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Anniversary Of The First Image of Earth From Space

October 24th, 2014 at 10:53 am by under Weather

Today in 1946, the very 1st image of Earth from beyond the atmosphere was captured…  At the time it was an extraordinary feat.  Look how far we have come since.  Here is an article from NASA about getting there, and what their work has led to since.

 

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The First Photo From Space

In 1946, rocket-borne cameras gave us our first look at Earth from beyond the atmosphere

By Tony Reichhardt
AIR & SPACE MAGAZINE

On October 24, 1946, not long after the end of World War II and years before the Sputnik satellite opened the space age, a group of soldiers and scientists in the New Mexico desert saw something new and wonderful—the first pictures of Earth as seen from space.

 

First

FROM THIS STORY

The grainy, black-and-white photos were taken from an altitude of 65 miles by a 35-millimeter motion picture camera riding on a V-2 missile launched from the White Sands Missile Range. Snapping a new frame every second and a half, the rocket-borne camera climbed straight up, then fell back to Earth minutes later, slamming into the ground at 500 feet per second. The camera itself was smashed, but the film, protected in a steel cassette, was unharmed.

Fred Rulli was a 19-year-old enlisted man assigned to the recovery team that drove into the desert to retrieve film from those early V-2 shots. When the scientists found the cassette in good shape, he recalls, “They were ecstatic, they were jumping up and down like kids.” Later, back at the launch site, “when they first projected [the photos] onto the screen, the scientists just went nuts.”

Before 1946, the highest pictures ever taken of the Earth’s surface were from the Explorer II balloon, which had ascended 13.7 miles in 1935, high enough to discern the curvature of the Earth. The V-2 cameras reached more than five times that altitude, where they clearly showed the planet set against the blackness of space. When the movie frames were stitched together, Clyde Holliday, the engineer who developed the camera, wrote in National Geographic in 1950, the V-2 photos showed for the first time “how our Earth would look to visitors from another planet coming in on a space ship.” (See a panorama from a July 1948 V-2 shot here.)

It was one of many firsts for the V-2 research program of the late 1940s, during which the Army fired dozens of captured German missiles brought to White Sands in 300 railroad cars at the end of the war. While the missileers used the V-2s to refine their own rocket designs, scientists were invited to pack instruments inside the nosecone to study temperatures, pressures, magnetic fields and other physical characteristics of the unexplored upper atmosphere.

Holliday worked for the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), alongside pioneering space scientists like James Van Allen and S. Fred Singer, both of whom would later be involved in planning the first U.S. satellites. Singer—better known today as a dogged skeptic of global warming with the Science and Environmental Policy Project in Arlington, Virginia—would analyze the photos that came back from the V-2 cameras to determine the rocket’s orientation to the Earth, a job he remembers as “quite difficult.” The missile engineers needed to know how the rocket was steering through the upper atmosphere, and the scientists wanted to determine from which direction cosmic rays hitting their instruments were coming. Hardly anyone was interested in what the pictures revealed about geography or meteorology, at least not at first. “We considered clouds to be a nuisance,” says Singer.

But Holliday, an instrument specialist at APL, well understood the importance of the photos for the study of Earth. Cy O’Brien, who worked in the lab’s public affairs office beginning in 1950, says Holliday was “in an environment with super-Ph.D.s, and he wanted to make clear that photography was a science, too.”

Holliday’s discussion of the photos therefore leaned toward the technical. In those days before Walt Disney and Collier’s magazine planted the idea of space exploration in the public imagination, he was even sparing with his use of the term “space.” The V-2 photos, he wrote in 1950, were taken in “the little-known reaches of the upper air.” Today, even though the definition is somewhat arbitrary, anything above 100 kilometers (62.5 miles) is considered space.

More than 1,000 Earth pictures were returned from V-2s between 1946 and 1950, from altitudes as high as 100 miles. The photos, showing huge expanses of the American southwest, appeared in newspapers and were scrutinized by scientists from the U.S. Weather Bureau. In his National Geographic article, Holliday offered a few predictions as to where it all might lead: “Results of these tests now are pointing to a time when cameras may be mounted on guided missiles for scouting enemy territory in war, mapping inaccessible regions of the earth in peacetime, and even photographing cloud formations, storm fronts, and overcast areas over an entire continent in a few hours.” Going out on a limb, he speculated that “the entire land area of the globe might be mapped in this way.”

