Weather

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Heavy rains are moving through the Austin area this morning. A flash flood warning is in effect for areas south of Austin, including New Braunfels, San Marcos and Kyle, until 10:15 this morning.

To keep you up-to-date, we've collated a list of handy resources during severe weather.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Take a rapidly growing state, add a scorching heat wave, and you have a recipe for historically high electricity use. So it was that Texas broke the record for power demand three times in the last week. Through it all, the state’s electric grid operated without major disruption.

That success nevertheless revealed some interesting things about the ways we generate and consume electricity.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard: 

You may have heard that term ‘heat advisory’ quite a bit during this latest heat wave. It’s a notice the National Weather Service sends out to tell people that they need to take precautions to stay safe in the heat – especially people who work outside.

In the Dallas Fort Worth Area, a heat index of 105 degrees triggers a heat advisory. And the reason it’s 105 degrees has to do with geography and, well, you. 

Google patent database

It’s safe to say many an Austinite woke up today, looked at the forecast and, possibly, wondered what fresh, near-literal hell they’d unknowingly stumbled into during their Sunday night slumber. It’s hot.

But, hey, at least there’s conditioned air, because before that, people went to some pretty strange lengths to save themselves (and their horses) from the immutably oppressive sun.

Here's A Guide To Staying Cool During The Heat Wave

Jul 23, 2018
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

This post has been updated.

Summer in Austin is usually hot, but not this hot. The city has issued heat advisory warnings for residents to stay inside, drink plenty of water and never leave pets or children inside cars. 

The recent heat wave has brought record-breaking temperatures, according to the National Weather Service, which is forecasting a high of between 104 and 108 degrees this afternoon. Around 3:50 p.m., the temperature hit 109. 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

You’ve probably noticed it’s been a hazy summer in Austin. And you may have heard that's because of massive clouds of dust blown across the ocean from Africa. That fact alone inspires awe.

But it turns out there is much more to these dust clouds than the distance they travel.

Tom Pennington

With a heat wave sweeping the state, Texans' demand for power broke records two days in a row this week, prompting the state’s electric grid operator — which predicted the scenario months ago — to offer assurances that the electric sector “is doing what they can to keep the power on for consumers.”

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Human attempts to control the weather go back millennia.

There was fire, of course, for keeping warm when winter's cold takes hold, but taming the sweltering heat of the summer is a much newer pursuit. 

Texas Tribune

Texas is ready for the next Hurricane Harvey, Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday after participating in a briefing with President Donald Trump to prepare for the upcoming storm season.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Last month was the hottest May ever recorded in the Austin area. If that has you worried about what's in store, you have good reason to be: A vicious circle of self-perpetuating heat descends on Texas in the summer.  

Daphne Zaras/NSSL

From Texas Standard.

Tornadoes have an unmistakable sound – but scientists are learning that the tornado also makes other sounds that you can’t hear. That’s what has seized the interest of Brian Elbing, because those inaudible sounds could save lives.

Pixabay

From Texas Standard.

For a lot of Texans, knowing what to do during a tornado warning is second nature, because when you live in Tornado Alley, you know how deadly and destructive twisters can be.

For many weather professionals and hobbyists, too, Tornado Alley is ground zero for researching some of the nation’s deadliest natural disasters, and a ticket to the greatest thrill ride on Earth.

Getty Images

Hurricane Harvey, which devastated south Texas last August, was powered by what scientists say were the highest ocean temperatures they've ever seen in the Gulf of Mexico.

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for Williamson, Caldwell, Hays, Guadalupe, Bastrop, Comal and Travis counties until 1:30 p.m. today.

Earlier this morning, parts of Central Texas saw as much as 1 to 3 inches from an initial band of storms, and the National Weather Service says the affected counties could see an additional 1 to 3 inches of rain through this afternoon.

National Weather Service

UPDATE 12:00 pm: Austin is seeing some scattered freezing rain this afternoon, which could make for some icy conditions on elevated roadways. Some scattered thunderstorms are moving through the area.

