weather

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Lower Colorado River Authority manages the water used in much of Central Texas and parts downstream. For most of the last several years it’s been worried about drought  – but not anymore. Earlier this week, the LCRA opened floodgates below Lake Travis for the first time since 2007 to allow excess water out. Now, the abundance of water is bringing its own set of challenges to the agency.


Update Tuesday 8:50 a.m. – The National Weather Service has canceled the flash flood watch for much of Central Texas, though DeWitt, Fayette and Lavaca counties still remain under watch.

Update 7:50 a.m.  Parts of Bastrop, Travis, Hays and Lee counties are under flash flood warnings this morning. The flash flood watch continues until tomorrow morning, as more rain is forecast for today and overnight tonight. 

As of right now, 178 low water crossings have been closed in Central Texas. You can find a map of closures at ATXfloods.com, and below you can see a full list of updated school delays and closures. 

Why Are There So Few Basements in Texas?

Jan 12, 2016
Christopher Connelly/KERA

Growing up in Indiana, Phil Crone loved having a bedroom in the basement.

“It was dark. It was cold. I didn’t know the difference noon and 6 a.m.,” he says. “It was wonderful.”

So when Crone, who now heads the Dallas Builders Association, moved down to Texas, he started asking why there are so few basements. After all, meteorologists say basements are one of the best places to take shelter during a tornado. 

Mose Buchele/KUT

Hundreds are displaced in Bastrop County after flooding that began in Travis and Hays counties on Friday. The emergency is a reminder that floods don’t stop just because the rain does. 


Pixabay user Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

From Texas Standard:

Weather experts have a way with words – like 'polar vortex' and 'superstorm' – and now, 'Godzilla' El Niño. Of course, forecasting is an imperfect science, but if predictions hold, Texas could soon see some serious rainfall.

For now, most of the state has been pretty dry so it may be the perfect time to make a few repairs and plans in preparation for potential downpours.

Kimberly Lankford is a contributing editor with Kiplinger. She joined the Texas Standard to advise us on how to prioritize.

National Weather Service

Wednesday 4 p.m. Some heavy rainfall hit the Austin area this afternoon, and the National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning that will remain in place until 6:45 p.m.

Wednesday 4:30 a.m. The University of Texas at Austin has announced it will re-open at 7:00 a.m. Wednesday morning and will operate on a regular schedule. Travis County offices will operate on a normal schedule today. City of Austin offices will be back on a regular schedule today. Since the Austin area was not hard hit by Tropical Depression Bill, Capital Metro expects all routes to run on regular schedules today. Hays CISD and Leander ISD will operate on their normal summer schedules today.

All Austin Community College campuses and centers will open and operate on a regular schedule today.

1:15 a.m. The National Weather Service has canceled the flash flood warning that was in effect for Travis, Williamson and Bastrop counties.

12:30 a.m. Bill's strength continues to diminish as it moves inland, says the National Weather Service. Rain is coming down now at a rate of an inch per hour in some parts of Central Texas.

12:20 a.m. National Weather Service says that now Bill is centered over Bastrop County and is starting to move north. It's raining in Austin, but no reports yet of torrential downpours in the city.

National Weather Service

UPDATE: 7:44 a.m.: The flash flood watch for Central Texas has expired.

Overnight storms brought over an inch of rain to pockets of East Austin, but the majority of the rain fell northwest of the Austin area, forcing LCRA to open up flood gates at both the Starcke and Wirtz dams. The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Llano County until early Saturday morning. Last night's rains have brought the Llano River up to 11.95 feet, though officials say the rise won't cause any damage to properties in the area. 

Via Pixabay.

From Texas Standard:

The U.S. Drought Monitor puts out a map every week that updates drought conditions in Texas. This week’s map looked mostly white – which indicates no drought at all – with some peach, orange and red in the center – indicating moderate to exceptional drought.

Last year at this time, only small parts of the state were in the clear. Two years ago, 99 percent of the state was in some level of drought.

UPDATE Thursday 4:00 a.m.: The National Weather Service has downgraded the winter storm warning to a winter weather advisory in effect until 9:00 a.m. The winter storm warning that had been in effect for the area has been canceled. The National Weather Service says the area has received less precipitation than expected and the impacts on travel will not be as significant as originally thought, though there could still be some icy patches on bridges, overpasses, and elevated roadways. A wind advisory is also in effect for Central Texas until 9:00 a.m. Thursday.

Austin Resource Recovery will not make curbside collections of trash, recycling, and yard trimmings on Thursday.  Service will slide to one day later for Thursday and Friday customers this week.

The cities of Georgetown and Kyle will open their city offices at 10:00 a.m. Thursday.

Huston-Tillotson University will open at 1:30 p.m., with classes starting at 2:30 p.m. Concordia University will open at noon today. All operations at St. Edward's University  operations are now scheduled to begin at 12:30 Thursday.