Fred Rulli, the former member of the camera recovery team, now counts himself lucky to have been in the “select group” that saw the first pictures from space as they came in. At 19, it seemed to him like just another Army job. But he recalls a friend at White Sands, another soldier—60 years later he’s forgotten his name—who was more alive to the future unfolding in front of them. Pointing to the rockets, the scientists and the clear New Mexico sky, the friend would turn to Rulli and say with amazement, “Do you realize what’s going on here?”

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NOAA WINTER OUTLOOK

October 16th, 2014 at 12:25 pm by under Weather

NOAANOAA: Another warm winter likely for western U.S., South may see colder weather

Repeat of last year’s extremely cold, snowy winter east of Rockies unlikely

October 16, 2014

Below average temperatures are favored in parts of the south-central and southeastern United States, while above-average temperatures are most likely in the western U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and New England, according to the U.S. Winter Outlook, issued today by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

While drought may improve in some portions of the U.S. this winter, California’s record-setting drought will likely persist or intensify in large parts of the state. Nearly 60 percent of California is suffering from exceptional drought – the worst category – with 2013 being the driest year on record. Also, 2012 and 2013 rank in the top 10 of California’s warmest years on record, and 2014 is shaping up to be California’s warmest year on record. Winter is the wet season in California, so mountainous snowfall will prove crucial for drought recovery. Drought is expected to improve in California’s southern and northwestern regions, but improvement is not expected until December or January.
Precip
Temps
“Complete drought recovery in California this winter is highly unlikely. While we’re predicting at least a 2 in 3 chance that winter precipitation will be near or above normal throughout the state, with such widespread, extreme deficits, recovery will be slow,” said Mike Halpert, acting director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “This outlook gives the public valuable information, allowing them to make informed decisions and plans for the season. It’s an important tool as we build a Weather-Ready Nation.”

El Niño, an ocean-atmospheric phenomenon in the Tropical Pacific that affects global weather patterns, may still develop this winter. Climate Prediction Center forecasters announced on Oct. 9 that the ocean and atmospheric coupling necessary to declare an El Niño has not yet happened, so they continued the El Niño Watch with a 67 percent chance of development by the end of the year. While strong El Niño episodes often pull more moisture into California over the winter months, this El Niño is expected to be weak, offering little help.

The Precipitation Outlook favors above-average precipitation across the southern tier, from the southern half of California, across the Southwest, South-central, and Gulf Coast states, Florida, and along the eastern seaboard to Maine. Above-average precipitation also is favored in southern Alaska and the Alaskan panhandle. Below-average precipitation is favored in Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest.
Last year’s winter was exceptionally cold and snowy across most of the United States, east of the Rockies. A repeat of this extreme pattern is unlikely this year, although the Outlook does favor below-average temperatures in the south-central and southeastern states.
In addition, the Temperature Outlook favors warmer-than-average temperatures in the Western U.S., extending from the west coast through most of the inter-mountain west and across the U.S.-Canadian border through New York and New England, as well as Alaska and Hawaii.
The rest of the country falls into the “equal chance” category, meaning that there is not a strong enough climate signal for these areas to make a prediction, so they have an equal chance for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and/or precipitation.
The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, updated today and valid through January, predicts drought removal or improvement in portions of California, the Central and Southern Plains, the desert Southwest, and portions of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  Drought is likely to persist or intensify in portions of California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Washington state. New drought development is likely in northeast Oregon, eastern Washington state, and small portions of Idaho and western Montana.
This seasonal outlook does not project where and when snowstorms may hit or provide total seasonal snowfall accumulations. Snow forecasts are dependent upon the strength and track of winter storms, which are generally not predictable more than a week in advance.

Tropical Update!

October 11th, 2014 at 9:55 am by under Weather

During the newscasts the past few days we have had very limited time, if any at all, to discuss what is happening in the tropics.  With ACL, The Red River Showdown, and the pair of cold fronts we have been tracking, it has certainly been a wild weekend (it’s only Saturday morning).  With that being said, there is still plenty to cover from the Atlantic where we have one Tropical Storm churning away, and two other clusters of storms that are showing at least some potential for possible tropical development.  We’ll get to those in a moment.

