Calling all area well owners

April 4th, 2015 at 10:43 am by under Weather

The Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District is hosting a Water Well Check-up & Ask-An-Expert Open House on Thursday, April 16th!

Here is the timeline:

Ask-An-Expert Open House, 11am-1pm:

Everyone is welcome to come to the Ask-An-Expert Open House during the lunch hours that day, 11am-1pm.  There is a GREAT line up of experts to talk with…

·        Water Treatment (Absolute Water)

·        Septic System Maintenance (Agrilife Extension)

·        Gardening (Travis County Master Gardeners)

·        Tree Care (Texas Heritage Tree Care)

·        Water Quality Testing (Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center Water Quality Lab)

·        Hydrogeology (BSEACD staff)

Water Well Checkup, 10am-4pm:Well owners in the District can pre-register and pick up supplies from now until the day before the checkup.  The first 50 well owners will be able to bring in their water samples on Thursday, April 16 between 10am-4pm to have water screened for pH, nitrate, salinity, and bacteria.  After hours dropoff available starting 5pm Wednesday.  Samples must be taken less than 24 hours before they are analyzed to give reliable results.

Because this service is being provided free of charge, it is limited to the first 50 people to pre-register and pick up sampling supplies and instructions.  We are about half way full at the time of this email.  The water quality lab that will be running the bacteria samples will be on site with additional supplies the day of the screening, if you are interested in testing for other constituents or if there are no more slots available for the free screening.

1

 

Wondering why you should get your well water checked?

Private water wells should be tested annually for contaminants that can jeopardize the health of its users, especially vulnerable populations like children, the elderly, or those with compromised immune systems.

What Contaminants Are Included in the Screening?

Samples from private water wells will be screened for common contaminants, including fecal coliform bacteria, nitrates, and high salinity. The costs for these screenings can range from $10-$50 per sample, but during the Water Well Check-up the BSEACD will cover the cost of analysis for private wells within its boundary.

  • The presence of fecal coliform bacteria in water indicates that waste from humans or warm-blooded animals may have contaminated the water.  Water contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria is more likely to also have pathogens present that can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, or other symptoms.
  • Water with nitrates at levels of 10 parts per million (ppm) is considered unsafe for human consumption.  Nitrate levels above 10 ppm can disrupt the blood’s ability to carry oxygen throughout the body, resulting in a condition called methemoglobinemia. Infants less than 6 months of age and young livestock are most susceptible.
  • Salinity as measured by Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is also an important characteristic.  Water with high TDS levels may leave deposits and have a salty taste.  Additionally, using water with high TDS for irrigation may damage the soil or plants.

For more information, visit BSEACD.org.


Mighty Texas Dog Walk Saturday

April 3rd, 2015 at 4:00 pm by under Weather

Jim and Kaxan invite you to join them at the Mighty Texas Dog Walk April 4th

3-23 dog walk logo

17th Annual Mighty Texas Dog Walk 2015

The Doggiest Day in Austin returns to beautiful Auditorium Shores. Join thousands of dogs and their best friends for a scenic stroll near Ladybird Johnson Lake, free samples galore, advice from top vets and trainers.
New this year:
Teams – Win Trophies for “Most Funds Raised”, “Biggest Team” and “Best Team T-shirt”
Rescue Dog Squad – Rescue Groups With Dogs to Meet
Shopping Plaza – Fun things for fun peopleSpecial Price Rollback: $20/dog pre-registration!Date/Time
This Saturday!  04/04/2015
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Easter dog1

REGISTER

Saturday, April 4, 2015
The Doggiest Day in Austin!

Pre-Registration: $20/dog, extra humans walk for free!
Day Of Registraion:  $30/dog, extra humans walk for free!

Online registration is open!
(Click on REGISTER or REGISTER A TEAM on this page.)

In Person Pre-Registration:

Friday, April 3, 11 – 8
Petco
5601 Brodie Ln
Sunset Valley, TX 78745
(512) 892-7804

Rules & Logistics

team 1

REGISTER A TEAM
TEAM FUNDRAISING DONATIONS

New This Year: TEAMS! Put together a team representing your dog’s breed, family, company, club, favorite color or whatever you want!  Registration still only $20/dog.

