Is your pet ready for severe weather?

May 9th, 2015 at 8:35 am by under Weather


 From the National Preparedness Community:

“If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. Unfortunately, animals are also affected by disaster. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire, flood, or tornado depends largely on emergency planning done today.

Here are five easy ways to prepare your pet for an emergency:

1) Identify a shelter: Before disaster hits call your local office of emergency management to see if you will be allowed to evacuate with your pets and that there will be shelters that take people and their pets in your area. And just to be safe, track down a pet-friendly safe place for your family and pets. Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet’s medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.

2) Pack a pet kit: Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, manual can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they’re not available later. Each pet is unqiue, but each pet needs the basics in case of an emergency. 

3) Update your pet’s ID: Make sure identification tags are up-to-date and securely fastened to your pet’s collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home. 

4) Protect your pet during a disaster: Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Even if your dogs and cats normally get along, the anxiety of an emergency situation can cause pets to act irrationally. Understanding what to expect during a disaster is crucial.

5) Keep an eye on your pet after an emergency: The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard with access to shelter and water. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost. Remember to keep taking care of them even after the disaster.


Show off your pet’s preparedness!

Want to show off how prepared your pet is? Use the hashtag #PetPared to share photos of your pets with The Ready Campaign. Some photos will be featured on the Ready Campaign Facebook, Twitter handle, or National Preparedness Community.

If you have any questions about sharing a photo of your pet, contact us on

Rain projections continue to increase along with severe storm threat

May 8th, 2015 at 3:58 pm by under Weather

Here are forecast 7 day storm total rainfall amounts for South Central Texas. This is the total rain that will fall over the next 7 days. The heaviest rainfall is expected Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday. In general 1-3 inches are expected across the upper Rio Grande Valley, 3-5 across much of the Hill Country, and 5 to 7 along and east of I-35. Some locally higher amounts are possible. (NWS)
From our National Weather Service partners:


…Wet Pattern Shaping up this Weekend through Next Week with the Potential for Heavy Rainfall and Flooding…

…Isolated Strong to Severe Storms Possible through the Weekend…

Timing & Area of Concern:

  • This Afternoon through Saturday Night:  Scattered showers & thunderstorms across portions of South-Central Texas.  Isolated strong to severe storms possible.  (Includes San Antonio & Austin)
  • Sunday & Sunday Night:  Scattered to numerous showers & thunderstorms, mainly along and north of a Rocksprings to San Antonio to La Grange line.  Strong to severe storms possible along with locally heavy rainfall.  (Includes San Antonio & Austin)
  • Monday-Friday:  Periods of showers & thunderstorms with locally heavy rainfall possible across much of South-Central Texas.  Best chances Tuesday through Thursday.  (Includes San Antonio & Austin)

Threats & Impacts:

Rainfall & Flooding

  • 7 Day Rainfall Forecast through Friday May 15th:  5 to 7 inches across the eastern Hill Country and along and east of the I-35 corridor.  3 to 5 inches across the western Hill Country.  1 to 3 inches across the Rio Grande.  Isolated higher amounts possible.
  • Amounts are forecast over the course of 7 days, with the best chances for heavier rainfall occurring Sunday and again Tuesday through Thursday.
  • Given these these forecast rainfall amounts, along with current hydrologic conditions, localized moderate river flooding will be possible for tributaries and mainstem rivers in areas generally along and east of I-35 corridor.  In addition, a flash flood threat of smaller creeks and streams may also may also develop next week for portions of the Hill Country and I-35 corridor eastward.

Strong to Severe Storms

  • Hail up to golfball sized and winds up to 60 mph possible with any isolated severe storms


A wet pattern will develop over South-Central Texas through the weekend and much of next week.  Very moist conditions, along with continued upper level disturbances and a a surface front next week, will interact to produce several rounds of showers and storms.  Scattered showers and storms will be possible this afternoon through Saturday, with possibly numerous showers and storms on Sunday.  Chances for showers and storms will continue each day next week.  Exact timing on storms next week is uncertain, but chances are generally higher for potential heavier rainfall Tuesday through Thursday.

It should be stressed that the forecast rainfall totals above are over 7 days, and exact amounts and locations that see the highest rainfall could change in future forecasts.


  • 7 Day Rainfall Amounts:  Moderate
  • Timing of Heavy Rainfall:  Low to Moderate
  • Severe Potential this Weekend:  Low to Moderate


Additional Information Resources:

Request for Information:

Please relay flooding reports and/or photo’s of flooding to

Record downpours here & in Oklahoma could become more common

May 8th, 2015 at 8:35 am by under Weather

Shortly after flooding rain fell this week in Central Texas, Oklahoma City received over 9 inches of rain in two days — prompting a “flash flood emergency” in that city for the first time in history.

