Weather presents challenges at 2014 World Cup

June 28th, 2014 at 9:38 am by under Weather

In addition to going head-to-head against the best soccer players in the world, teams in the 2014 World Cup are also having to battle the elements.

The Scientific American takes a look at Brazil’s varied climates, and how they’re impacting players.

Brazil vs. England in a “friendly” in Rio de Janeiro. (Credit: Digo_Souza via Flickr)

When I read that the soccer balls used for World Cup games have been specially designed for the climate in Brazil, that got me wondering – which climate? Brazil has many different climates. And are the players ready for a wide range of climates too?

Technically it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere, but that doesn’t stop the heat or humidity in a place like Manaus, Brazil, at the heart of the Amazon rainforest. During Saturday’s match between England and Italy it was a sweltering 90 degrees Fahrenheit. With over 80 percent humidity, the difference between air and water was slight.

But during Sunday’s match between France and Honduras, 2,000 miles away in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the temperature on the field only got up to 73 degrees. Humidity was much lower too – still high compared to many places, but much less humid than Manaus. In the evening, temperatures were chilly enough for a sweater.

Brazil is huge, spanning about 40 degrees of latitude, and includes ten different climates. Brazilians have peppered 12 soccer stadiums for the World Cup throughout many of these climates, providing the opportunity for players to move from hot and moist stadiums like the one in Manaus to cooler and drier stadiums like the one in Porto Alegre or even a hot and dry stadium like the one in Natal.

If you are watching World Cup games and predicting which teams will win matches, might I suggest that you take into account the climate where matches are played. You can do this with a map of regional climates like the one below.  The map is no soothsaying octopus, but it can provide a good first guess at what types of weather soccer players will encounter around the country. Plus, you will be the envy of all other soccer fans if you watch each game with a colorful map in hand.


Aquifer district lifts drought declaration

June 27th, 2014 at 3:58 pm by under Weather

BSEACDOn Thursday, June 26th, the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District Board of Directors voted to lift the drought declaration and enter into the Water Conservation Period (10% voluntary conservation). Recent rains have saturated soils and allowed for enough runoff to fill creeks and raise water levels in the aquifer. One of the area’s two groundwater drought indicators, the water level in the Lovelady Monitor Well, has been rising slowly since the May rain events. On Wednesday, June 18, the water level in the Lovelady Well crossed above the District’s drought threshold. The other drought indicator, sustained flow rate at Barton Springs, moved above its threshold after the precipitation events in mid-May and has remained there. Both indicators need to be above their designated thresholds – and currently are – to emerge from drought.

The District declared a groundwater drought on April 24, 2014, just two months ago. While the aquifer has received some recharge and has passed into Water Conservation Period status, it is still below average water storage capacity. During the Water Conservation Period, from May through September, groundwater users are encouraged to maintain conservation practices, but mandatory water use restrictions are lifted.

Brian Smith, Aquifer Science Team Leader, stated that, “While the drought triggers are both above their thresholds now, July and August are typically very hot and dry, so we could see spring discharge and water levels start to decline again. Without more significant rainfall, it could be a month before one or both drought triggers are back below their thresholds and our Board could declare drought again.”

Groundwater users are encouraged to continue to conserve. Conserving water can prolong the time spent out of groundwater drought and protect water levels and springflow at Barton Springs.

BSEACD is a groundwater conservation district charged by the Texas Legislature to preserve, conserve, and protect the aquifers and groundwater resources within its jurisdiction, which includes parts of three Central Texas counties. It is governed by a Board of five elected directors and staffed with hydrogeologists, groundwater regulatory compliance specialists, environmental educators, geospatial systems specialists, and administrative support personnel.

Texas breaks wind power production record

June 26th, 2014 at 9:07 pm by under Weather

(Climate Central)  Texas, the nation’s largest wind power producer, hit a major milestone in March when it produced more wind power in a given moment than ever before, according to a new Energy Information Administration report.

It may have set a national record for a state’s wind power production, too.

Texas’ wind farms are concentrated mostly along the Gulf Coast in the Panhandle region, and in far West Texas.
Credit: EIA

The Lone Star State hit “peak wind” at 8:48 p.m. on March 26, when the state’s wind farms produced 10,296 megawatts of electricity. At that moment, wind turbines provided enough electricity to supply power for 29 percent of the total electricity load of the state’s main power grid.


NWS Lightning Safety Awareness Week

June 23rd, 2014 at 8:09 am by under Weather

For 20x the amount of info that you’ll find here, plus cool animations to help you learn, jump onto the National Weather Service’s Lightning Awareness Week page  for everything lightning/safety related!  Here is just a snip it of what you can expect!