We’ll be awarding Trophies for:

Team Raising the Most Funds – donations should mention Team Name
(Donations other than registration fees.)  This team will also win Free Dog Food for a Year from Beyond Natural Pet Food by Leader of the Pack Sponsor Purina (1 only)

Largest Team of Dogs - counted by number of dogs on a Team

Best Team T-Shirt - wear them and Emcees KXAN’s Jim Spencer and Service Dogs, Inc. President Sheri Soltes will invite the audience to judge by applause.  Theme: Who’s Your Hero?

sponsor webiste

BE A SPONSOR

Introduce your product or service to thousands of dogs and their best friends!


Total eclipse of the moon Saturday morning

April 2nd, 2015 at 2:15 pm by under Weather

March 30, 2015:  It’s déjà vu all over again. For the third time in less than a year, sky watchers in the United States can see a total eclipse of the Moon.

* Click here for more excellent information about this eclipse from EarthSky.org.

The action begins at 5:16 AM Central Texas time on the morning of April 4th when the edge of the Moon first enters the amber core of Earth’s shadow.  For the next hour and 45 minutes, Earth’s shadow will move across the lunar disk, ultimately swallowing the entire Moon at 6:58 AM CDT.

splash
A new ScienceCast video previews the lunar eclipse of April 4, 2015. Play it

East of the Mississippi River, the eclipse will be interrupted by sunrise. People can see only a partial eclipse. West of the Mississippi River, people can see the whole thing, including totality.

“Totality” is when the Moon is fully inside Earth’s shadow. Some total eclipses last for more than an hour.  In this case, however, totality spans just 4 minutes and 43 seconds—a result of the fact that the Moon is skimming the outskirts of Earth’s shadow rather than passing centrally through it.

Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. vows to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26%+ by 2025

April 2nd, 2015 at 8:04 am by under Weather

(Climate Central) – An influential step in the years-long amble toward the most anticipated climate pact in nearly 20 years was taken on Tuesday. The U.S. informed the United Nations how it will fight global warming under a post-2020 agreement that’s due to be finalized during talks in Paris in December.

America’s dutiful filing of an administrative letter on Tuesday, detailing a type of commitment known by an unfamiliar acronym, produced no surprises. Yet it garnered a flurry of global media interest.

What Did The U.S. Just Do?

The State Department submitted a five-page document to the U.N. confirming that the nation plans to curb the amount of climate-changing pollution it releases every year by at least 26 percent by 2025, compared with 2005 levels. It said it would “make best efforts” to reduce pollution levels by more than that — by as much as 28 percent instead of 26.

Read the rest of this entry »


Who’s your hero?

April 1st, 2015 at 4:23 pm by under Weather

Kaxan preferred Superman for his cover-shoot for Austin Pets Directory. Many dogs and their humans will be dressing in “hero” costumes for the 2015 Mighty Texas Dog Walk, where this year’s theme is “Who’s Your Hero?” It’s coming up this Saturday, April 4th, and there is a special discount for registering early. Details below!

KAXAN 2

3-23 dog walk logo

17th Annual Mighty Texas Dog Walk 2015

The Doggiest Day in Austin returns to beautiful Auditorium Shores.Join thousands of dogs and their best friends for a scenic stroll near Ladybird Johnson Lake, free samples galore, advice from top vets and trainers.
New this year:
Teams – Win Trophies for “Most Funds Raised”, “Biggest Team” and “Best Team T-shirt”
Rescue Dog Squad – Rescue Groups With Dogs to Meet
Shopping Plaza – Fun things for fun peopleSpecial Price Rollback: $20/dog pre-registration!Date/Time
04/04/2015
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Kaxan's friend Buttercup will be there!

Kaxan’s friend Buttercup will be there!

REGISTER

Saturday, April 4, 2015
The Doggiest Day in Austin!