Recent climate research is showing that heavy downpours like these are expected to become more commonplace in the future.

inc US downpoursinc us downpours percentage

Severe storm and heavy rain threats to increase

May 7th, 2015 at 10:44 pm by under Weather


(National Weather Service)


An active weather pattern is expected through the upcoming weekend into early next week across south central Texas. Strong to severe thunderstorms are possible, along with heavy rainfall and flash flooding.

Area of Concern:

While all of south central Texas is expected to see active weather, the greatest area of concern for severe weather on Friday and Saturday will be along and west of the Interstate 35 corridor. Concerns for severe weather are then expected to shift into areas along and east of the Interstate 35 corridor on Sunday and Monday. Given the abundant moisture across the region, all of south central Texas will remain at risk for locally heavy rainfall into early next week.


Please continue to watch the forecast closely through the upcoming weekend into early next week. There will likely be adjustments to the forecast.

More Rainfall Totals From Last Night

May 6th, 2015 at 12:47 pm by under Weather
1115 AM CDT WED MAY 06 2015


:                                               SNOW   SNOW  WATER  
:                                        PCPN   FALL  DEPTH  EQUIV
TX-WM-149 : COUPLAND 6.5 ESE         *   : 7.93 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-WM-48  : THRALL 10.5 SSE          *   : 7.90 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-BST-01 : ELGIN 3.5 NNE            *   : 7.09 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-BST-72 : ELGIN 2.8 NNE            *   : 6.64 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-WM-76  : THRALL 10.8 SSE          *   : 6.22 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-202 : ELGIN 3.8 W              *   : 5.62 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-53  : AUSTIN 4.2 NW(360&PENNEB)*   : 4.96 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-123 : AUSTIN 10.5 N            *   : 4.52 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-117 : AUSTIN 5.9 NW            *   : 4.45 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-87  : AUSTIN 3.9 NNE           *   : 4.30 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-30  : ANDERSON MILL 2.2 S      *   : 4.24 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-145 : AUSTIN 12.7 NNW          *   : 4.21 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-49  : WELLS BRANCH 4.2 S       *   : 4.15 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-212 : AUSTIN 8.5 NNW           *   : 4.12 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-149 : AUSTIN 2.9 NNW           *   : 3.94 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-09  : WEST LAKE HILLS 2.4 NNW  *   : 3.92 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-219 : AUSTIN 7.9 N             *   : 3.89 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-122 : AUSTIN 5.6 WSW           *   : 3.79 /  MM /   MM /   M
TX-TV-208 : PFLUGERVILLE 3.3 E       *   : 3.78 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-150 : AUSTIN 4.5 NNE           *   : 3.70 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-152 : AUSTIN 0.8 WSW           *   : 3.70 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-01  : AUSTIN 10.0 NNW(GRTHILLS)*   : 3.70 / 0.0 /  0.0 / 0.00
TX-TV-126 : AUSTIN 10.7 N            *   : 3.67 /  MM /   MM /   MM
TX-TV-10  : AUSTIN 1.7 NNW(45TH&LP1) *   : 3.65 /  MM /   MM /   MM
 Read the rest of this entry »

Record overnight rains produce “flood wave” down Colorado River

May 6th, 2015 at 9:40 am by under Weather

Record rainfall of nearly 6″ inundated northeast Travis County and areas near Elgin overnight, flooding local low-water crossings and sending a tremendous amount of water down the Colorado River.

There was a point early Wednesday morning when the Colorado River was flowing near 10,000 cubic feet per second, matching the current flow in the Grand Canyon.

co river austin


Read the rest of this entry »

Mid-May forecast is bad news for mold sufferers

May 5th, 2015 at 1:01 pm by under Weather

Central Texas mold allergy sufferers have had high pollen numbers to grapple with recently, aided by our wet spring – in fact, mold counts skyrocketed into the 17,000s in the past few weeks, thanks to a large storm system! Here’s today’s count:


Today’s numbers have jumped roughly a thousand on Monday’s numbers, and counts are expected to remain high all week, thanks to our unsettled weather pattern, which keeps chances of rain all the way through the end of the extended forecast. Here’s a latest look:

5-5 7 DAY

Here’s an interesting outlook on downpours – which help the mold bloom – from Climate Central:

“Climate scientists tell us that when April showers arrive, they may come with heavier downpours as the planet warms. It’s not just April: more water can evaporate into a warmer atmosphere at all times of the year, and what goes up must eventually come down. (Thank you, Clausius-Clapeyron.)

