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Burn Bans

County-wide burn bans through January 1


Monthly Change in Drought Monitor Classification

U.S. Drought Monitor, December 4, 2012
U.S. Drought Monitor, December 25, 2012

Local Lakes Under Drought Watch- The Brazos River Authority informed customers that access water from the Lake Georgetown-Stillhouse Hollow subsystem that stage 1 drought restrictions are now in place due to continuing drought conditions.
Killeen Daily Herald, M. Clare Haefner, December 1, 2012

Central Texas Continues in Severe Drought- The drought continues across central Texas, forcing the LCRA to request federal assistance to not release water to lower river farmers. The drop in water levels across lakes hurts local businesses and put into effect water conservation requirements.
KVUE News, Heather Kovar, December 4, 2012

Is Drought Coming Back in Houston? - With consecutive months of very dry conditions the drought has returned to the Houston area. Many climate experts confirm that these conditions are likely to persist and that much rainfall is needed to overcome deficits.
KPRC News, December 7, 2012

State’s Official Climatologist says that Drought Could Continue- At the South Texas Drought and Fire Weather Symposium on Del Mar College's West Campus, state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said that the current drought could continue and that everyone should look to future drought plans.
KIII News, December 12, 2012

San Marcos Returns to Stage 1 Drought Restrictions- Due to decreased demand in winter and rising aquifer levels the city of San Marcos has downgraded water restrictions back to stage 1.
KEYE News, December 17, 2012

Snow Doesn’t Dent Drought- The 2.5 inches of snow seen in Wichita Falls only melts down to .021 inches of rain, so it will not fill in the 9 inch gap in water needed to end the drought. There are positives with the snow though, for snow melts slowly with very little runoff, letting it soak into the land, and the cold that accompanied it can kill off insect larvae that survive through the winter buried in the ground.
Times Record News, Stacy Johnson, December 28, 2012

Drought Spills into New Year- Although San Angelo reported above average rainfall for the year as a whole it did not see enough to rid the region of drought. Experts say that the drought will persist, putting farmers who need rain to bring in the wheat crop on edge. City officials also plan to push forward the Hickory Aquifer project to bring in new water resources to the city.
San Angelo Standard Times, Monique Ching, December 31, 2012


Bastrop Co. Asks Lawmakers to Help with Wildfire Recovery- It has been 15 months since a wildfire devastated Bastrop County and since then no state funds have been given in order to help the recovery process. Money did come in initially to get progress going from the LCRA and Federal books, yet Bastrop State Park requests $7 million more in state funds to get more done in recovery.
KVUE News, Jade Mingus, December 19, 2012

Wind-Whipped Grass Fires Spread Local Department Thin- Three grassfires, pushed along by strong winds, stretched Waco firefighters thin late Wednesday. These fires may have been set intentionally.
KWTX News, Nadia Galindo, December 19, 2012

Dry Winter is Wildfire Weather- The Texas A&M Forest Service says to be on alert this winter in the San Angelo region as wildfire risk is high due to continued dry weather and expected dry conditions to continue. 90% of all wildfires are due to human causes and can be prevented if people take enough care.
San Angelo Standard Times, Monique Ching, December 26, 2012

Water Supply

State Senators Fighting Plan to Release Water to Rice Farmers During Drought- With area lakes at only 44% capacity, an ugly debate is heating up over the release of water to rice farmers along the Lower Colorado River at the expense of large cities such as Austin. State senators Troy Fraser and Kirk Watson have written to the LCRA protesting any release and say they will pursue legislative action if a release occurs.
The Austin American Statesman, Asher Price, Marty Toohey, December 12, 2012

Drought Likely to Last through Winter: Warm Temps, Little Rain Drying Up Lakes Again- After 10 consecutive months of less than normal rainfall, water districts across North Texas are looking into mitigation plans for the possibility of the drought continuing. Lake Lavon, which supplies the NTMWD, is 9.5 feet below normal and continues to drop, keeping the region under stage 2 drought restrictions.
The Celina Record, Chris Beattie, December 13, 2012

North Texas Water Conservation Improving but More can be Done- At the current pace of water conservation amid the drought, North Texas will not reach the desired conservation for 40 years. The Sierra Club came out with a report that cited many cities including Plano as poor conservers of water and that more should be done to conserve this resource.
KERA News, Shelley Koffer, December 13, 2012

Mayor Announces Stage Two of Drought Contingency Plan- Corpus Christi mayor Nelda Martinez announced that the city is now mandating stage 2 watering restrictions, which will curb irrigation since it accounts for 40-50% of the water use in the city.
KIII News, December 17, 2012