Pre-Registration: $20/dog, extra humans walk for free!
Day Of Registraion:  $30/dog, extra humans walk for free!

Online registration is open!
(Click on REGISTER or REGISTER A TEAM on this page.)

In Person Pre-Registration:

Thursday, April 2,   11 – 8
Petco
9828 Great Hills Trail
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 345-2355

Friday, April 3, 11 – 8
Petco
5601 Brodie Ln
Sunset Valley, TX 78745
(512) 892-7804

Rules & Logistics

team 1

REGISTER A TEAM
TEAM FUNDRAISING DONATIONS

New This Year: TEAMS! Put together a team representing your dog’s breed, family, company, club, favorite color or whatever you want!  Registration still only $20/dog.

We’ll be awarding Trophies for:

Team Raising the Most Funds – donations should mention Team Name
(Donations other than registration fees.)  This team will also win Free Dog Food for a Year from Beyond Natural Pet Food by Leader of the Pack Sponsor Purina (1 only)

Largest Team of Dogs - counted by number of dogs on a Team

Best Team T-Shirt - wear them and Emcees KXAN’s Jim Spencer and Service Dogs, Inc. President Sheri Soltes will invite the audience to judge by applause.  Theme: Who’s Your Hero?

sponsor webiste

BE A SPONSOR

Introduce your product or service to thousands of dogs and their best friends!


April bird forecast

April 1st, 2015 at 3:55 pm by under Weather

 

What to watch for in April: Shorebird and Gull Migration

Here’s the Central Texas bird forecast for the month, courtesy of Travis Audubon. Learn more about Central Texas birds and bird-related events for all ages at travisaudubon.org or by calling 512-300-BIRD. Travis Audubon is on Twitter and Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @TravisAudubon and give us a like at www.facebook.com/travisaudubon

Upland Sandpiper by US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wikimedia Commons

Upland Sandpiper by US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wikimedia Commons

Shorebirds are not always at the seashore

April is a great time to get outside and watch the spectacle of migration. This annual event pits birds against the elements and man-made challenges as they race north to enjoy the abundance of insects and other foods available in the short northern summers. Some of the migratory species are shorebirds. And some of them are marathon flyers. Unlike flashy warblers, shorebirds are unnoticed by all but the most diehard bird watchers, who can identify their call notes as these long-distance migrants head to places like Montana, the Dakotas, Canada and Alaska to breed. One example is the Upland Sandpiper, a rather ungainly bird with a small head, long neck and long legs. It will spend a short four months on northern grasslands, rather than at the shore, and then make the long flight back to the pampas of Argentina, sometimes accomplishing this feat within a week. The best way to hear these birds is to head outside before dawn and listen. They have a distinctive bubbly flight call that the Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes as “quip-ip-ip-ip-ip-ip-ip-ip.” Sometimes they touch down for a brief respite, but generally the flight call is the only proof they have been here.

Franklin’s Gulls over Austin by Ken Zaslow

Franklin’s Gulls over Austin by Ken Zaslow

Are all gulls seagulls?

Keep an eye to the skies this month when you are out and about. A flock of very talkative gulls may fly by, fairly low overhead. The species that passes through Austin in noticeable numbers some years is the Franklin’s Gull. Remarkably it winters on the west coast of South America in Peru and Chile. Recently about 150 of these small black-headed gulls were seen in Austin on the soccer fields of Northeast Metro Park, foraging with other gull species. Sometimes you may see them flying up Lake Austin or over a big box store parking lot. These gulls are in route to inland lakes and marshes of the northern states, where they will breed. Learn more about Upland Sandpipers and Franklin’s Gulls at allaboutbirds.org

Travis Audubon Monthly Meeting:  Ornithology 101                          6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16, 2015
Hyde Park Christian Church, 610 E 45th St., Austin, TX 78751

Birds are among the most incredible organisms on earth, and Dr. Peter English will discuss the fascinating adaptations and underlying physiology that make birds unique. Topics will range from physiological and structural adaptations to intense multi-species bird flocking behavior that underpins the biodiversity of the tropics.

