Weather

The Lead
8:45 am
Thu February 21, 2013

The Lead: Red Flag Warning, European Trade & Texas, State’s Most Endangered Places

Strong winds are expected to decrease by early evening.
National Weather Service

Lead Story: A Red Flag Warning is in effect for Travis County late this morning through this afternoon, due to strong winds. Outdoor burning is strongly discouraged.

The warning is due to the critical fire weather conditions expected today: a pacific cold front bringing breezy winds and dry air to Central Texas. The warning will be in effect from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. You can find more information via the National Weather Service.

Texas Push for European Trade Deal:  Texas stands to benefit from a potential free trade deal between the U.S. and the European Union. That’s according to a study by Waco economist Ray Perryman.

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Environment
6:50 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Forecasting Climate With A Chance Of Backlash

Jim Gandy, chief meteorologist for WLTX, in Columbia, S.C.
Brian Dressler Courtesy of WLTX

Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 4:31 pm

When it comes to climate change, Americans place great trust in their local TV weathercaster, which has led climate experts to see huge potential for public education.

The only problem? Polls show most weather presenters don't know much about climate science, and many who do are fearful of talking about something so polarizing.

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Weather
12:04 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

50 Million People In Path Of Potentially Historic Blizzard

Trying to stay warm, a woman in New York City hung on to her hood Friday.
Justin Lane EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 5:40 pm

(We'll be updating this post; most recently at 6:30 p.m. ET.)

Add up the populations in areas that the National Weather Service is warning will get at least 1 to 2 feet of snow starting Friday afternoon and you quickly see just how serious the situation will be.

About 50 million people are in the potentially historic storm's path.

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Transportation
7:07 am
Fri February 8, 2013

East Coast Winter Storm 'Nemo' Cancels Austin Flights

Snow expected on the east coast is already causing flight cancelations at Austin-Bergstrom.
KUT News

This is the kind of Nemo you don’t want to find.

Winter Storm Nemo, which the Weather Channel is calling a possible “record setting blizzard”, is just getting started on the Northeast coast. But it is already contributing to flight cancelations at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

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Weather
7:12 am
Thu February 7, 2013

'Real Nightmare' Headed to New England; Blizzard Predicted Friday

The National Weather Service's latest forecast of the snow totals across New England. Most places can expect 18-24 inches of new snow. It will start falling Friday and the storm is expected to last through Saturday.
Weather.gov

Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 3:29 pm

4:30 p.m. ET — Latest from the National Weather Service:

"A major winter storm is expected to impact the Northeast and New England Friday into Saturday. As much as one to two feet of snow is forecast from the New York City metro area to Maine, with localized heavier amounts possible. This, in addition to wind gusts as high as 60-75 mph will create significant impacts to transportation and power. Coastal flooding is also possible from Boston northward."

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Weather
11:53 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Flash Flood Watch Canceled; Lighter Rains Expected (Update)

An updated map reflects less rain for Austin.
National Weather Service

Update: The flash flood watch for Travis and surrounding counties has been canceled. The National Weather Service says heavier storms have moved east of the region.

But Williamson County, which had closed several low-water crossings, reminds drivers that even if a road is open, people should use common sense.  

“People do need to be cautious, slow down, and if they do see water flowing over the roadway, don’t cross the roadway,” county spokesperson Connie Watson says. “And if you feel there are road conditions that are dangerous for people to be crossing and driving on them - perhaps we haven’t gotten there to close the road yet - you can certainly call 911 to report a dangerous road condition.”

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Weather
5:04 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

Flash Flood Watch: Turn Around, Don't Drown (But Try to Tweet)

Austin and Travis County may bear the brunt of the region's storm system.
National Weather Service

Austin’s in for a good soaking.

Central Texas' daylong rain is expected to continue overnight and through tomorrow. The National Weather Service says a flash flood watch is in effect through noon Wednesday for several counties: Bastrop, Caldwell, Dewitt, Fayette, Gonzales, Lavaca. Lee, Travis and Williamson. NWS is still expecting up to six inches in the Austin area.

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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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The Lead
8:52 am
Tue January 8, 2013

The Lead: It's Opening Day at the 83rd Texas Legislature

Empty no more: Texas House and Senate members return to the Capitol today.
Texas Tribune

Good morning. Wet weather is making some Austin commutes difficult this morning. With heavier storms forecast this afternoon, you can read these wet weather driving tips from AAA Texas.

Lead story: They’re heeeeeere!

The 83rd Texas Legislature convenes at noon today. And aside from doing its part to boost the local economy, via JoS. A. Bank sales and steakhouse receipts, it’ll try to get a little governing done too.

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Weather
4:36 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Flash Floods, Hail, and Strong Winds Possible Tomorrow

Austin may see the most rain in a half a year beginning tonight and through Wednesday.
National Weather Service

A powerful storm system is headed into Austin, projected to bring the area its heaviest rainfall in six months. A low-level pressure system rolling in from California is expected to combine with moisture generated from the Gulf of Mexico. That means Austin can expecting three to five inches of rain, with isolated spots possibly receiving even more.

Scattered showers are expected to begin overnight, building in intensity Tuesday afternoon and lasting through Wednesday afternoon. And damaging winds, hail and flash flooding are all a possibility.

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Weather
5:40 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Showers, Sleet Possible in Austin

Austin is spared a winter weather advisory, but a wintry mix is expected.
National Weather Service

Update: (Jan. 3, 5:31 p.m.) National Weather Service reports temperatures in Austin will get down to around 39 degrees tonight. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent with little or no snow accumulation expected.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for Travis County.

Parts of Central Texas have already seen some sleet today. And scattered patches of light rain, occasionally mixed with light sleet are expected to blow into Travis County this afternoon. But the wintry weather isn’t expected to really make an impact until later tonight and into tomorrow morning.

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Weather
8:28 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Power Outages, Freeze Warning & Wind Advisory for Central Texas

The first big freeze of the season is expected tonight.
Austin/San Antonio National Weather Service

It’s a windy, chilly morning. There’s a wind advisory in effect for all of South Central Texas until noon today. A freeze warning is in place starting at 11 p.m.

The cold weather is moving across Texas, even bringing some snow to the Dallas area this morning.

The wind was a factor in power outages that left more than 3,400 Austin Energy customers in the dark this morning. Austin Energy spokesman Ed Clark says damage to a pole knocked out power to about 2,300 customers around Brodie Lane and William Cannon Drive. Clark expected power to be restored to about 70 percent of those customers by 7:30 a.m.

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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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Austin
12:26 pm
Fri November 23, 2012

'Coats for Kids' Aims to Provide Warmth, Confidence

Coats in a collection barrel at Jack Brown Cleaners.
Laura Rice, KUT News

It hasn’t been too cold in Austin so far this season. But kids whose families can’t afford to buy them a good winter coat have already felt the chill of fall.

Coats for Kids is collecting new and gently used coats to pass out to those children in need. Donations can be dropped off at any Jack Brown Cleaners in the Austin area. The dry cleaning company will make sure the coats are in tip top shape so the kids who receive them aren’t just kept warm but are also proud of their new coat.

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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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