 

But first… in the Pacific… we have this…..

Vongfong, as a super typhoon on Thursday, Oct. 9, viewed from the International Space Station (Photo/International Space Station).

Vongfong, as a super typhoon on Thursday, Oct. 9, viewed from the International Space Station (Photo/International Space Station).

Now THAT is one serious storm.  This is Typhoon Vongfong.  Vongfong was classified as a super typhoon during the middle of the week as it moved through an area of low wind shear and very warm ocean temperatures but has since lost that title. The tropical system had reached the equivalent strength of a Category 5 hurricane, featuring wind speeds greater than 257 kph (160 mph).  It at one point became the strongest tropical cyclone on Earth this year.  Since then it has weakened a bit, but Vongfong still has plans to wreak havoc in the Pacific:

The storm will weaken as it moves over the southern islands and eventually over the Japanese mainland.  Picture courtesy of Accuweather.com

The storm will weaken as it moves over the southern islands and eventually over the Japanese mainland. Picture courtesy of Accuweather.com

The islands south of Japan look to likely get the worst of the storm.  Picture courtesy of Accuweather.com

The islands south of Japan look to likely get the worst of the storm. Picture courtesy of Accuweather.com

 

Ok now back to the Atlantic.  First the two “potential tropical systems.”  

atlantic

Here is what we have on “1″ and “2″ from the National Hurricane Center.

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
800 AM EDT SAT OCT 11 2014

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

The National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on Tropical
Storm Fay, located several hundred miles south of Bermuda.

1. Disorganized shower activity continues in association with a
tropical wave located several hundred miles east of the Leeward
Islands. While no significant development of this system appears
likely during the next day or two, environmental conditions are
expected to be conducive for tropical cyclone formation by early
next week.  This disturbance should move generally west-
northwestward at about 10 mph during the next several days, and
interests in the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola should
monitor its progress.
* Formation chance through 48 hours...low...20 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days...high...60 percent.

2. Widespread but disorganized showers and thunderstorms, located
several hundred miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, are associated
with a westward-moving tropical wave.  Upper-level winds are not
favorable, and significant development of this system remains
unlikely.
* Formation chance through 48 hours...low...10 percent.
* Formation chance through 5 days...low...10 percent.

 

Finally…. Fay….

fay track

 

DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
------------------------------
AT 1100 AM AST...1500 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM FAY WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 27.9 NORTH...LONGITUDE 65.3 WEST. FAY IS
MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH NEAR 16 MPH...26 KM/H.  A GRADUAL INCREASE
IN FORWARD SPEED IS EXPECTED LATER TODAY...FOLLOWED BY A TURN TOWARD
THE NORTHEAST WITH A FURTHER INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED ON SUNDAY.
ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE CENTER OF FAY IS EXPECTED TO PASS
JUST TO THE SOUTHEAST AND EAST OF BERMUDA BY EARLY SUNDAY MORNING.

REPORTS FROM AN AIR FORCE RESERVE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT INDICATE
THAT MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 70 MPH...110 KM/H...WITH
HIGHER GUSTS.  NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN STRENGTH IS FORECAST DURING
THE NEXT 24 TO 36 HOURS...AND FAY IS EXPECTED TO BE ABSORBED BY A
COLD FRONT ON MONDAY.

TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 150 MILES...240 KM
FROM THE CENTER.

THE MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE RECENTLY MEASURED BY RECONNAISSANCE
AIRCRAFT WAS 991 MB...29.27 INCHES.

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
WIND...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED ON BERMUDA BY LATE
AFTERNOON AND EVENING.

RAINFALL...FAY IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL ACCUMULATIONS
OF 2 TO 4 INCHES ACROSS BERMUDA.

SURF...LARGE SWELLS GENERATED BY FAY WILL AFFECT PORTIONS OF THE
SOUTH-FACING SHORES OF BERMUDA THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING. THESE SWELLS
ARE LIKELY TO CAUSE LIFE-THREATENING SURF AND RIP CURRENT
CONDITIONS. PLEASE CONSULT PRODUCTS FROM YOUR LOCAL WEATHER OFFICE.