Agricultural Impacts

‘Muddy Mess’ as Farmers Endure Drought- Federally subsidized farmers insurance has kept much of the agriculture industry afloat during the drought, but those subsidies have expired and no relief has been signed into law yet. The need for a new farm bill has fallen on a Congress whose attention is focused on fiscal cuts and not the needs of farmers.
The Houston Chronicle, William Pack, December 6, 2012

Facing a Lack of Rain, Will the Winter Wheat Crop Make it?- The winter wheat crop needs rain to survive the season; luckily, the rain received earlier in the year is helping to keep the soil moisture content suitable for growth and the cold snap put the crop into dormancy, meaning it will take less water.
KTXS News, Chelsea Humphries, December 12, 2012

Inclement Weather


DFW Gets First Rain in more than a Month- As much as a quarter of an inch of rain fell across North Texas on Friday, the first rainfall recorded in North Texas since November 11.
The Fort Worth Star Telegram, Bill Hanna, December 14, 2012


Another Day of Record Breaking Heat in the Forecast- After another day of record high temperatures in Houston, more are set to come, with high temperatures easily pushing into the 80s across the region.
The Houston Chronicle, Brian Rogers, December 2, 2012

Heat Making it Hard for Some to get in the Christmas Spirit- As temperature reached the 80s, people are celebrating Christmas in shorts and with the air conditioning on, making the Christmas season feel a little different for many this year.
The Beaumont Enterprise, Julie Cheng, December 5, 2012

2012 is Shaping up to be the Warmest Year on Record in Texas- The average temperature over the year currently stands at 69.9 degrees, 0.6 degrees above the record set in 2006, making this the warmest year in history. This is partially due to the presence of La Nina, causing temperatures to be greater than normal and rainfall to be less than normal. Texas is still under substantial drought conditions and the Tarrant Regional Water District expects watering restrictions to begin in early January.
The Fort Worth Star Telegram, Bill Hanna, December 16, 2012

Cold/Winter Weather

North Texans Brave Bitter Cold- After a week of above average temperatures, the cold snap has many people confused as to what the weather will do next. Parkas and snowsuits stood next to shorts and skirts across North Texas with some enjoying the cold and others despising it.
KXAS News, Kendra Lyn, December 10, 2012

Snow Sweeps through North Texas- A short lived band of snow passed across North Texas, dropping light snowfall across the Metroplex and in Wichita Falls. Very little to no accumulation was reported and what little fell had melted during the day.
KDFW News, Kevin Boie, December 10, 2012

Local Homeless Shelters Reaching Capacity in Cold Weather- With cold weather now hitting the region, the homeless have been forced to seek shelter in order to stave off hypothermia. The Good Samaritan Shelter in Corpus Christi is near capacity and asks for donations of coats and blankets as cold weather sets in.
KIII News, December 11, 2012

Whiteout Conditions Expected for Northern Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma Panhandle- The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory with the expectation that blowing snow and high winds will bring near zero visibility and up to an inch of snow.
Amarillo Globe News, Ricky Treon, December 19, 2012

Winter Weather Advisory Remains in Place for Early Morning Commute- After starting out the morning with hail and high winds, the rain changed to snow across the DFW area, bringing up to 4 inches to places north of Interstate 20. A winter weather advisory remains in effect as the snow will remain frozen overnight leaving roads and bridges icy.
KTVT News, Jeff Jamison, December 25, 2012

Snow Causes an Increase in Grayson County Shelter Residents- When the snow started falling, people began to come into the Grayson County shelter in higher numbers, making it possible that it could fill up before the night was out. Volunteers came and helped out and brought food and toys for the kids.
KXII News, Steven Powell, December 25, 2012

Snow, Freezing Temperatures Mark White Christmas- Thousands of North Texans saw the first white Christmas since the 1970s with over 4 inches of snow in the northern counties and between 1 and 2 inches recorded in Dallas and Fort Worth. Overnight temperatures will drop quickly, keeping the snow and ice around and making roads treacherous.
KDFW News, Alice Wolke, December 25, 2012

Some East Texans Enjoy Remains of Snowfall as Others Deal with Lack of Electricity- Between 1 and 2 inches of snow fell across northeast Texas on Christmas night, knocking out power for about 9,000 people—the majority of which were in Mount Pleasant which had 8,000 outages, nearly shutting the city down. This is the first white Christmas for Northeast Texas since 1929.
Longview News Journal, Angela Ward, December 27, 2012

Severe Weather

Lightning Strikes Sugarland Home, Leaves Family Homeless- A family of five now has to find other accommodations after lighting struck their home and caused fire and smoke damage.
KHOU News, Sherry Williams, December 5, 2012

