Weather
9:16 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

More Storms in Central Texas Overnight; Flash Flood and Severe Thunderstorm Watch in Effect

National Weather Service

UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: The National Weather Service has added a severe thunderstorm watch for the Austin area until 4 a.m.

The large storm moving toward Central Texas has triggered tornado and flash flood warnings to the north and west of us.

EARLIER: Another line of storms is forecast to move through the Austin area overnight, likely beginning around midnight.

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Texas Standard
4:11 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

Texas Drought 'Effectively' Over, But Aquifers Are Slow to Recharge

In many parts of Texas, water restrictions are not likely to stop anytime soon.
hellamike81/flickr

From Texas Standard:

The ground is saturated, the grass is green and the state climatologist has declared the statewide drought as we’ve known it since 2010 effectively over.

But there’s at least one piece of the puzzle that’s not quite there yet: some of the state’s water supplies – including the lakes that supply much of the Austin area.

John Hoffman is with the Lower Colorado River Authority. He says the lakes are now more than 50 percent full – that’s up about 20 percent from where the lakes were earlier this year – but it isn’t enough.

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Texas Standard
12:24 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

Texas Slashes Film and Video Game Incentives, Everyone Loses

Photo via Flickr/wallyg (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The entertainment industry was shocked when state legislators slashed $63 million from the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentives Program from the state’s budget. It’s a program that was created in 2008 to attract businesses by giving companies grants for hiring Texas workers to develop film, tv, commercial or video game projects in the state. Now the film and video game industries are trying to figure out what went wrong.

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2015 Legislature
10:24 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Why Statewide Officers Might Pack Up and Leave Austin

A constitutional amendment that will show up on the November 2015 ballot would remove the requirement for certain statewide officers to live in Austin for the entire four years of their terms.
Liang Shi for KUT News

Under a measure passed by the Texas House and Senate (SJR 52), statewide office-holders would be able to live outside of Austin — but voters will have a say first.

Since 1876, the Texas Constitution has required certain statewide officials to live in the state capital, and that hasn’t changed. On Wednesday, however, the Texas House approved a measure that would allow statewide officials to live somewhere other than Austin if they want to. While they would likely reside in Austin during lawmaking sessions, they wouldn't have to keep a permanent residence in Travis County for the duration of their four-year terms.

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2015 Legislature
9:34 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Texas Open Carry Bill Faces Looming Deadline Before Sine Die

A bill, HB 910, that would allow the open carry of handguns in Texas temporarily stalled in the Texas Legislature on May 27, 2015.
Erika Rich/Texas Tribune

Law enforcement groups from across the state got what they wanted, temporarily. They were against language added to a bill (House Bill 910) from State. Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) that would allow licensed gun owners to openly carry handguns, but a controversial amendment would keep officers from asking someone who’s openly carrying to show their license.

The amendment was added by the Senate last week. 

Supporters of the amendment say it would prevent police from racially profiling people who do choose to open carry. One of those supporters is State Rep. Harold Dutton, a Houston Democrat.

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NPR Story
9:26 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Texas Lab Doing Defense Work Received Dangerous, Live Anthrax

A rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis can cause anthrax, serious infectious disease.
cdc.gov

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 8:06 am

A San Antonio research company confirms one of its Texas subsidiaries received potentially dangerous anthrax spores accidentally shipped by U.S. Department of Defense workers.  

A company spokesman says the live anthrax spores received by Signature Science in Austin, were frozen and the containers hadn’t been opened. 

Signature Science is a for-profit subsidiary of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. The company website says Signature Science works on a variety of government projects including those that provide “national and homeland security.”

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Memorial Day Floods
8:27 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Is Texas Doing Enough to Regulate Floodplain Development?

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The deadly flooding that hit central Texas this week struck in one of the most rapidly growing parts of the county. And it’s reignited a debate over whether the state is doing enough to regulate development in floodplains.

Professor Nicolas Pinter teaches environmental science at Southern Illinois University.  He says a big study back in the late ‘90s put Texas at number two in the country in number of properties that have flooded repeatedly and the number of properties that have received repeated flood insurance payouts. And Texas is second to Florida in flood insurance, with just over 681,000 policies to Florida's 2.1 million, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The reason for that's simple: Texas gets a lot of floods.