 


When do we expect the chance for severe weather in your area? Here ya go!!

October 2nd, 2014 at 12:29 pm by under Weather

Best Times For Severe Weather In Your Area

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Severe Weather Potential Thursday Night

October 1st, 2014 at 8:25 am by under Weather

spc

This is the latest Categorical Outlook map for severe weather from the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK.  They show the KXAN viewing area inside of the tail end of the yellow “slight risk” area for severe weather.  This means the potential for storms including gusty winds large hail, and heavy downpours will be around Thursday night.  Here is the latest write-up from the National Weather service:

SPC AC 010424
DAY 2 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK  
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1124 PM CDT TUE SEP 30 2014

   VALID 021200Z - 031200Z

   ...THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS FROM THE MIDWEST TO CNTRL TX...

   ...SUMMARY...
   BAND OF THUNDERSTORMS SHOULD FORM ALONG COLD FRONT AS IT PROGRESSES
   ACROSS THE PLAINS INTO THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY.  DAMAGING WIND GUSTS
   ARE THE PRIMARY SEVERE THREAT WITH THE STRONGEST STORMS.

   ...MIDWEST TO CNTRL TX...

   LOW LATITUDE SHORT-WAVE TROUGH WILL EJECT ACROSS THE SRN
   ROCKIES/HIGH PLAINS EARLY IN THE PERIOD BEFORE EJECTING RAPIDLY NEWD
   INTO THE LOWER OH VALLEY AFTER MIDNIGHT.  PRIMARY FEATURE
   RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS RAPID EJECTION IS AN INTENSIFYING SPEED MAX
   THAT WILL DIG INTO THE CNTRL PLAINS BY 03/12Z.  THIS SECONDARY
   FEATURE SHOULD AID DEEPENING CYCLONE/SHARPENING FRONTAL BOUNDARY
   OVER THE UPPER GREAT LAKES LATE.

   ALTHOUGH FRONTAL INTENSIFICATION IS NOT EXPECTED UNTIL LATE IN THE
   PERIOD...CONVECTION IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ALONG PROGRESSIVE
   BOUNDARY BEGINNING FAIRLY EARLY IN THE PERIOD.  LATEST MODEL
   GUIDANCE SUGGEST AMPLE BOUNDARY LAYER MOISTURE WILL ADVANCE AS FAR
   NORTH AS NRN IL BY LATE AFTERNOON WITH PW VALUES AOA 1.5 INCHES. 
   WHAT LITTLE CINH IS OBSERVED AT 12Z AHEAD OF THE FRONT WILL DIMINISH
   BY 17-18Z SUCH THAT THUNDERSTORMS SHOULD READILY DEVELOP ALONG WIND
   SHIFT ACROSS ERN KS/OK.  THIS ACTIVITY SHOULD MATURE INTO A
   EXTENSIVE SQUALL LINE STRETCHING FROM THE MID MS VALLEY...SWWD INTO
   NERN TX BY LATE AFTERNOON.  GREATEST BUOYANCY IS EXPECTED TO RESIDE
   FROM THE OZARK PLATEAU SWWD INTO TX AND HAIL IS MOST LIKELY ALONG
   THIS PORTION OF THE SQUALL LINE.  MEAN SWLY WIND WILL BE ON THE
   ORDER OF 30-35KT...MORE THAN ADEQUATE FOR PROGRESSIVE SQUALL LINE
   THAT SHOULD ADVANCE TOWARD THE MS RIVER DURING THE EVENING HOURS. 
   WHILE DEEP LAYER SHEAR IS MORE THAN ADEQUATE FOR DEEP
   ROTATION...STORM MODE FAVORS LINEAR DEVELOPMENT AND DAMAGING WINDS
   ARE THE PRIMARY SEVERE THREAT.

Also dont forget to follow along with the storms 24/7 with our Interactive Radar!