Dr. English was awarded a Watson Fellowship and spent several years working with local conservation organizations in Central and South America. With the help of a Fulbright scholarship, he studied mixed-species understory flocks in Amazonian Ecuador to earn his Ph.D. His work later helped define the Yasuni area as having the highest biodiversity on Earth.

Dr. English has lived and worked in 18 countries in Central and South America and teaches Ornithology at UT-Austin. He has authored a variety of audio CDs of bird calls with Cornell University. He is also a glider pilot, which enables him to thermal with hawks, vultures, swifts, swallows and even the occasional Wood Stork.

Travis Audubon Baker Sanctuary Open House: Saturday, April 18, 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. at 12308 Lime Creek Rd., Leander TX 78641 (map)

Event is free and open to the public for one day a year. Come enjoy this rare glimpse of our beautiful wildlife sanctuary at this fun outing for the whole family. Join guided tours featuring Golden-cheeked Warblers, native plants, butterflies and insects. Kids can take part in a variety of activities such as nest box building, bird identification, bird bean bag toss, and making a pine cone bird feeder. Picnicking welcome! Trail snacks, water and Gatorade will be available. Please bring your own water bottle that can be refilled on site.

Special Event:  National Audubon’s Chief Scientist on the Crisis of Our Time

Thursday, April 30; 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Thompson Conference Center, 2405 Robert Dedman Drive, Austin, TX 78712

Gary Langham, Chief Scientist for the National Audubon Society, will discuss the findings of National Audubon’s comprehensive Climate Report, released in September 2014, and the implications for Texas and the rest of the nation. The Climate Report is a first-of-its kind study that predicts how climate change could affect the ranges of 588 North American birds. Langham, who directs Audubon’s wide-reaching scientific initiatives and studies, received his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University.

Field Trips — Beginners welcome. Check the Travis Audubon website for other field trips and details. Go to                                    http://travisaudubon.org/get-outdoors/field-trips

Beginners’ Bird Walk at Berry Springs in Georgetown
Saturday, April 4; 7:30 am to 9:30 am

Super Tuesday at the East Metropolitan Park, led by Dan Callaway
Tuesday, April 14; 7:30 am to 10:30 am

Hornsby Bend Monthly Bird Walk
Saturday, April 18; 7:30 am to 11:00 am

Purple Martin Nest Checks with Andy and Julia Balinsky
Saturday, April 18; 10:00 am to Noon

Super Tuesday! at Berry Springs Park, led by Ray and Ginny Steelman
Tuesday, April 21; 7:00 am to 11:30 am

Super Tuesday at Roy Guerrero Park, led by Ken Zaslow
Tuesday, April 28; 6:30 am to 11:00 am

Or learn more about birds and get acquainted with our beautiful national wildlife refuge, just a stone’s throw from Austin. Visit the Balcones Songbird Festival in late April for a chance to see endangered Golden-cheeked Warblers and Black-capped Vireos, and to enjoy a family-friendly Fledgling Fest. See http://www.friendsofbalcones.org/festival

Compiled by Travis Audubon volunteers Jane Tillman and Jorjanna Price


Marginal risk of severe storms late Friday

April 1st, 2015 at 9:29 am by under Weather

spc risk

A cold front interacting with an unstable atmosphere may trigger a few severe thunderstorms locally late in the day Friday.

NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center meteorologists are placing Central Texas in a “marginal” severe risk Friday–which is a category even lower than their “slight risk” area. This means that no widespread/organized severe weather is expected, but an isolated severe storm with large hail or strong wind gusts form.

Stay tuned to KXAN, KXAN.com and our free KXAN Weather app for updates through the week.

Read the rest of this entry »


Spring cleaning this weekend? Make safer environmental choices

March 29th, 2015 at 7:54 am by under Weather

Ah, there’s nothing like the warm weather this weekend to wake you up from the wintry months! Does that mean your house needs a fresh sweep? If you’re planning to do some spring cleaning, check out this website, called Earth Gauge.