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Memorial Day Floods
3:30 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

As San Marcos Residents Clean Up Flood Damage, Many Wonder What Comes Next

Erik Adams cleans out his family's San Marcos apartment Tuesday.
Mose Buchele/KUT News

Victims of the deadly floods that struck Central Texas over Memorial Day weekend are sorting through the physical wreckage of the storms. In San Marcos, they’re also trying to make sense of what happened and what comes next.

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Wayback Wednesday
3:27 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

Austin's History of Floods

Starting in 1869, the timeline below chronicles past floods that hit the Austin area.

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In Black America Podcast
11:07 am
Wed May 27, 2015

‘Only the Strong,’ by Jabari Asim

Jabari Asim

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Jabari Asim, associate professor of Writing, Literature and Publishing at Emerson College, executive editor of The Crisis Magazine and author of ‘Only The Strong,’

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Memorial Day Floods
10:42 am
Wed May 27, 2015

How to Help Central Texas Flood Victims

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Organizations throughout Central Texas are looking for money, for donations of goods and for volunteers to help with flood relief efforts.

The city of Wimberley opened a hotline both for volunteers and for residents in need – that number is 512-754-2275. They also have a facebook page here, where they're updating information about what they need.

Update Thursday May 28, 10:45 a.m.

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Austin
9:56 am
Wed May 27, 2015

Assistant City Manager Snipes Resigns

A screenshot from the 'controversial' training session.

From the Austin Monitor: Yesterday, Assistant City Manager Anthony Snipes resigned.

Snipes had arranged the March training event designed to help staff deal with the deluge of female City Council members. That training drew national ridicule to City Hall and sparked widespread outrage.

In a memo to Mayor Steve Adler and Council, City Manager Marc Ott explained that he was verbally informed about the results of last week’s investigation into the training.

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Memorial Day Flood
9:05 am
Wed May 27, 2015

Authorities ID Two Dead in Hays County Floods; 9 Still Missing

A view of the Blanco River after weekend flood waters rose as high as 43 feet. Officials in Hays County are still searching for 11 victims.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

UPDATE 2:20 p.m.: Authorities have identified 43 year-old Michelle Marie Carey-Charba as one of the people killed in the flooding in Wimberley. 9 people remain listed as missing.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: The Hays County Sheriff's Office has identified 29 year-old Jose Alvero Arteaga-Pichardo as one of the people killed in the flooding in Wimberley.

Authorities in Hays County say they have found two people who were previously listed as missing.

Officials released the names and photos of 9 people that remain missing, and have asked anyone with any information about the missing to contact the Hays County Sheriff’s Office immediately at 512-393-7796.

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Texas
9:41 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

As Flood Waters Recede, Wimberley Residents Start to Pick Up the Pieces

Wimberley residents walk and survey the town after Monday's storms.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The community in Wimberley is finding some sort of normalcy after record flooding over the weekend. Seven homes there were destroyed, and 1,400 were damaged. But even before the waters had receded, community members started looking for ways to help their neighbors.

A steady flow of customers came into Brookshire Brothers, Wimberley's local supermarket, on Tuesday. Customers were buying extra water and groceries that supermarket employees would then pack up for neighbors in need. A sign-up sheet by the door encouraged residents to write down how they could help others. Some people offered their cars; others, their cell phones.

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Politics
5:59 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Texas Redistricting Case

Credit Todd Wiseman/Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear a case that centers on how Texas draws its political districts, a longtime point of dispute between the state and voting rights advocates.

The high court said it will take up Evenwel v. Abbott, which involves whether Texas should use total population or voting age population when composing districts. The debate is especially pertinent in Texas, where some districts include many people living in the country illegally who are not eligible to vote. 

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Memorial Day Floods
5:10 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Despite Floods, Stage 2 Water Restrictions Remain in Place For Now

Even though Austin had torrential rains that flooded Lady Bird Lake, water usage restrictions forced by the drought may not be lifted.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The lakes that supply Austin with water - Travis and Buchanan - have risen dramatically over the past few days, but city of Austin officials are not ready to lift water restrictions just yet.

Before this most recent round of rains, the lakes were 39 percent full, combined. Now, they're 55 percent full

The Lower Colorado River Authority's vice president for water, John Hoffman, says they're happy the reservoirs are rising, but they still see it as a glass half empty. 