The Butterfly Effect

September 26th, 2014 at 9:43 pm by under Weather

Sorry Ashton fans, we’re not talking about the movie.  Rather, an event that had NWS members scratching their heads.   Meteorological minds were bending to figure out what could possibly be the cause of a blue “blob” that was showing up on their St. Louis radar.  Eventually, they figured it out.  The came to the conclusion that it wasn’t rain, snow, sleet, or hail.   Here’s the article explaining their theory of the mysterious blue blob  from USA Today.

 

blue blob

A swarm of butterflies, winging its way south for the winter, was “spotted” as large blue blobs on weather radar last week over southern Illinois and central Missouri.

“We think these targets are Monarch butterflies,” the National Weather Service in St. Louis noted on its Facebook page, which also includes a technical explanation of how the weather service came to this conclusion.

The monarchs were flapping their way south toward their winter home in Mexico. As noted earlier this year, the colorful insects were under stress this spring because of ongoing drought, an unusually cold winter and a lack of milkweed, their primary food source.

This isn’t the first time weather radar has “seen” bugs this year: Both grasshoppers in New Mexico and mayflies in Wisconsin were spotted on radar.

Scientists are finding that weather radar is proving useful to track birds, bats and insects. While this information is just clutter to the weather folks, it is just the thing biologists need to study the activities of flying creatures, a science newly christened “aeroecology.”

As for the butterflies, the weather service in St. Louis wished “good luck and a safe journey to these amazing little creatures on their long journey south!”

butterflys


A Few Models, Our Outlook Thusfar, & The Latest NWS Write-Up

September 17th, 2014 at 9:40 am by under Weather

 

 

HERE IS THE LATEST RELEASE FROM THE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE:

 

HEADLINE…Tropical air mass will bring threat of heavy rainfall and isolated flooding/flash flooding threat through Friday…

AREA OF CONCERN…Areas mainly east of a line from Rocksprings to Pleasanton.  This is roughly the eastern 2/3rds of South Central Texas.  This includes  the Hill Country, the I-35 Corridor from Austin to San Antonio, and the coastal plains east of I-35.

IMPACTS…Locally heavy rainfall with rain rates that may exceed 2-3 inches per hour.  Minor flooding, isolated flash flooding possible in those areas. Isolated rain totals of 3-5 inches.

TIMING…Peak of the thunderstorm activity should be Wednesday afternoon and evening.  While some decrease is expected overnight Wednesday, some activity will linger overnight.  A repeat is possible again on Thursday afternoon and evening.  Lesser chances on Friday.

CONFIDENCE…Moderate to High.

DISCUSSION…The atmosphere over South Central Texas is primed for locally heavy rainfall as moisture from what was once Hurricane Odile in the Pacific is spilling into the desert Southwest and portions of West Texas.  This mid and high level tropical moisture is combining with rich Gulf of Mexico moisture, setting the stage for shower and thunderstorm development later today…and again on Thursday and maybe even Friday.   While we are lacking a good trigger for storm development, daytime heating will be just enough of a trigger to develop scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms late this morning into this afternoon and evening.  Like we saw on Tuesday, the storms will be slow moving, while bringing rain rates of 2-3 inches per hour.  This will lead to urban type flooding of streets and drainages as well as small stream flooding.  We could easily see isolated rain totals of 3-5 inches today somewhere in South Central Texas.  Because there is no real good focus for storm development, we do not see any favored locations of where the heaviest rain might set up.
We will continue to watch the weather models and radar trends carefully the next 12-24 hours.  If trends become apparent, a Flash Flood Watch may be issued.

The storms are expected to be most numerous across the eastern 2/3rds of South Central Texas…mainly east of a Rocksprings to Pleasanton line. Look for the activity to peak during the late afternoon/early evening hours and then linger through the first part of the night, maybe even past midnight.  So isolated flash flooding may be occurring later tonight.  Remember that most of our Flash Flood Fatalities are related to driving at night.  Thursday will see a repeat of the storm activity, mainly firing with daytime heating.  Again we will carry the threat of isolated flooding/flash flooding with isolated totals of 3-5 inches possible.

Rain chances will finally decrease by Friday into Saturday although isolated to scattered storms are still possible.

