Shawn Rutherford

Better Batteries, Better Environment

November 16th, 2011 at 8:50 am by under Weather

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lot of the reasons for the development of the electric car are in the traditional combustion engine and it’s exhaust pollution. Electric cars have been around for a hundred years and have evolved but the battery has always been it’s shortcoming.

That may be changing, though, as this report out of Northwestern University highlights a new technology that could increase the battery capacity by 10-fold and reduce charging times 10-fold as well.

http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2011/11/batteries-energy-kung.html

-shawn r.


From A Fellow Veteran, A Guide To Veterans Day

November 11th, 2011 at 5:36 am by under Uncategorized, Weather

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our forecast for today includes cold morning temperatures and calm winds but as the afternoon draws near, we expect sunshine, a temperature near 70 degrees and winds from the South at 10 to 15 mph.

A quick guide link to Veterans Day and tips on how to best honor our veterans.

http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/

A ceremony and dedication for the new Cedar Park Veterans Memorial takes place on Saturday, November 12th. Join us at 2pm for the dedication ceremony.

For more information on the Cedar Park dedication…

http://www.cpvetmemorial.org/dyncat.cfm?catid=1046

-shawn r.


Winter Weather Awareness Day In Texas

November 10th, 2011 at 8:35 am by under Weather

In cooperation with The Texas Division of Emergency Management and The Texas Department of Public Safety, Thursday, November 10, 2011, is designated as Winter Weather Awareness Day in the Lone Star State. Every Texan should take this opportunity to prepare for adverse winter weather.

Two historic blizzards have crippled parts of West Central Texas over the past two winters. One occurred on Christmas Eve 2009, and the other one occurred during the early morning hours of February 1, 2011. These historic winter storms should serve as a reminder that even West Central Texas can experience the same type of winter weather that is more common across the northern U.S.

Have a good plan of action when it comes to winter weather: 1) Prepare before a winter storm, 2) check the weather forecast before you travel, 3) monitor temperatures, 4) drive according to the condition of the highway, and 5) have a way to receive warnings.
Each year Texans die from accidents caused by ice, snow, or fog. The Texas Department of Public Safety urges motorists to slow down to the conditions of the roadway. Motorists should not assume the speed limit is the safe speed. For road conditions, please go to the Texas Department of Transportation’s website

http://www.dot.state.tx.us or call 1-800-452-9292.


Alaska Storm Is Like A Hurricane Of Snow

November 9th, 2011 at 8:58 am by under Weather

Weather conditions in Western Alaska were expected to be pretty bad but it’s amazing to see warnings that include “Hurricane Force Winds” and “Heavy Freezing Spray” but as you can see in the link below, it’s a reality for residents.

Visit the link here, for more information.

http://pafg.arh.noaa.gov/

-shawn r.


Ducking Under The Severe Threat?

November 7th, 2011 at 8:46 am by under Weather

The Storm Prediction Center has place parts of North Texas under a Slight Risk for Severe Weather, today as displayed in the map below.

There is another slight risk for areas East of us on Tuesday, as shown here.

It is a strong cold front that will fire up the storms that have these areas under severe weather but because it’s passing through Central Texas in the cooler morning hours, it won’t have the afternoon heating of the day to fire up anything more than thunderstorms… but… caution should always be given to Central Texas storms as they can build beyond expectations.

Despite our lack of severe weather risks, at least officially, we should keep an eye on our morning frontal passage, just in case things get out of hand, and of course, we will be watching the weather carefully in the KXAN First Warning Weather Center.

-shawn r.


U.S. Test of the Emergency Alert System

November 4th, 2011 at 9:47 am by under Weather

FEMA and the National Weather Service have  announced that the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will take place at 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time) on November 9, 2011. The purpose of the test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a public alert mechanism. EAS Participants currently participate in state-level monthly tests and local-level weekly tests, but no top-down review of the entire system has ever been undertaken. The Commission, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will use the results of this nationwide test to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the EAS as a public alert mechanism, and will work together with EAS stakeholders to make improvements to the system as appropriate.

 

http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/emergency-alert-system-nationwide-test


U.S. Weather & Environmental Satellites Hacked

November 2nd, 2011 at 9:05 am by under Weather

It’s a bit disturbing to think that a satellite could be “hacked” but NASA is indicating it occurred and in the link below, occurred to the Terra AM-1 satellite… a weather and environment satellite.

http://idealab.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/10/nasa-confirms-satellite-hacked.php

The other satellite is the LandSat-7 which takes high-resolution photos of Earth and fears are that close-up images of sensitive political and military locations could have been comprimised.

-shawn r.


Halloween Weather & Halloween Safety

October 31st, 2011 at 5:32 am by under Weather

Looks like it will be a clear and cool evening for Halloween Trick-Or-Treaters and as long as everyone thinks “Safety First,” it should be a fun event.
Here’s our forecast for this evening and an extra tip for staying safe in our neighborhoods!

On a serious note, sexual predators are a serious threat to our children and a good way to see if they live in your area, is on the Texas Department of Public Safety website.

https://records.txdps.state.tx.us/DPS_WEB/SorNew/index.aspx

You can select from the following…

and use it to help you determine which homes you may or may not be comfortable visiting with your children.

Hope you and yours have a fun and safe evening!

-shawn r.


Updated Video Of Lake Travis

October 28th, 2011 at 10:10 am by under Uncategorized, Weather

It’s been a rough year for Lake Travis and some updated video has come in from the LCRA . The video is a flyover of Lake Travis and tributaries.
Here’s the link below and please remember how critical watering schedules are and if we don’t receive significant rain, there is likely going to be a bigger drought problem next year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDZfBATxy0s

-shawn r.


Texas Earthquake and “Fracking”

October 25th, 2011 at 8:34 am by under Weather

I will start this blog post with a personal comment on the subject. “Fracking” or hydraulic fracturing is a means by which a petroleum or gas well driller can maximize what they are trying to extract from the earth. It is a highly controversial subject and I do not exert an opinion on the subject but I will say that I am from South Texas were this is a common practice and anything that occurs in the place where I grew up, has my attention.

If you are not familiar with well “fracking”, it’s a practice where gas or petroleum wells are suspected of having greater reserves and the surrounding rock is hydraulically pressurized and fractured (fracked) to give that gas or oil the ability to flow more readily.

A very simple example of this would be to take a sponge saturated with water and let it sit. Just to let it sit would mean that some of the water would take a very long time to drain, but to apply pressure, you could squeeze the water out. Fracking is just a slight bit different as it’s intent isn’t to squeeze out the product but to create more “cracks” in the surrounding strata so that the product more readily flows out.

The controversy comes in several forms with the first being that some worry it’s causing geological damage and in some cases, is responsible for tectonic shifts or earthquakes. Another concern is that it could fracture enough rock at different levels, that it could allow gas or petroleum to “leak” into more shallow depths and contaminate water tables.

I’ll let you, the reader of this blog, make your own decision about this, but I would highly advise anyone to do so, as it will continue to be a point of controversy and specifically with our on-going drought and how it could effect the quality of at-depth water supplies when surface supplies run dry.

Here is a link to Wikipedia. It is a widely recognized source of information, although user-submitted, but can be a good way to start a search for information to help you form your opinion on this subject.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing_in_the_United_States

FYI… A recent blog post here on an earthquake South of San Antonio, spurred some reader comments on whether it was caused by “Fracking”. Again, I don’t want to start a firestorm of comments, but I do believe educating yourself on any subject of controversy is your best, first effort.

-shawn r.