Earth Gauge says, “Surfactants, key ingredients in detergents, can be toxic to aquatic animals. At high concentrations, inorganic phosphate, an ingredient that helps detergents work better and an essential nutrient for plant growth, can spur algal blooms and dead zones in waterways. And, some cleaning products can pollute the indoor air that we breathe.”

KXAN reports algae blooms created bad-tasting water in mid-March this year in Austin. Check out the full story here. Though this event occurred naturally, most folks would probably wish to avoid fishy-tasting, musty-smelling water in the near future!

Earth Gauge suggests that you make healthier cleaning choices by checking out the Environmental Protection Agency’s website on safe household products, called “Safer Choice.” The EPA rolled out a new type of label in early March 2015 to make shopping easier on families, called the Safer Choice label.

1

 

Even if there isn’t a Safer Choice label on your favorite products yet, just remember that many labels will be going up later this spring and early in the summer. Until then, you can check out the EPA’s other resources on safe household cleaning (like those pictured below) by clicking here.

2 3

 

Good luck and happy spring cleaning from the KXAN First Warning Weather Team! (And hey, if the warm temperatures simply persuade you to hang around outside of the house this weekend, that spring cleaning can always wait!)


The science behind Oklahoma’s recent tornadoes

March 28th, 2015 at 7:41 pm by under Weather

moore tornado

Below is a detailed meteorological analysis of the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma, courtesy of US Tornadoes. The analysis presents the scientific reasoning of why the tornadoes formed, even in a less-than-ideal environment, and why they were not much more powerful:

20150325_1300_day1otlk_v

Map displaying the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) Convective Outlook issued at 8:00 am CDT March 25, 2015, and preliminary reports of tornadoes (red dots), large hail (green dots), and strong winds (blue dots) for the period of 8:00 am March 25 to 7:00 am CDT March 26, 2015. Note that the reports have not been filtered for duplicates. Image source NOAA/Storm Prediction Center 

On March 25, 2015, a round of severe thunderstorms struck portions of the Southern Plains and Ozark Mountains after a surprisingly tornado-free first 24 days of the month.

The storms spawned at least eight tornado reports as of this writing – three in northwestern Arkansas, three in northeastern Oklahoma near Tulsa, and at least two in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore – along with at least 178 reports of large hail and 52 reports of strong, damaging winds.

Read the rest of this entry »


Recent scorecard still points warmer for west/east US temperature split

March 28th, 2015 at 10:46 am by under Weather

The folks at Climate Central have released an update on spring temperatures in the U.S., which they call the “spring swing.” In the ongoing divide between west/warmer and east/colder, it’s interesting to take a look at their facts and figures:

1

 

Temperatures this weekend are a reminder that spring is a season of transitions, and those transitions are often dramatic.

  • Temperatures Saturday will be 10 to 20° below normal in most locations east of the Mississippi River, while from the Rockies and westward, temperatures will be 10 to 20° above normal.
  • The heat extremes have been more recently pronounced along the immediate West Coast, as Record Highs were set from Seattle to Los Angeles on Thursday.
  • Los Angeles recorded its fifth day at or above 90° this March. The previous record was three days (set in 1934, 1988, 1997).
  • Most of the Northeast, Appalachians, and Great Lakes will have a difficult time getting out of the 30s on Saturday, while 80s will be common along the Front Range of the Rockies.

Despite the cold spell in the eastern U.S., the overall scorecard still tilts warm for the nation as a whole. With the data that are in through March 24:

2

 

  • Record highs are outpacing record lows 3 to 2.
  • When also considering the Record High Minimums and Record Low Maximums, the ratio is a little less dramatic, but the warm records are outpacing the cold records 5 to 4.
  • And even though there have been several individual snowfall records established, like this year in Boston (110.3”), there have been no new snow depth records this calendar year.

  Climate Central:

3

 

  • From just a year ago. Cold stretches in perspective:

4

 

Further Resources:

  NCDC:

NOAA: