drought

Environment
6:33 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Texas Mayor: Pray for Rain

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune and Pedro Moura Pinheiro, Texas Tribune

With the drought getting worse by the day, a Texas mayor is turning to a higher power.

He’s asking people to pray for rain.

Odessa Mayor David Turner is calling on community and church leaders to make this Sunday, April 14th, a day of prayer for rainfall.

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Austin
9:51 am
Wed April 3, 2013

Weather Roundup: Inches of Rain Fall on Central Texas

A flooded Lamar Boulevard yesterday.
Reddit user bfv13

Rain fell hard on Central Texas Tuesday evening and again last night. And, according to our weather partner, more is in the forecast. YNN reports there's a 50 percent chance for showers and storms later today.

The National Weather Service reports the 24-hour rain total was 2.88 inches at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. One of the highest reported totals was 5.03 inches at the Colorado River in Smithville.

You can check the precipitation report for the last 24 hours from the National Weather Service here.

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Environment
7:21 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

What Will Austin's Stage 3 Water Restrictions Look Like?

dasroofless/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/roofless/5779444286/

No end in sight to the drought, now affecting almost all of Texas. Austin has been under Stage 2 water restrictions since last summer. What do we face from State 3?

This week, the U.S. Drought Monitor indicated that less than two percent of Texas is not experiencing drought conditions. The rest of the state has worsened. Here in Austin, chances of rain over the next five days hover between 20 to 40 percent. Experts doubt that will amount to much. Still, water restrictions here will stay at stage 2 … for now.

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Texas
6:22 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

No Drought Relief in Sight

Nearly all of Texas in drought conditions
U.S. Drought Monitor

Texas is getting deeper into drought, and the situation will only get worse if spring doesn’t bring the rain we need.

The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor, out today, says almost all of Texas ranges from abnormally dry to the most severe drought.

This time of year we normally would get some rain; if we don’t, National Weather Service Senior Hydrologist Mark Lenz says, the dryness will actually feed on itself as temperatures climb.

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Drought
3:10 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

As Drought Persists, Grocery Prices Rise

The effects of drought caused a rise in grocery prices this year, as Texas and other agriculture producing states grapple with dry farming and ranching conditions.
flickr.com/roofless

The cost of groceries in Texas has gone up as a result of drought conditions in Texas and across the country.

A survey from the Texas Farmers Bureau finds that the price of a uniform basket of goods for an average Texas shopper is $46.40, a five and a half percent rise over last fiscal quarter.

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Weather
8:34 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Rain, Hail Over Central Texas on First Day of Spring

Hail pictures captured by twitter user Justin Girdler (@just_g).
Justin Girdler (@just_g)

The calendar now says spring!

Some much-needed rain fell over Central Texas last night and this morning. Rain totals could range from a tenth of an inch to one inch. 

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Environment
7:50 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Drought Persists Across Texas

Eighty-nine percent of Texas is in some state of drought.
U.S. Drought Monitor

The latest outlook on the drought shows Texas is drier this week than last. The U.S. Drought Monitor says almost 89 percent of Texas is in drought.

In Travis County, the drought ranges from moderate to severe. The Highland Lakes that supply Austin with water are 41 percent full. David Walker at the Lower Colorado River Authority says their worst-case scenario could see lakes drop to their lowest level on record this year.

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Environment
6:44 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

State Parks Still Deep in Drought

One seventh of Texas' 91 state parks have closed boat ramps and fishing piers.
Photo by Daniel Reese/KUT News

Despite recent rains, Texas state parks continue to feel the effects of the ongoing drought. That’s according to Texas Parks and Wildlife’s executive director Carter Smith, who spoke today at the House Natural Resources Committee Meeting at the State Capitol. 

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wildfires
6:49 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Wildflower Center Delivers Pine Saplings to Bastrop

Thousands of loblolly pines being grown at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center made another delivery this week of 4,000 drought-resistant loblolly pine saplings to Bastrop County. Bastrop’s pine forests were ravaged by a wildfire in 2011 that destroyed 32,000 acres.  This was the third delivery for the Wildflower Center, bringing to about 15,000 the number of saplings they've contributed for reforestation. 

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Politics
5:10 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Water Plan Will Get Funded, but How Much Is Unclear

Ninety percent of Texas is in a drought as of this week.
U.S. Drought Monitor

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says there’s no choice about funding the state’s water plan, but he’s less specific on how much to spend. Yesterday State Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Abilene, supported a proposal to spend $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund.

Today, Dewhurst told KUT News’ political reporting partner the Texas Tribune that he doesn’t know how much to invest.

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Business
4:48 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Drought Forces Panhandle Beef Plant to Close

KUT News

Years of drought have wreaked havoc on the cattle industry in Texas. Today a major beef processor in the Panhandle said it is temporarily closing a plant because of dwindling supply.

Cargill says it will idle its facility in Plainview, which employs about 2,000 people.

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Environment
3:57 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Drought Forecast Still Worrisome

Most of Texas remains in some state of drought.
U.S. Drought Monitor

A new reading on the Texas drought shows rains from last week helped drought severity fall for the first time since October. But it wasn’t a large decline, and as KUT’s Mose Buchele reports for StateImpact Texas, the long-term outlook is not good.

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Texas
4:52 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

LCRA Plan May Cut Off Rice Farmers to Preserve Austin's Water (Update)

A rice farm in Columbus, Texas. LCRA action may result in more water for Austin and less for rice farmers.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: The LCRA approved a drought plan this afternoon that may mean rice farmers downstream of Austin will go without water again in 2013.

StateImpact Texas writes:

The Highland Lakes of Buchanan and Travis, vital reservoirs for Central Texas, have suffered from record low inflows in recent years, beginning in 2006. They’re currently only 41 percent full. If they don’t rise to the level of 42 percent full by midnight March 1, water will not go downstream to most rice farmers this year.

Read more at StateImpact Texas.

Original post (11:33 a.m.): With persistent drought conditions affecting Central Texas and the entire state, the Lower Colorado River Authority could make a decision today that could mean water from the Highland Lakes will be cut off to rice farmers downstream.

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Environment
1:25 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Austin Finishes its Driest November in 100-Plus Years

The drought's impact on McKinney Falls State Park.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

It didn’t rain at all in Austin this month, making it the driest November in more than 100 years. Only three other years on record show no rainfall for the month, all in the 1800’s: 1861, 1894 and 1897.

In fact, it hasn't rained 0.03 inches or less in Austin in November since 1950.

So will the dry weather stick around? The latest forecasts don’t indicate either an unusually dry or an unusually wet winter for Texas.

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Environment
4:37 am
Fri November 23, 2012

An Arbor Embolism? Why Trees Die In Drought

A forest near Trieste, Italy, is largely dead owing to drought stress during the summer of 2012.
Andrea Nardini Nature

Originally published on Fri November 23, 2012 12:53 pm

Scientists who study forests say they've discovered something disturbing about the way prolonged drought affects trees.

It has to do with the way trees drink. They don't do it the way we do — they suck water up from the ground all the way to their leaves, through a bundle of channels in a part of the trunk called the xylem. The bundles are like blood vessels.

When drought dries out the soil, a tree has to suck harder. And that can actually be dangerous, because sucking harder increases the risk of drawing air bubbles into the tree's plumbing.

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Texas
7:07 am
Fri November 2, 2012

La Niña Could Bring More Drought to Texas

Daniel Reese for KUT News

After the brutal drought of 2011, welcome rains this year put minds at ease in many parts of Texas. But any respite may be short-lived.

The best hope Texas had for a full recovery from its long drought was a wet upcoming winter. But recent weather models show that’s growing less and less likely. The reason? The El Niño weather pattern meteorologists expected is not forming in the Atlantic.

State Climatologist John Neilsen-Gammon tell StateImpact Texas the bad news doesn’t end there.

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Farming
4:26 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Exporting Texas Tastes to China

http://flic.kr/p/aUAH9z

This year’s timely rains are bringing Texas a fruitful recovery of its pecan industry. So much so, Texas is expecting a pecan yield two times bigger than last year’s. Agricultural officials expect Texas to produce 65 million pounds of nuts!

Under usual economic circumstances, a greater supply would mean a lower cost. But this will not be the case this holiday season. The nut indigenous to Texas land and pivotal to Thanksgiving Day feasts has a new market—China. In fact, last year the U.S. exported roughly 80 million pounds of pecans to China. The increase of international interest in the pecan is expected to keep demand high, and thus retail prices up for the American consumer.

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Texas
7:35 am
Fri October 19, 2012

'Dire' State of Central Texas Lakes Costing Area Millions

The "Sometimes Islands" of Lake Travis have become permanent fixtures on the lake over the past few years.
flickr.com/daleremote

State lawmakers met Wednesday to discuss the Texas drought and how extremely low Central Texas lake levels are hurting the economy. 

The Texas House Committee on Culture, Recreation, & Tourism heard testimony from Travis County Commissioner Karen Huber and the Central Texas Water Coalition. Both Commissioner Huber and the Coalition are seeking assistance from the state for the populations living and working around the lakes. They told lawmakers that funding and assistance is needed to support the impacted communities.

Huber recounted stories she's heard from several Lake Travis business owners:

"One gas station owner says he has shut 3 of his 4 gas stations. Another business owner who owns several business on the lake says he is raiding his kids' college funds for two years. My partners and I have cashed in every IRA we have tucked away. And we are running out of options."

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AM Update: 9/14/12
8:43 am
Fri September 14, 2012

AM Update: Rainfall Totals, Health & Mosquito Spraying, Diez y Seis Events

Rain chances for Central Texas will continue through tonight and this weekend.
Caleb Miller for KUT News

Good morning! Grab your galoshes and umbrella, it's raining! After a dry couple of weeks, that's our top story in today's AM Update:

Rain and More Rain

The rain will continue to fall across Central Texas this morning. Most of the showers are expected to be light to moderate but downpours are possible.

Leander has received more than 7.6 inches in the past 24 hours. Marble Falls has received more than 5 inches and Dripping Springs seen more than 2 inches.

Our rain chances will stay at about 70 percent throughout the day and then fall to about 40 percent overnight.

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Environment
12:39 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Travis County Extends Burn Ban

Outdoor burning is prohibited in unincorporated areas of Travis County.
flickr.com/vabachi

Travis County commissioners voted unanimously this morning to extend the burn ban into October. The county is still in a moderate drought and we’ve had several days of record breaking temperatures and low relative humidity.

Travis County Fire Marshal Hershel Lee says the burn ban appears to be working. 

“I have spoken with several of the fire chiefs out west this morning where the county is the driest, and they are reporting very little activity other than a few runs for people who are burning when they should not have been, and between the fire departments and the sheriff’s office, they have taken care of those," Lee says.

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