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How Lightning Forms

Lightning is a giant spark of electricity in the atmosphere or between the atmosphere and the ground. In the initial stages of development, air acts as an insulator between the positive and negative charges in the cloud and between the cloud and the ground; however, when the differences in charges becomes too great, this insulating capacity of the air breaks down and there is a rapid discharge of electricity that we know as lightning.

Lightning can occur between opposite charges within the thunderstorm cloud (Intra Cloud Lightning) or between opposite charges in the cloud and on the ground (Cloud-To-Ground Lightning). Cloud-to-ground lightning is divided two different types of flashes depending on the charge in the cloud where the lightning originates.


Thunder is the sound made by a flash of lightning. As lightning passes through the air it heats the air quickly. This causes the air to expand rapidly and creates the sound wave we hear as thunder. Normally, you can hear thunder about 10 miles from a lightning strike. Since lightning can strike outward 10 miles from a thunderstorm, if you hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance from the storm.

How Hot is Lightning?

It depends what the lightning is passing through. As lightning passes through air, it can heat the air to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (about 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun).




How Far Away Was That Lightning?The sound of thunder travels about a mile every 5 seconds. If you count the seconds between the flash of lightning and the crack of thunder and divided by 5, you get the number of miles away from you (10 seconds is 2 miles).



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.)


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The National Weather Service also debunks some of your favorite lightning myths!  Click HERE to check it out!

Again…. there is SO much more about lightning including statistics, more safety tips, manuals for golf courses and pools, along with a slew of other great resources.  Please, it is for your benefit, so take advantage!!  


Incredible, rare flood in southwest Texas Friday morning

June 22nd, 2014 at 4:51 am by under Weather

The West Texas desert community of Langtry, Texas received 11.6 inches of rain Friday morning, causing a catastrophic flood in Eagle Nest Canyon. Average yearly rainfall in that area is just over 14 inches.

This desert canyon is the site of several important archaeological sites dating from 4,000 to 10,000 years old. Dr. Steve Black of Texas State University was there leading  The Ancient South West Texas Project, and posted a photographic timeline of the flood on their blog, seen here.

(Posted with the permission of KXAN viewer Mary Black)

Ancient Southwest Texas Project – Texas State University

The Canyon Runs Deep

by Ancient Southwest Texas

June 20, 2014

“Scattered thunderstorms” was the forecast for today. We had shrugged and fully expected to see little if any rain as usual in Langtry, Texas. Landowner Jack Skiles visited our digs yesterday and asked, “Have you considered moving any of the heavy stuff [equipment] out of the canyon while the road is open, they say it might rain?” We nodded and went back to work busily trying to finish our excavations and get our final SfM photo documentation completed to make ready for the geoarchaeological sampling that was to happen today and tomorrow. Jack had just got the road serviceable again last week — it had been washed out last month after a 1.5″ rain — but sunny windy weather had dried it out quickly. “Scattered thunderstorms,” no problem.

The rain began around 4 am at the Skiles’ house overlooking Eagle Nest Canyon, and in less than eight hours 11.6″ of rain fell. The Canyon ran deep as the following sequence of photographs attest.

9 am, view up Canyon toward Eagle Cave.

9 am, view up Canyon toward Eagle Cave.

9am, Steve Black looks across to Kelley Cave and Skiles Shelter and ponders Plan B.

9am, Steve Black looks across to Kelley Cave and Skiles Shelter and ponders Plan B.

10am, view up Canyon, Eagle Cave on the left.

10am, view up Canyon, Eagle Cave on the left.

10am, Wilmuth and Jack Skiles with Eagle Cave in the background.

10am, Wilmuth and Jack Skiles with Eagle Cave in the background.

10 am, view upstream from above Eagle Cave

10 am, view upstream from above Eagle Cave

10 am, lower Canyon with Kelley Cave on the left.  The Eagle Nest Canyon flow is so strong that it is pushing water up the Rio Grande (to the right in background).

10 am, lower Canyon with Kelley Cave on the left. The Eagle Nest Canyon flow is so strong that it is pushing water up the Rio Grande (to the right in background).

ENC Pour-Off 11:30 am.  Around this time is when the flood peaked.

ENC Pour-Off 11:30 am. Around this time is when the flood peaked.


Dripping Springs Tomato Round-Up Saturday

June 20th, 2014 at 7:39 pm by under Weather Day/Tomato Round Up/Header for Facebook.jpg

Enter your tomatoes and join us for a day of festivities!

All ages welcome; Junior Gardeners encouraged to participate!

Check in and entry of tomatoes will begin at 9am and close at 10am – There is NO pre-registration.