We will need to watch this scenario closely.  Everybody associated with emergency management/road conditions/ etc…need to monitor the weather over the next 48 hours.  Whenever you are dealing with tropical moisture from left over tropical storms/hurricanes…it bears watching over South Central Texas.
You can see the latest forecasts and watches/warnings/advisories by going to the Austin-San Antonio National Weather Service website at www.weather.gov/austin
HERE ARE THE TOTALS BEING PREDICTED BY A FEW OF OUR IN HOUSE MODELS
(Through Saturday Evening)
This particular model is our high resolution (HD) 3km model.  As you can see it predicts a lengthy swath of heavy rain from Llano through eastern Fayette County.  It even brings roughly 6″ of rain to the Bastrop area by  6:00 pm Wednesday.  We are still a little hesitant with this outlook due to its rookie status on handling remnants of a tropical system stirring up the wet weather.  We shall see!
2-5 Thurs Details
Meanwhile the lower resolution house model shows much less rainfall over the next 30-36 hours.
1 SPC
Here is the what the NWS is leaning toward as we enter Friday morning:
1 SPC
Finally here is our current outlook from the First Warning Weather Center:
2-5 Thurs Details
REMEMBER:  TURN AROUND DON’T DROWN!!!!!!!!!

NWS Releases Statement About Weekend Rainfall

September 12th, 2014 at 5:08 am by under Weather
NOAA
HEADLINE  –  Locally heavy rain possible from late afternoon through sunset Saturday.

AREA OF CONCERN  -  All of South Central Texas this afternoon and tonight. The Rio Grande Plains on Saturday.

IMPACTS  -  Most locations will receive 1 to 2 inches of rain. Localized heavy rain up to 4 inches and minor flooding possible.  Friday night football games and Saturday youth sports leagues are at risk for lightning.

TIMING  -  The main threat time will be 4 pm this afternoon through 6 am Saturday morning.

CONFIDENCE  -  Moderate to High.

DISCUSSION  -  A tropical easterly wave, first strong cold front of the fall, and an upper level trough will produce widespread showers and thunderstorms from this afternoon through sunset Saturday. Nearly everyone will see significant rainfall, and some spots could receive up to 4 inches in the next 36 hours. Since the ground is still very dry and the rainfall expected to be spread out over a number of hours, life-threatening flash flooding is not expected, however, minor flooding of low-lying spots is likely.

The main safety concern is Friday night football games and Saturday youth sports leagues, especially for lightning safety, as well as travel impacts to/from games. Please encourage safety officials to have shelter and delay plans in place and be ready to act upon them. If buildings are not nearby, the best plan is for spectators to shelter in their vehicles until the storm passes. The safety rule is: If Thunder Roars, Go Indoors. If you hear thunder, you are close enough to be hit by lightning.

You can see the latest forecasts and watches/warnings/advisories by going to the Austin-San Antonio National Weather Service website at www.weather.gov/austin

1 SPC

Latest Hazardous Weather Statement From NWS

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS.

.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL IS POSSIBLE THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT
ACROSS ALL OF SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS. WIDESPREAD RAINFALL TOTALS
OF 1 TO 2 INCHES WILL BE POSSIBLE WITH ISOLATED TOTALS UP TO 4
INCHES.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...SATURDAY THROUGH THURSDAY.

THE THREAT FOR LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL CONTINUES SATURDAY. AN
ADDITIONAL HALF INCH TO AN INCH OF RAIN IS POSSIBLE. THE GREATEST
THREAT FOR HEAVY RAIN SATURDAY WILL BE ACROSS THE RIO GRANDE
PLAINS.

.SPOTTER INFORMATION STATEMENT...

SPOTTER ACTIVATION IS NOT ANTICIPATED.

 

Lightning Tips & Safety

September 9th, 2014 at 1:08 am by under Weather

lion lightning

Lightning: What You Need to Know

  • NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area!!
  • If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
  • When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
  • Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

Indoor Lightning Safety

  • Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.
  • Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls.

Last Resort Outdoor Risk Reduction Tips

If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby the following actions mayreduce your risk:

  • Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks
  • Never lie flat on the ground
  • Never shelter under an isolated tree
  • Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter
  • Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.)

noaa_logo

 LIGHTNING MYTHS AND FACTS

LIGHTNING AND CARS

Do the rubber tires on your car protect you if you are OUTside the car and you’re leaning on it? NO! Like trees, houses, and people, anything outside is at risk of being struck by lightning when thunderstorms are in the area, including cars. The good news though is that the outer metal shell of hard-topped metal vehicles does provide protection to those inside a vehicle with the windows closed. Unfortunately though, the vehicle doesn’t always fare so well.