The data in these graphics come from 207 airports across the continental U.S. where records have been reliable and continuous since at least 1950. And the data show very clearly that there’s been an upward trend in rainfalls of 1”+, 2”+, and 3”+ nationwide with respect to the average from 1950 to 2014.”


Beyond the extended forecast, the May outlook is wetter than average. Average May totals are around 4.5″. This is great for our drought in the Hill Country, but it could keep the mold sufferers sneezing. Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s site on mold, including specific suggestions to help ease growing numbers in this humidity.

May bird forecast

May 4th, 2015 at 8:23 pm by under Weather

What to watch for in May: Flycatchers

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 or by calling 512-300-BIRD. Travis Audubon is on Twitter and Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @TravisAudubon and give us a like at

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher by Jane Tillman

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher by Jane Tillman

With Warmer Weather Come Beautiful Flycatchers

There are several kinds of flycatchers showing up in the Austin area now, including the elegant, showy Scissor-tailed Flycatchers. You can identify them easily due to their ridiculously long and aptly named scissor-tails. According to Scissor-tails are especially fond of grasshoppers, crickets and beetles.  In common with other flycatchers they perch and wait for prey, and then fly out to catch it in mid-air or on the ground, often taking it back to the perch to eat it.  Listen for their distinctive “pik” calls or sharp squeaky notes. Then look for gray birds, with dark wings and salmon-colored flanks. The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher has a distinctive silhouette, and is easy to see perched on utility wires and fences, even at 60 miles per hour. Two places in Austin to see them are Roy Guerrero Park on the east side and Commons Ford on the west side.

Western Kingbird by Joe Hood

Western Kingbird by Joe Hood

The striking Western Kingbirds are back too, setting up territories and nesting in grocery store parking lots. Look for an 8 inch bird with lots of yellow on its belly, and a gray head and chest. It does not look a bit like a grackle or pigeon.

Acadian Flycatcher by Jane Tillman

Acadian Flycatcher by Jane Tillman

Confusing Flycatchers are Migrating North

Our May forecast also predicts frustrated bird watchers, as the confusingly plain, somewhat drab Empidonax genus of flycatchers move through Austin migrating north for the summer.

These small flycatchers seem big headed, with wing bars and usually white eye rings. Take a look at an Acadian Flycatcher, a localized Austin breeder with the classic Empid look. It is just shy of 6 inches long, with a pale belly and olive-greenish back. This could describe the other five too, with gradations of gray, green, and brown to be considered, along with bill length, shape and color, and wing length.

Even when an “Empid” cooperatively sits out in full view for a minute or two, it can be difficult to determine which of the five expected species you are looking at. Take a picture and it still may not clinch the identification. Some species are best identified by voice, but migrants may not be very vocal until they reach their breeding grounds.  If you hear its explosive PEEET-sah, you can add it to your life list as an Acadian. But if it is silent, just enjoy it for the Empid that it is, and wish it a safe journey north.

Travis Audubon Monthly Meeting:  Photo Big Year of 2013

6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 21, 2015
Hyde Park Christian Church, 610 E 45th St., Austin, TX 78751

Imagine trying to photo-document every species you see during a calendar year. Isaac Sanchez challenged himself to do just that.

Isaac will retrace his Photo Big Year of 2013 when he photographed 603 species in the ABA area. (The American Birding Association checklist area includes North America north of Mexico.) Isaac will share his adventures of both birds and birders that span 13 states and Alberta, Canada.

Isaac received a BSc degree in Chemistry at St. Mary’s in San Antonio and received a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Delaware. Isaac lived, worked, and birded in the eastern part of the US for 25 years until 1988 when he returned to Texas to join the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Texas. Currently, he holds the William J. Murray, Jr. Endowed Chair in the Cockrell School of Engineering. He served as the Travis Audubon RBA compiler in 2002-2003.

Field Trips — Beginners welcome. Check the Travis Audubon website for field trips and details.

