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Societal Impacts of Climate on Texas: July 2010 Report


County-wide burn bans through August 1

July 25 – Lightning caused a house fire in northwest Harris County, and it eventually took 35-40 firefighters, two of which were treated for heat exhaustion, to douse the flames.

July 26 – A house fire that was sparked by a lightning strike caused about $5,000 in damage to a Round Rock home.

July 26 – A thunderstorm in the Woodlands, which was accompanied by an intense lightning storm, struck a home just after a mother and her third-grade daughter returned home from the grocery store.

July 27 – A grass fire in Harlingen caused by a lightning strike was quickly extinguished by authorities in the area before it could spread.


Monthly Change in Drought Monitor Classification

U.S. Drought Monitor, July 6, 2010
U.S. Drought Monitor, July 27, 2010

July 23 – Northeast Texas is the driest region in the state with areas of severe drought and several locations with high numbers in the Keetch-Byram Drought Index that indicates dryness of the soil.

July 28 – A positive outcome of the extensive drought that ended in 2009 was the cleansing and reduction of pollution on Texas beaches.

Water Supply

July 9 – The National Wildlife Federation combined with the Texas chapter of the Sierra Club to publish a report that offered Texans ways to lower summertime water usage.

July 13 – Although abundant rainfall this summer has left the Edwards Aquifer 15 feet above average, but water conservationists say the wealth of water has not eliminated the need to conserve water.

July 14 – Nueces County commissioners are working on a way to combine several entities in charge of water drainage into a single county drainage district.

July 14 – Residents of Southlake were urged to conserve water during a city council meeting and also told of a $10.1 million project to overhaul the city's water system.

July 15 – A Plano family has embraced the idea of rainwater harvesting and this led to the start of a business to sell their water-saving rain barrel package.

July 18 – Three water mains have burst in the past two days in the San Antonio area, and according to San Antonio Water System, this could be a sign of things to come.

July 19 – The city of San Marcos is reviewing an ordinance that would allow the re-use of bath, laundry water for irrigation

Agricultural Impacts

July 2 – Farmers in the Rio Grande Valley are hopeful that rain is scarce after Hurricane Alex since $20 million row crops are now in danger of being lost.

July 6 – Excessive rainfall in Wharton County is threatening the harvest-ready sorghum, which needs several days without rain to dry out.

July 8 – The rains falling from Hurricane Alex may have caused flooding, but they also eased some concerns of farmers and ranchers in South Texas.

July 13 – Heavy rains delayed the harvest of what appeared to be a bumper grain sorghum crop in Nueces County.

July 13 – The summer rainfall has cut down on the grasshopper population, which normally causes thousands of dollars in damage in North Texas fields.

July 16 – A good winter of weather in Fredericksburg helped create a bumper peach crop, which is welcome news after two disappointing years.

July 20 – East Texas peach farmers are ecstatic about this year's crop, which is being described as one of the best in years.

July 20 – Hay meadows, rangeland, and row crops have responded to July's tropical rains in East Texas and North Texas, while flooding has been a concern in South Texas.

July 23 – An East Texas farmer who has been in the corn business all his life could only plant about two-thirds of his crop this season because of wet weather, and has no idea how his crop will ultimately turn out.

July 28 – A year ago, the agriculture industry in Coastal Bend was staggering through a historical drought, and this year, the same farmers are struggling to cope with excessive rainfall.

July 30 – The 2010 pecan crop across Texas looks to be above average after assessment by experts at the annual Texas Pecan Conference.

Inclement Weather


July 4 – Officials with the International Boundary and Water Commission were prepared to divert water on the Rio Grande for the first time since Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.

July 7 – The Rio Grande River was three feet above flood stage and residents in Rio Grande City say this is the highest they have seen the river since Hurricane Beulah in 1967.

July 7 – 18,000 Mexicans were evacuated from the Texas border town of Ciudad Anahuac after authorities feared the collapse of a dam that was filled by rains from Hurricane Alex.

July 9 – An elderly Papalote couple is believed to have been killed by flood waters after attempting to flee from their stalled vehicle.

July 10 – South Texans are concerned that a tropical system that was once Tropical Storm Bonnie will exacerbate the flooding situation.

July 11 – Residents of the Sunnyside Gardens neighborhood in Houston is frustrated that a $345 million flood control project still does not keep water out of their homes.

July 11 – Lubbock County commissioners met to discuss damage from flooding caused by heavy rains over the Fourth of July weekend.

July 12 – Heavy rains during the middle of the night caused the ceiling of a public housing complex to collapse and eleven families were displaced.

July 18 – Three Mexican nationals were rescued by the Mission Fire Department's swift water rescue team from Rio Grande flood waters.

July 18 – The Rio Grande River will continue to rise as water from the Falcon Dam will be released into the river.

