold front interacts with deep, tropical moisture overnight tonight — the stage could be set for localized heavy rainfall and flash flooding.

Our exclusive in-house high-resolution model, pictured above, is forecasting the possibility of several hours of heavy, slow-moving thunderstorms in parts of Central Texas (including Metro Austin) from around 12:30am until 4am Sunday morning.

If this situation does play out, we could face problems with overnight flash flooding.

Find more details on your First Warning Forecast here, and in the below discussions courtesy of the NOAA Hydrometeorological Prediction Center and the National Weather Service:

NWS:

LATER TONIGHT...A COLD FRONT OVER NORTH TEXAS IS EXPECTED TO
MOVE INTO THE HILL COUNTRY AND BRING AN ADDITIONAL FOCUS FOR RAIN
LATE THIS EVENING INTO THE OVERNIGHT HOURS. THE COLD FRONT...AS
WELL AS ASSOCIATED OUTFLOW BOUNDARIES FROM CONVECTION...IS EXPECTED
TO PRODUCE HEAVY RAIN AND POSSIBLE LOCALIZED FLOODING. THESE AREAS
ARE GENERALLY NORTH OF A LINE FROM DEL RIO TO SEGUIN TO LEXINGTON.
THE REASONING OF POSSIBLE LOCALIZED FLOODING IS DUE TO SLOW MOVING
STORM MOTION/STEERING FLOW WHICH COULD RESULT IN RAINFALL AMOUNTS
OF 1 TO 3 INCHES WITH UP TO 5 INCHES POSSIBLE. THE TIMING IS FROM
ABOUT 7 PM TO 4 AM SUNDAY MORNING. BY SUNDAY MORNING...THE COLD
FRONT SHOULD BE EXITING OUR SOUTHERN COUNTIES WITH ISOLATED
SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS LINGERING IN THE WAKE OF THE FRONT
MAINLY ALONG INTERSTATE 35 AND EASTERN COUNTIES.

NOAA HPC (technical):

...CENTRAL TEXAS...

THE BULK OF THE PCPN CURRENTLY ACROSS THE SRN PLAINS IS
ANAFRONTAL...HOWEVER...PER THE MOST RECENT STLT/RADAR TRENDS AHEAD
OF THE SFC COLD FRONT...SUPPORTED BY THE LATEST MESOSCALE
GUIDANCE...EXPECT A SWATH OF SLOW-MOVING CONVECTION TO ORGANIZE
ALONG AND AHEAD OF THE COLD FRONT ACROSS CENTRAL TEXAS WHERE THE
THERMODYNAMIC PROFILE IS MUCH MORE SUPPORTIVE OF A HEAVY RAINFALL
THREAT. THIS AS PRECIPITABLE WATER VALUES POOL NEAR 2.00 INCHES
ALONG THE FRONT...COUPLED WITH THE AVAILABLE DEEP-LAYER INSTBY
WITH MUCAPES BETWEEN 1500-2500 J/KG. WEAK OVERALL FLOW...INCLUDING
THE LLVL INFLOW...WITH 0-6 KM BULK SHEAR VALUES GENERALLY 15 KTS
OR LESS WILL LIMIT THE ORGANIZATION/DURATION OF DEVELOPING
CONVECTION...HOWEVER AS PER THE HIGH RES GUIDANCE HOURLY/3- HOURLY
RAINFALL RATES OF 2.5/3-5 INCHES RESPECTIVELY COULD CERTAINLY
TRIGGER ISOLATED RUNOFF ISSUES DESPITE THE CURRENT HIGH FLASH
FLOOD GUIDANCE.

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.