Two hour Friday! At Circle Acres with Jane Tillman and Mike Rogan
Friday, May 8, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Monthly Bird Count at Hornsby Bend
Saturday May 9, 7:00am and 4:00pm

Balcones Canyonlands NWR
Sunday, May 10th 7:00am

Two-hour Tuesday! at Booty’s Road Park, led by Dan Callaway
Tuesday, May 12th, 7:00 to 9:00am

Laguna Gloria Art Museum Grounds
Saturday, May 16, 7:30 to 11:00 am

Hornsby Bend Monthly Bird Walk
Saturday May 16, 7:30am to 11:00am

Super Tuesday! At Commons Ford Ranch Park, led by Ken Zaslow
Tuesday, May 19th, 6:30 to 10:00am

Super Tuesday! At Blanco State Park, led by Terry Banks
Tuesday, May 26th, 5:45 to early afternoon

Here is a talk you won’t want to miss.

Hummingbirds of Central Texas

  • Date: Thursday, May 28, 2015
  • Event Location: Wells Branch Community Library, 15001 Wells Port Dr, Austin, TX 78728
  • Event Fee: Free
  • Time: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. CDT
  • Instructor:  Shelia Hargis
  • No registration required

Shelia will cover the basics of hummingbird natural history, and will focus on common species expected in our area and how to ID them. Some hummingbirds from other parts of the state that occasionally show up here will be mentioned.  In addition she will talk about how you can make your yard a hotspot for hummers and recommend some places to go to see hummingbirds, especially during migration.

Compiled by Travis Audubon volunteers Jane Tillman and Jorjanna Price

May is American Wetlands Month

May 4th, 2015 at 12:48 pm by under Weather

May is one of Central Texas’ wettest months of the year. It’s a great time to learn about American wetlands!


Here’s what our friends at Earth Gauge Austin have to say:

“Found on every continent save Antarctica, wetlands come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes—and hydrological, ecological and geological conditions! Across the group, the unifying feature for this diverse landscape is the dominance of water. A wetland is an area where water covers the soil, or lies at or just below the surface, for all or parts of the year, including the growing season.  This saturation will in turn determine the type of vegetation found in the wetland, favoring water-loving (hydrophytic) species and will encourage the development of wetland (hydric) soils.  Across the globe, this water dominance is expressed in many ways due to differences in regional climate, geology and hydrology, and thus no two wetlands will be the same. In fact, seasonal changes alone may be enough to render a single wetland unrecognizable from one month to the next! For this reason, it can be difficult to look for and protect our wetlands—will we know them when we see them?

 Tip: With Texas being the second largest state (in area) in the United States, you might think that it contains many different kinds of wetlands. Well, you would be right! In fact, you can break up the state into six wetland regions: playa lakes in the northwest panhandle, trans-peco springs and riparian wetlands in the west, riparian and spring-fed wetlands in the central parts, bottomland hardwoods in the upper northeast, coastal marshes and prairie depressions in the southeast, and South Texas resacas and depressions in the south. What are resacas? They are marshes and ponds that were filled in with silt and water after being cut off from the Rio Grande River. These types of wetlands are ephemeral, meaning they are seasonally dependent on the amount of water they receive. Overall, over 5 million migrating waterfowl depend on Texas wetlands for food, shelter and nesting grounds.”


Learn more about the types of wetlands that exist in Texas and take a trip to some National Wildlife Refuges to see them in person!

Weather and world health

May 3rd, 2015 at 11:35 am by under Weather

El Niño conditions arose in early March of 2015 – and it’s impacting the health outlook in East Africa. In almost all regions studied, malaria reports tend to increase in El Niño years.


Check it out:

East African Highlands

Higher temperatures and increased rainfall attendant with El Niño have resulted in a greater prevalence of malaria (Kovats et al., 2003)

Tanzania Highlands

Heavy rainfall during the El Niño of 1997-1998 washed away many mosquito breeding sites in specific localities, reducing the malaria burden of disease (Lindsay et al., 2000)

Kenya Highlands

Increase in malaria incidence with a positive DMI phase, even after accounting for ENSO impacts (Hashizume et al., 2009)

Ethiopia Highlands

Approximately three million people contracted malaria in 1958 due to great-than-normal rainfall and higher-than- normal temperatures throughout the area (Fontaine et al., 1961)

Northeastern Kenya Lowlands

Catastrophic death rates occurred after the 1997-1998 El Niño caused increased rainfall and flooding, the worst outbreak since 1952, damaging and destroying health facilities across the region (Brown et al., 1998)

Here are the expected impacts of El Niño in Africa:



These are El Niño’s current conditions, reported by The Climate Prediction Center:



Finally, this is The Climate Prediction Center’s outlook for continuing El Niño effects into the summer and fall of 2015:



The full discussion can be found here, in both English and Spanish.