July 20 – A storm drainage project in central El Paso that is 75 percent complete has proved effective the last two times it has rained, according to local residents.

July 20 – A new siren warning system will be installed along the Guadalupe River in Comal County and is designed to sound a 120 db siren when flooding conditions become dangerous to campers and swimmers.

July 21 – The new Flood Alert System will use web-based maps to protect the Texas Medical Center and be able to provide a real-time flooding map of surrounding areas.

July 22 – The flooding in the Rio Grande Valley continued nearly three weeks since beginning and flood waters in Starr County had actually risen by a foot following a period of recession.

July 23 – Several million dollars worth of damage was done to equipment at the Pantex nuclear plant in Amarillo from heavy rains that fell on July 7th.

July 24 – An intense thunderstorm in the El Paso area caused damage to Rosa's Cantina as flooding left more than a foot of standing water in the famous bar.

July 25 – Some El Paso area homes were dealing with flooding after a monsoonal downpour, and in some homes, standing water was more than 4 inches high.

July 26 – Cameron County opened a toll-free hotline to keep residents informed of flooding-related road closures.

July 30 – After nearly a month of flooding, the cleanup process is just beginning for residents along the Rio Grande. The process has been made more difficult for residents of Vega Verde Road because looters have stolen items from at least four properties.


July 11 – There are some simple precautions to take to avoid heat stroke when exercising outside in the sweltering summer heat of Texas.

July 12 – An 18-month-old boy was killed in Aransas Pass after being left in a parked vehicle while his family was visiting relatives.

July 17 – The recent rainfall has kept Central Texas temperatures cooler this summer, with Austin yet to record its first 100-degree day in 2010.

July 19 – It is a common misconception that it is dangerous to exercise outdoors in the Texas summer heat, though in order to do so, some precautions are necessary.

July 24 – The United Way of Brazos Valley is helping needy families to keep their homes cool during in the sweltering summer heat and say that donations of fans are always welcome.

July 28 – The Austin City Council is considering an ordinance that would require employers to provide construction workers 10 minutes of breaks for every four hours worked or face possible fines for violations.

July 31 – High school students in North Texas that are fasting as a protest over proposed immigration legislation are having difficulty doing so in the extreme heat.

July 31 – Resident of an apartment complex in Duncanville felt miserable as they were forced to tough out triple digit heat without power because of stolen electric meters.


July 1 – Both President Obama and Governor Perry declared 19 South Texas counties as disaster areas following the aftermath of Hurricane Alex.

July 4 – A forecaster from the National Weather Service office in Brownsville says predicting the track and intensity of tropical systems is an inexact science.

July 4 – Several relief agencies in the Hill Country were on standby to assist those affected by Hurricane Alex in South Texas.

July 14 – The Federal Emergency Management Agency conducted preliminary damage assessments in seven Texas counties affected by Hurricane Alex.

July 18 – Churches in San Antonio are taking donations for flood victims living along the Rio Grande River affected by Hurricane Alex.

July 29 – Governor Rick Perry sent a letter to President Obama requesting a disaster declaration for several counties in South Texas because of flooding from Hurricane Alex and Tropical Depression 2, which was formerly Tropical Storm Bonnie.

July 29 – Hurricane preparedness was on the agenda for several representatives from law enforcement agencies in the Coastal Bend at a meeting in Corpus Christi.

Severe Weather

July 9 – The Texas Department of State Health Services has launched an educational campaign designed to encourage Texans to create an emergency plan in advance.

July 12 – A fifth-grade math teacher from Prosper is thankful to be alive after his truck was struck by lightning while on the Dallas North Tollway.

July 17 – A man working at the new dairy facility located at Tarleton State in Stephenville was in critical condition after being struck by lightning.

July 24 – Cedar Park has shut down its tornado siren system after the city council voted to get rid of the sirens instead of spending money to expand the early warning system.

July 25 – A severe storm in McLennan County, with winds clocked as high as 77 mph, knocked over trees in Waco and caused a tractor-trailer to jackknife on Interstate 35.

July 26 – A series of thunderstorms in the San Antonio area triggered several high water rescues, caused dozens of traffic accidents, and knocked out power to more than 18,000 customers.

July 28 – A thunderstorm that pushed through the Plainview area caused two power outages and dumped more than two inches of rainfall.

Other Climate Impacts

July 2 – A weatherman at a Beaumont television station has developed an "interesting" approach to delivering his forecast.

July 3 – A New York artist was having difficulties putting the finishing touches on the world's largest flag painting on the roof of Lamons Metal Gasket Company in Houston.

July 25 – A geography professor at Texas State University is trying to use the 2002 Canyon Lake flood, in which the landscape was greatly altered in a short time, to provide clues to the geography of Mars.