This week, All Things Considered is exploring how people interpret probability. What does it mean to us, for example, when a doctor says an operation has a 70 percent chance of success?

Joanne Nabors via Twitter

Half a foot of rain pelted the city of Austin and the surrounding area last night, with rainfall totals topping out at seven inches in the Walnut Creek area and Downtown Austin receiving a bit less than five inches of rain.

The National Weather Service’s flash flood warning for Travis and Williamson Counties expired before 5 a.m., but the city’s still tackling flooded roadways in Spicewood Springs. Additionally, Austin-Travis County EMS used a helicopter to evacuate 13 campers stranded on the Colorado River, dropping them safely near Webberville Road. Below, you can view the latest flood updates, and a list of downed trees, delayed public transportation and power outages in Austin.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Rising summer temperatures could lead to expanded waistlines, according to a study announced today by University of Texas researchers.

Research from Paul von Hippel, an assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, has shown that adults living in counties with the highest and lowest temperatures are the least active and by extension, the most obese. This especially holds true for areas with humid summers and dark winters.

Hippel and co-author Rebecca Benson, a UT doctoral student, studied each of the 3,000 counties in the United States, assessing different variables that could predict why some counties were more obese than others. Many of the counties in the Southeast account for areas with the highest rates of obesity. The mountain West, with cool, dry summers, represents the lowest proportion of obese adults.

Another Round Of Tornadoes Rakes Through The South

Apr 29, 2014

A day after a line of severe storms spawned tornadoes blamed for the death of at least 15 people in Arkansas and Oklahoma, the South was raked again.

This time, Mississippi and Alabama were hard hit.

CNN reports:

Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

UPDATE: The National Weather Service curtailed the winter storm warning issued Monday. It is now in effect until 9 a.m. for Bastrop, Burnet, Travis, and Williamson Counties. 

K-12 SCHOOL DELAYS:

School districts in the Austin area are announcing delayed starts for Tuesday morning, due to the winter weather. 

National Weather Service

A winter weather advisory is in effect for Central Texas, including Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties, until 6:00 p.m. Tuesday. A winter weather advisory means periods of freezing rain, sleet, or even snow could cause some travel difficulties. We have about a 40% chance of a light wintry mix of precipitation during the morning. Read more for a list of delayed start times.

National Weather Service

Update: As Austin's winter weather advisory is set to expire, Austin roads are all clear. (See an interactive map from TxDOT.) 

The National Weather Service says Saturday morning will be mostly cloudy, but skies clear and grow sunny during the afternoon. Warm winds will bring highs to up into the low 70s Saturday afternoon.

National Weather Service

Update: The National Weather Service has removed a winter storm warning from the Austin area forecast. It had been scheduled to go into effect Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. and last until Monday at noon. However, a winter weather advisory is now in effect for Central Texas until 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

The National Weather Service says we could get some light sleet through Monday evening and some light snow flurries from Monday evening into Tuesday morning.  The advisory area covers Comal, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties. A winter weather advisory is also in effect for the Hill Country until 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

Original story (Nov. 23): The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the Austin region, beginning tomorrow. It's an upgrade from the winter storm watch the NWS previously forecast for the region.

National Weather Service

Austin is expected to get its first freeze of the season tonight, with temperatures dropping as low as the upper 20s overnight.

The National Weather Service says a strong Canadian cold front is moving across the Hill Country and the Austin metro area. A freeze warning has been issued for Austin, from midnight through 9 a.m. tomorrow.

“It’s not going to be that long-lived of a freezing temperature, maybe an hour or two, so I would not worry about pipes at this time,” says National Weather Service meteorologist Pat McDonald. “But if you have any tender vegetation, you may want to cover or cover them tonight.”

Dick Peterson

Austin's recent rains have caused a fair amount of trouble. But some folks made out like bandits during the recent deluge.

Many urban rain collectors watched recent downpours overwhelm their rain barrels and cisterns. It raises a question: Can too much rain be a bad thing, even for rainwater harvesters?

Most rain harvesters say: Nope.

Karen Collins, who collects rain at her home in Austin and on farmland north of Liberty Hill, is optimistic about the surge in rain. “It’s wonderful,” she says. “My tanks are completely full. I am in great shape. There are times in the summer when I don’t have any rainwater.”

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Each year, KUT is fortunate enough to host traveling journalists from around the world. Recently arrived in Austin is Lorrencia Nkrumah, a broadcast journalist at Citi 97.3 FM in the Republic of Ghana. What follows are her thoughts on her first weekend in Austin. 

As a visiting journalist from Ghana, it is not surprising to wake up and find some parts of my capital Accra – or anywhere else, flooded. So when I came to the United States – and to Austin for the first time – I was a bit surprised by the rains that led to flooding in several areas.

In the midst of a multi- year drought, many locals were surprised too.

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