Ribbons and Bragging rights will be awarded to multiple Judge’s Choice &  People’s Choice award categories

Winners will be announced at 12:30pm

Both participants entering tomatoes AND those seeking a day of fun are welcome to come enjoy:

FOOD: Vendors from the Dripping Springs Farmer’s Market, including Vinovium Partners, Drippin’ Sauce, Onion Creek Farm, Fitzhugh Creek, Browieology • wood fired pizza from Bakery JoJu • tomato tasting • homemade BLTs from the Mercantile • tea, lemonade, chips/salsa from Poverty Hill Salsa

MUSIC: Live music from both Bill Paige AND Tommy Mojica and the Dripping Strings

FUN: Educational information from Hays County Master Gardeners • Pound House open for tours and offering fresh lemonade and a shaded picnic area • new Founder’s Park playground

The 3rd Annual Tomato Round-Up is appreciative for the support of our generous sponsors:


 Green Goddess Recycling • Bella Verdi Farms • Ricoh Solutions • The Honorable Judge Harley Clark
• Tank Town • DS Rental

Judging Categories are as follows:

Pre-registration is not available, but you are more than welcome to print off a registration form in advance and bring to the registration table between 9am-10am to help speed-up your check in:


Tomato Round-Up Entry Registration Form

Everything you need to know about Fan Fare Friday!

June 18th, 2014 at 8:44 pm by under Weather
Fan Fare Friday

Friday, June 20th
301 W Riverside Drive
Austin, TX 78704
Find More Information at:
Schedule of Events
7:00 a.m.

Onsite donation acceptance begins
or donate online at

7:00-9:00 a.m.
Pancake Pile-up sponsored by Threadgill’s
Donation of a fan or $15

9:30-11:30 a.m.
Biscuit Brothers Children’s Concert
Bounce House
Craft Table

9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Gaming Station open
featuring state of the art games for Playstation, XBOX and desktop sponsored by AMD

Susanna Choffel

1:30-6:00 p.m.
Afternoon Concert Series
1:30 p.m.
Kelley Mickwee
3:00 p.m.
Derrick Davis
4:30 p.m.
Emily Wolfe

Lone Star State of Mind
Evening Concert

Live Broadcast by: KGSR

8:00 p.m.
Doors Open
(Tickets Required – $10 in advance; $20 reserved;
$15 at the door)

9:00 p.m.
Tyrone Vaughan
followed by
Malford Milligan with special guest David Grissom
they will feature several Storyville songs



JUNE 20th, 2014

In 2013 Family Eldercare handed out 5,621 fans to over 3,200 families in 11 counties! The need is there and we hope you join us.

What happens when Austin’s favorite music, food and on-air talent come together for a day-to-evening event? For 15 years Family Eldercare has been fortunate to benefit from that unforgettable combo we call Fan Fare Friday – our largest and most critical event of the year!

If you cannot join us at Threadgill’s South this Friday, we hope you will make a donation to keep our warehouse full!

Click here to donate!



The work of Family Eldercare is made possible
by the generous support of
If you cannot join us this Friday, June 20th at Threadgill’s, please make a donation to help some of Central Texas’ most vulnerable residents stay a little cooler this summer.
Or visit our website at:

More About
Fan Fare Friday Performers
Biscuit Brothers
9:30-11:30 a.m.
For the second year in a row, the Biscuit Brothers will entertain the kids in their special Emmy Award winning children’s concert, featuring songs from their widely watched PBS show!
Susanna Choffel
Susanna Choffel is many things: a rising star, an undeniable musical force and a unique voice (a “honeyed husk,” as it’s been posited) who feels equally at home singing in a dimly-lit, smokey club as she does front and center in front of (literally) millions.
Kelley Mickwee
1:30 p.m.
Austin’s own Kelley Mickwee ventures out from playing in a band into solo waters. Her incredible sound and confidence will make you wonder why she didn’t start her solo career earlier and longing to hear more!
Derrick Davis
3:00 p.m.
After a few years in Brooklyn, NY, Austinite Derrick Davis is back in his hometown working on his second album and reviving older music from his debut release: “And Everything in Between”. This singer-songwriter mixes blues, Latin and rock influences to create a style like few in the music scene.
Emily Wolfe
4:30 p.m.
Emily Wolfe’s musical story began at 10. That’s not just when the Austin native began singing – she also picked up drums, guitar, piano, and more. Now, at 23, the multi-instrumentalist has made a name from herself as one of the rising talents in the local scene. She’s also proved that she isn’t afraid of growth and change.
Tyrone Vaughan
Lone Star State of Mind – Opening Performer
9:00 p.m.
(click here to purchase tickets for evening concert; $10 in advance, $20 reserved,
$15 at the door)
Being a different style than his father “Jimmie Vaughan” and his uncle “Stevie Ray”, Tyrone paves his own path into the great league of Texas Guitar Gunslingers by mixing “Rock and Blues” all into one with a slap of attitude . . . Texas style!
Malford Milligan
with special guest David Grissom
Lone Star State of Mind – Main Performance
10:00 p.m.
(click here to purchase tickets for evening concert; $10 in advance, $20 reserved,
$15 at the door)