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The Two-Way
2:54 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Federal Appeals Court Leaves Hold On Obama's Immigration Orders

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 5:26 pm

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will not lift a hold that has stalled President Obama's plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The president sought to give temporary protection to people who were brought to the U.S. as children, and to the parents of people who live in the U.S. legally.

The decision blocks an executive action the White House issued late last year and leaves in place a hold that was issued in February by District Judge Andrew Hanen in South Texas.

Update at 4:35 p.m. ET: White House Evaluating Options

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Memorial Day Floods
12:01 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

After the Waters Recede, Residents of San Marcos Survey the Damage

Colony Square resident Brandon Abbot begins to clean up after flood waters soaked his apartment.
Mose Buchele/KUT

Sitting in her neighbor’s car in the parking lot at the San Marcos Activity Center, Lynn Young looks desolate. She’s an older, fragile-seeming woman who recently suffered a stroke and walks with a cane.

At 3 a.m. Sunday morning, police came to her apartment in San Marcos and ordered her to evacuate.

Her 30 year-old son told her to go. He stayed behind with her helper dog. By early Sunday afternoon, she hadn’t heard from her son.

Her neighbor, David Barry, has offered to go back and look for her son. Barry has elaborate tattoos and piercings and looks like the kind of guy who might ride a Harley. And turns out he does.

“It seems like we might be able to get back now and check it out,” Barry says. “And then see what’s up from there.”

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Memorial Day Floods
11:14 am
Tue May 26, 2015

At Least 2 Dead, 13 Missing in Hays County After Floods

A home in Wimberley swept away by record flooding on the Blanco River.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Texas Governor Greg Abbott took a helicopter tour of the areas devastated by weekend floods yesterday, which culminated in a disaster declaration in 24 counties in Texas. Hundreds of families in Wimberley lost everything, and more than 1,000 were in shelters Monday night. Two are confirmed dead in Hays County.

Update 3:30 p.m. Earlier today, 30 were still unaccounted for in the county, but sources are starting to report that most of those have been contacted. Thirteen are supposedly still missing.

Update 3 p.m. Gov. Abbott has added 8 more counties to the state disaster declaration. You can view a full list of counties, and the governor's statement, here.

Update 1:15 p.m. In a press conference in Wimberley this afternoon, Hays County officials said that there are still 30 people unaccounted for in the wake of the weekend's storms. Hays County Commissioner called the storm a "tsunami." President Obama declared Texas an official disaster area, which opens the door to the state receiving federal funding for recovery.

Original story: Still, after a record flood of the Blanco River, more rain is expected to fall throughout the week as those in the town continue rescue and clean-up efforts.

But, yesterday, one family celebrated Memorial Day as they always do – together – in spite of the floods that ravaged their home.

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Austin
8:49 am
Tue May 26, 2015

With More Rain In Sight, Austin Begins Clean-Up After Memorial Day Floods

The intersection at Ninth Street and Lamar yesterday after Shoal Creek flooded.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Storms swept through the Austin area Monday afternoon, causing businesses and roadways to flood. The National Weather Service says Austin should expect more rain and thunderstorms this week, with chances as high as 50 percent on Friday.

Storms across the state resulted in a total of seven dead in Texas, including one in San Marcos, one in Wimberley, one in Cameron, one in San Antonio and three more in Houston. At least 30 people are still unaccounted for in Hays County.

Meanwhile in Austin, clean-up efforts are underway. You can get the latest information from the city of Austin here.

4 p.m. The body of one man, still unidentified, has been recovered in northeast Travis County.

1 p.m. CapMetro says its rail service will be restored as of 3:44 this afternoon. Its buses are running normally, say CapMetro officials.

12:45 p.m. You can call Austin Disaster Relief Network if you're affected by the flood and still need help.

12 p.m. An update from CapMetro says that MetroRail is offering partial service today:

11:15 a.m. The North Austin Red Cross shelter housed five people last night, and the South Austin shelter housed two. The shelters in San Marcos housed 80 overnight. Updated Red Cross shelter information for those in need Tuesday:

10:45 a.m. ATXfloods is reporting that nearly all of Austin's roads are open.

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