Library of Congress

What causes cities to grow and prosper – or not? Why does one side defeat another in war? Those are complex situations with a lot of contributing factors. One factor that history doesn’t often point out is weather.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Texas just got out of its longest cold spell in six years. Starting Sunday, parts of the state dipped below freezing and stayed there for around three days. Ice caused accidents. Snow brought delight. But one notable outcome was something that did not happen: The lights didn't go out.

Mose Buchele / KUT

Kayak paddles, sleeves for coffee cups and spatulas were deployed across Austin this morning to scrape ice off windshields. Some commuters even used actual ice scrapers to maintain visibility as they confronted a rare hard freeze before their commutes.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Central Texas until 7 p.m. Patchy drizzle is creating slick spots on roadways. The Austin-Travis County Traffic Report Page showed dozens of incidents as of 6 p.m.

From Texas Standard.

What can we learn from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria? To answer that question, and to facilitate planning for future storms, seven universities in Florida, Louisiana and Texas are pooling their money to put together what could be a first-of-its-kind center for hurricane research.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Lamar Senior Activity Center raises money every year cracking pecans. For 50 cents a pound, you can get your pecans run through one of the center's four nut-cracking machines.

John Camden, who has volunteered to operate the machines for five years, says the service is usually one of the center's biggest fundraisers. Just not this year.

Take a look at this radar image of Central Texas. What do you see?

Do you see what look like green explosions? You can see the circles radiating from single points.

But that’s not rain — it’s bats.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUTX

People love to wax nostalgic about the Austin of decades past. The rents were cheaper, the traffic was lighter, the music was live-r. Some of that talk may be history viewed through rose-colored glasses, but there is at least one metric by which Austin was, literally, cooler: the temperature.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Depending on what thermometer you’re looking at, this year’s average temperature has been between 5 and 7 degrees hotter than usual so far in Austin. That could set 2017 up to be one of Austin’s hottest years ever.  People who research climate change already know a lot about how warmer temperatures disrupt human activity. But hot days may have an impact on our mental health that we’re only just starting to understand.

Why I Won’t Fall for Fall Weather in Texas This Year

Sep 13, 2016
Pexels (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

It’s September! It must be fall!

I know this because you can’t raise an eyebrow right now without hearing about football games or school starting or the latest fall fashions. September’s on the calendar, in the newscasts, planted firmly in the zeitgeist.

Thinking about it — this new, exciting season — I get a little shiver. Isn’t that a nip in the air I just felt? No, it’s just the air-conditioning going full throttle.

 


Jaime Chapoy/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

East Texas has seen multiple deadly downpours this year. Yet in south Texas, Brooks County Sheriff-elect Benny Martinez says he wants it to rain along the border to alleviate the unbearable heat. “I’m hoping the rains continue,” Martinez said Monday. “I’m hoping we get a hurricane.”

The heat index down south was over 100 degrees for most of July, which has in part contributed to the hundreds of migrant deaths. Kristian Hernandez, with the McAllen Monitor, says the sheriff’s bold statement comes from his experience with the effect the heat can have on migrants crossing the Texas-Mexico border.


Mose Buchele

Kahraman Barut is one lucky guy.

He just moved to Austin from Turkey on Sunday, so the unusually cool, wet weather we've been experiencing is all he knows of our local summers.

“I’m really shocked actually," he says. "I wasn’t expecting this."

John Richardson’s lived here 20 years. He can't remember August days this cool and rainy, he says.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Over the past week, the Brazos River has risen to its highest level in more than 100 years. The rains that caused the overflow have led to at least six deaths in Texas.

Meteorologists are predicting that some 10 inches of rain will fall in the Houston area over the next several days. If so, we may be looking at another round of devastation in the fourth largest city in the nation. Houston has activated its emergency operations center.


Alex Steffler/flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Today marks the beginning of hurricane season – and with it, stories about hurricane preparedness. There's no shortage of them, seeing as how we've recently capped off National Hurricane Preparedness Week. 

UPDATE 5 p.m.: There's a flash flood warning in effect for southwest Austin and western Travis County until 6:30 p.m.

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