One of Austin’s finest entertainers, Malford Milligan, will entertain with his band. We are very honored that special guest and amazing guitarist David Grissom will join Malford this evening where the audience will have the opportunity to hear several songs from Storyville!
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Offices in Georgetown and Austin

Mailing: 1700 Rutherford Lane, Austin, TX 78754
24/7 In-Home Care Solutions: (512) 467-6168
Main Office: (512) 450-0844
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Emory Bellard–Spike Dykes Seton Kids Care-a-Van Golf Classic

June 18th, 2014 at 1:15 pm by under Weather

Care-a-van We are forecasting good weather for Highland Lakes Seton Associates tailgate party on Friday and golf tournament Saturday. While it certainly won’t be cool, it won’t be as hot as it can be this time of year. Evening temperatures on Friday will be in the 80s, and afternoon highs on Saturday will reach the low 90s, under partly cloudy skies.

Thanks to the generosity of the Highland Lakes community, the Emory Bellard–Spike Dykes Kids Care-a-Van Golf Classic has raised more than $1.8 million over the last 10 tournaments. This year, 90% of net proceeds benefit Seton Kids Care-a-Van operations and 10% of net proceeds benefit the Children’s Healthcare Endowment for Seton Highland Lakes Hospital. As this endowment grows, it will help ensure the continued success of programs like the Seton Kids Care-a-Van for generations to come.

In 2003, legendary Southwest Conference Coaches Emory Bellard and Spike Dykes teamed up with the Highland Lakes Associates of the Seton Development Board to support better health care for our kids. Even though we lost Coach Emory Bellard in 2011, his legacy lives on through the work of the Seton Kids Care-a-Van. We honor Coach Bellard and thank Coach Dykes for their dedication and generosity to the children of our area.


El Nino could make U.S. weather more extreme, hotter

June 18th, 2014 at 12:31 pm by under Weather

(Scientific American)


Regions across the U.S. that are normally wet can dry out during El Niño conditions, while regions that are normally dry can flood.
Credit: Modern Event Preparedness via Flickr
Unusual weather across the U.S. and other parts of the world just became more likely for this summer and autumn. That’s because the chances have gone up that El Niño—an atmospheric pattern driven by water temperature changes in the Pacific Ocean—will develop during that time, according to the nation’s leading climate experts.
When El Niño settles in, it has major effects on weather conditions nationally and globally.Scientists speaking at a press conference yesterday afternoon said the odds that El Niño will develop during the summer have risen from 65 to 70 percent. The prediction comes in a new monthly report from the U.S. National Weather Service and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University. The experts also said there is up to an 80% chance that El Niño will develop during the fall and winter.Regions across the U.S. that are normally wet can dry out during El Niño conditions, while normally dry regions can flood. Worldwide expectations related to El Niño are not always accurate, however. “There is an expectation of drought, but not in every single El Niño event do we actually have drought,” Lisa Goddard, director of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, said during the briefing.In fact, the majority of the continental U.S. has a higher chance of experiencing above-average precipitation in both summer and fall of El Niño years, according to data from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In addition, data from Golden Gate Weather Services, a consultancy in California, show particularly increased amounts of precipitation for southern California in stronger El Niño years, which could potentially help drought-stricken areas there and in other parts of the U.S. Southwest.

Regardless of the pros and cons, El Niño events could strengthen further as global warming continues, climate experts say. Two studies published within the last year generally support the conclusion that El Niño is increasing in intensity due to global warming, according to Kim Cobb, associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

How strong the 2014 El Niño will become is unclear. Gerald A. Meehl, senior scientist in the Climate and Global Dynamics Division at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, said that if it does turn out to be strong, there could be a greater chance of a new record global average temperature in 2015.

In the wake of deadly Nebraska tornadoes, NWS survey teams head out

June 17th, 2014 at 10:34 am by under Weather

The twin tornadoes that leveled the town of Pilger, Nebraska Monday night were quite evidently intense. But just how strong they were remains an unanswered question until National Weather Service survey teams can reconstruct the tornado’s path and carefully observe the damage.

Here’s a peek into what goes on during these surveys, courtesy of the NWS Omaha/Valley office:

Survey Teams Will Assess June 16 Tornado Damage

The National Weather Service office in Omaha/Valley, Nebraska, will send out two damage survey teams on Tuesday (June 17) to assess the damage from tornadoes on Monday afternoon, June 16.  The survey teams will analyze their information to determine the number of tornadoes, then the EF-scale intensity, path length, and path width for each tornado.  The results will be released through the next couple of days as they are available after complete analysis.  Thank you for your patience with our storm survey process — we want to provide the most accurate information!