A typical cloud-to-ground, actually cloud-to-vehicle, lightning strike will either strike the antenna of the vehicle or along the roofline. The lightning will then pass through the vehicle’s outer metal shell, then through the tires to the ground.

Although every lightning strike is different, damage to the antenna, electrical system, rear windshield, and tires is common. The heat from a lightning strike is sufficient to partially melt the antenna of a vehicle and can cause what seems like a small explosion of sparks as tiny fragments of metal melt and burn. A portion of the discharge may find its way into the vehicle’s electrical system and may damage or destroy electronic components, potentially leaving the car inoperable. The lightning may also find its way into the small defrosting wires that are embedded in rear windows causing the windows to shatter. Finally, it’s very common for the lightning to destroy one or more tires as it passes through the steel belts to the ground. It’s also possible for the lightning to ignite a fire which could destroy the vehicle.

 

Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it’s a tall, pointy, isolated object. The Empire State Building is hit nearly 100 times a year.

Myth: If it’s not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you’re safe from lightning.
Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the center of the thunderstorm, far outside the rain or thunderstorm cloud. “Bolts from the blue” can strike 10-15 miles from the thunderstorm.

Myth: Rubber tires on a car protect you from lightning by insulating you from the ground.
Fact: Most cars are safe from lightning, but it is the metal roof and metal sides that protect you, NOT the rubber tires. Remember, convertibles, motorcycles, bicycles, open-shelled outdoor recreational vehicles and cars with fiberglass shells offer no protection from lightning. When lightning strikes a vehicle, it goes through the metal frame into the ground. Don’t lean on doors during a thunderstorm.

Myth: A lightning victim is electrified. If you touch them, you’ll be electrocuted.
Fact: The human body does not store electricity. It is perfectly safe to touch a lightning victim to give them first aid. This is the most chilling of lightning Myths. Imagine if someone died because people were afraid to give CPR!

Myth: If outside in a thunderstorm, you should seek shelter under a tree to stay dry.
Fact: Being underneath a tree is the second leading cause of lightning casualties. Better to get wet than fried!

Myth: If you are in a house, you are 100% safe from lightning.
Fact: A house is a safe place to be during a thunderstorm as long as you avoid anything that conducts electricity. This means staying off corded phones, electrical appliances, wires, TV cables, computers, plumbing, metal doors and windows. Windows are hazardous for two reasons: wind generated during a thunderstorm can blow objects into the window, breaking it and causing glass to shatter and second, in older homes, in rare instances, lightning can come in cracks in the sides of windows.

Myth: If thunderstorms threaten while you are outside playing a game, it is okay to finish it before seeking shelter.
Fact: Many lightning casualties occur because people do not seek shelter soon enough. No game is worth death or life-long injuries. Seek proper shelter immediately if you hear thunder. Adults are responsible for the safety of children.

Myth: Structures with metal, or metal on the body (jewelry, cell phones,Mp3 players, watches, etc), attract lightning.
Fact: Height, pointy shape, and isolation are the dominant factors controlling where a lightning bolt will strike. The presence of metal makes absolutely no difference on where lightning strikes. Mountains are made of stone but get struck by lightning many times a year. When lightning threatens, take proper protective action immediately by seeking a safe shelter – don’t waste time removing metal. While metal does not attract lightning, it does conduct it so stay away from metal fences, railing, bleachers, etc.

Myth: If trapped outside and lightning is about to strike, I should lie flat on the ground.
Fact: Lying flat increases your chance of being affected by potentially deadly ground current. If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, you keep moving toward a safe shelter.