Christmas Tree a Victim of Overnight Storms- Strong storms associated with the passing of a powerful cold front caused damage across Collin and Hunt counties. The Greenville City Christmas tree, a 30-foot tall Elder tree, was toppled by winds that also tore roofs off buildings in Copeville and Edgewood.
The Greenville Herald Banner, Brad Kellar, December 21, 2012

Tornados, Storms, Snow Strike Across Parts of Texas- A system that moved across Texas Christmas day spawned at least three tornados along with severe thunderstorms in southeast Texas, while north Texas was seeing snowfall at a rate of 1.5 inches an hour. Tornados touched down in Houston and Trinity counties, as well as in Beaumont, though little damage was reported.
The El Paso Times, Ramit Plushnick-Masti, December 26, 2012

Christmas Day Storms Turn Dangerous Across Houston Area- Powerful storms rolled though Houston on Christmas day, causing up to 75,000 to lose power. The storm brought down power lines and trees and is blamed for the death of a Harris County man who was struck by a falling tree limb.
KTRK News, December 26, 2012


Cold Front Brings Strong Winds- A cold front passed overnight through Houston, bringing with it strong storms with gusts up to 46 mph. The winds knocked out power for 60,000 customers and tangled traffic at intersections where traffic lights were out.
KPRC News, December 6, 2012

Storm Causes Delays at Airport, Lubbock Partially Activates Emergency Operations Center- High winds whipped up dust, caused the closure of I-27, and delayed flights in Lubbock. Power outages began to occur too, as winds toppled trees and power lines in the area. Schools are keeping children indoors and are monitoring the weather to make sure students are kept safe. All of this caused the city of Lubbock to partially activate emergency operations to monitor activity across the city.
Lubbock Avalanche Journal, December 20, 2012

Dust Storm Keeps Tow Trucks Busy- When the dust blew into Lubbock at 12:30 the calls for tows began to come in. Strong winds and billowing dust caused decreased visibility and more accidents to occur on Lubbock streets than usual, giving Red Raider Towing a busy day of business.
Lubbock Avalanche Journal, Adam D. Young, December 20, 2012

Powerful Wind Gusts Knock Out Power, Split Trees in Houston- Strong winds cut power to roughly 70,000 customers early in the morning on Thursday due to downed trees and power lines. Dallas reported 42,000 outages and Austin 4,900. A wind warning is currently in effect for all southeast Texas.
KHOU News, December 20, 2012

Light, Dusty Rain to Blame for Dirty Cars- Only an 800th of an inch of rain fell in Port Arthur overnight, but the strong winds from the cold front brought dust in from West Texas to cover cars in dirt.
The Port Arthur News, Julie Garcia, December 20, 2012

Other Climate Impacts


Drought Ban Returns to Rain on your Fireworks Parade- Because of the current drought conditions Harris County has banned the use of fireworks with sticks or missiles with fins.
KRIV News, December 5, 2012

Drought, Economics, and Your Holiday Feast- Drought is affecting many portions of our holiday meals this year with beef prices hitting an all time high due to the extreme drought of 2011 and the corn prices rising due to the current Midwestern drought. This is affecting many of the products on our dinner tables including dairy, which is at record highs due to increased demand and decreased supply.
KERA News, Daniel Charles, December 21, 2012


High Tides, Cold Front Shut Down Beaches to Vehicular Traffic- After the passing of a strong cold front, high tides have called for the closing of several beaches, including Boca Chica Beach and beach access 5 and 6 on South Padre Island.
KGBT News, December 10, 2012


Snow Brings Hazardous Highways to Amarillo Area- Snowfall on area highways has the Department of Transportation working to prevent accidents with the use of sand and chemicals. They urge drivers to be cautious around ice, especially on bridges and overpasses.
KVII News, Mari Samarripas, December 10, 2012

High Speed Wind Gusts Cripple Traffic Across the Panhandle- Gusts upwards of 60 mph gave drivers across the Panhandle headaches as blowing dust dropped visibility and winds pushed vehicles around. Truck drivers had to be especially vigilant with winds posing the possibility of a roll over. TxDoT urged all drivers to avoid using I-27 due to near zero visibility and to be wary if driving a high profile vehicle.
KFDA News, Emily Griffin, December 19, 2012

City Combats Snow Without Plows- After Tuesday’s winter storm the city of Amarillo decided not to use plows to prevent any dangerous traffic mix-ups and instead used a sand and chemical mixture on bridges and intersections to help drivers stay safe.
KFDA News, Leslie Aguilar, December 26, 2012

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