 

8-26 Bolt from the blue - noaa

 

5 Ways People Are Struck By Lightning

1.  DIRECT STRIKE - A person struck directly by lightning becomes a part of the main lightning discharge channel. Most often, direct strikes occur to victims who are in open areas. Direct strikes are not as common as the other ways people are struck by lightning, but they are potentially the most deadly. In most direct strikes, a portion of the current moves along and just over the skin surface (called flashover) and a portion of the current moves through the body-usually through the cardiovascular and/or nervous systems. The heat produced when lightning moves over the skin can produce burns, but the current moving through the body is of greatest concern. While the ability to survive any lightning strike is related to immediate medical attention, the amount of current moving through the body is also a factor.

animation of direct lightning strike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  SIDE FLASH -   -A side flash (also called a side splash) occurs when lightning strikes a taller object near the victim and a portion of the current jumps from taller object to the victim. In essence, the person acts as a “short circuit” for some of energy in the lightning discharge. Side flashes generally occur when the victim is within a foot or two of the object that is struck. Most often, side flash victims have taken shelter under a tree to avoid rain or hail.

animation of side lightning strike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  GROUND CURRENT –  When lightning strikes a tree or other object, much of the energy travels outward from the strike in and along the ground surface. This is known as the ground current. Anyone outside near a lightning strike is potentially a victim of ground current. In addition, ground current can travels in garage floors with conductive materials. Because the ground current affects a much larger area than the other causes of lightning casualties, the ground current causes the most lightning deaths and injuries. animation 2 of ground current direct lightning strikeGround current also kills many farm animals. Typically, the lightning enters the body at the contact point closest to the lightning strike, travels through the cardiovascular and/or nervous systems, and exits the body at the contact point farthest from the lightning. The greater the distance between contact points, the greater the potential for death or serious injury. Because large farm animals have a relatively large body-span, ground current from a nearby lightning strike is often fatal to livestock.

 

 

 

 

4.  CONDUCTION – Lightning can travel long distances in wires or other metal surfaces. Metal does not attract lightning, but it provides a path for the lightning to follow. Most indoor lightning casualties and some outdoor casualties are due to conduction. Whether inside or outside, anyone in contact with anything connected to metal wires, plumbing, or metal surfaces that extend outside is at risk. This includes anything that plugs into an electrical outlet, water faucets and showers, corded phones, and windows and doors.

animation of conduction lightning strike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  STREAMERS - While not as common as the other types of lightning injuries, people caught in “streamers” are at risk of being killed or injured by lightning. Streamers develop as the downward-moving leader approaches the ground. Typically, only one of the streamers makes contact with the leader as it approaches the ground and provides the path for the bright return stroke; however, when the main channel discharges, so do all the other streamers in the area. If a person is part of one of these streamers, they could be killed or injured during the streamer discharge even though the lightning channel was not completed between the cloud and the upward streamer. See Robert’s story as an example of a streamer injury.

animation of streamers lightning strike


Texas Water Development Board Meeting Open To Public

September 3rd, 2014 at 7:56 am by under Weather
TWDB_splashLogo_verysmall
FROM:
Texas Water Development Board (TWDB)
WHAT:
The public and interested stakeholders are invited to attend a TWDB Board  meeting.
WHEN:
Thursday, September 4, 2014, at 9:30 a.m.
 
WHERE:
Stephen F. Austin Building   
1700 North Congress Avenue
Room 170
Austin, TX 78701
WHY:
The Board will consider financial assistance for communities looking to address water and wastewater needs within their regions. Communities requesting financial assistance include the cities of Early, Hutto, McAllen, and Los Fresnos, as well as the Beaver Creek Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 and the Lower Colorado River Authority. The Board will also hear an overview of the Texas Natural Resources Information System. 
WHO:
TWDB staff will be on hand to answer questions and accept public comment.

 

HERE IS THE LATEST AREA DROUGHT STATUS MAP COURTESY OF THE US DROUGHT MONITOR:

Drought

Since the last map was issued the “Exceptional” (highest level”  drought status in Gillespie County has expanded a bit.  The “Extreme” drought has spread into Blanco and Llano counties this time around.  Finally, Metro and Eastern conditions have worsenend too.  A few weeks ago, the lowest level of drought, “Abnormally Dry” spread from Travis County through many of our Eastern Areas.  Now, “Moderate” to “Severe” drought statuses have overcome those same spots.

 

TWDB Homepage Link:     http://www.twdb.texas.gov/