Air/Water Quality

July 2 – Several Corpus Christi refineries and a gas plant released several tons of emissions into the air after lightning caused a disruption in electrical power.

July 7 – The Environmental Protection Agency invalidated 122 permits issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that were criticized for being too lenient on pollution.

July 21 – Experts at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality say that African dust clouds can trigger the allergies of Central Texans during summer months.

July 22 – The University of Texas has developed a model that they believe can predict the effects of a hurricane on the dispersion of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

July 27 – Residents of Washington County were evacuated from their homes and the town of Burton placed a sheltering order on its residents after lightning sparked an explosion in storage tanks carrying oil by-products.

Animals/Aquatic Life

July 4 – Mosquito activity significantly increased in the wake of Hurricane Alex as the high water left in its wake is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

July 5 – A sea turtle that was struggling to cope with the rain and wind of Hurricane Alex was rescued by a state trooper and given to Sea Turtle Inc., and was promptly named "Alex."

July 5 – Although Hurricane Alex made landfall in northern Mexico, it caused considerable damage to the shorebird population in the Rio Grande Valley.

July 5 – The El Paso Department of Environmental Services is working overtime to prevent the spread of the West Nile virus by mosquitoes during an active monsoon season.

July 16 – The city of Amarillo is having trouble keeping up with one of the worst mosquito years in the history of the city.

July 19 – An overabundance of cricket corpses are littered throughout South Texas as a wet June perfect for breeding has dried and warmed during July.

July 23 – A snake expert says wet weather drives snakes from their underground habitat, and if you happen to come across a snake, the best advice is to just walk away.


July 21 – A report released by the Natural Resource Defense Council suggests that Texas will likely face a major water shortage by the year 2050. With expected climate change, 162 of the 253 counties in Texas would be at an "extreme" risk for water shortages, with only 5 counties at a "low" risk.


July 1 – About $5 million in repairs to the Texas City Dike, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Ike, are progressing ahead of schedule.

July 7 – The potential for flash flooding has delayed construction on the Central Expressway in Plano, though work on the road is expected to be completed in a few days.

July 13 – Damage in Nueces County from Hurricane Alex and the recent tropical depression was concentrated on the island and repairs will begin in the fall.

July 19 – A rainy summer has delayed construction of a new elementary school in Corpus Christi, and the school year will start at the old location.


July 3 – Houston had the lowest gas prices in Texas and it was reported that Hurricane Alex did not disrupt United States gasoline production.

July 6 – Residents of the Clear Lake area are concerned that storm surge markers may affect property values.

July 6 – Residents in Kilgore were not keen on idea that could charge homeowners based on the inability of their homes to soak up rainwater.

July 10 – "Smart" meters were being blamed for high electric bills this past winter across much of Texas, and these meters will be installed in the Lower Valley starting in 2012.

July 14 – Some homeowners in the El Paso area that suffered damage from last year's massive hail storm are frustrated they have yet to see any insurance money.

July 15 – The Texas Department of Rural Affairs Disaster Recovery Division granted Polk County $1.7 million, which will be used to construct a new commerce center.

July 15 – The CEO of Oncor Electric says that testing of 1.1 million "smart" meters showed only 25 were defective and resulted in an inaccurate bill for customers.

July 16 – The General Motors plant in Arlington had production slowed because flooding along the United States and Mexico border delayed parts from arriving on time.

July 17 – The combination of June heat and July rains in Midland have been bad for business at a local miniature golf course.

July 22 – The North Texas branch of the Texas Organizing Project arranged a rally to protest the lack of money in the System Benefit Fund going to help low-income families pay their electric bills.

July 22 – Reliant Energy is offering low-income and senior electric customers nearly $800,000 to help pay their electric bills through September 30th.

July 29 – A Congressional panel approved an $882 million project for Trinity River flood control, a massive public works project in the city of Dallas.

July 30 – A San Antonio woman was sentenced to five years of probation after swindling $71,500 dollars of hurricane relief funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.


July 5 – Trees planted in Richardson this past spring to green up the city are struggling to cope with the summer heat.

July 17 – Residents of Plainview were urged to prevent the overgrowth of weeds, which has been especially difficult after the abundance of rain so far this summer.

July 27 – The proposed 2010 flood plain map of El Paso eliminates 8,700 homes previously included but adds 5,300 homes in the Lower Valley section of the city, and the new additions will be required to purchase federal flood insurance.


July 21 – This year's wet weather in the Hill Country has invigorated deer and other wildlife, which needed revitalization after the devastating drought of 2009.

July 31 – The abundance of rain in 2010 across the Panhandle is creating excitement for dove hunters, who expect to have a great year.

July 31 – A month of active weather in the El Paso area ended with storms that brought hail and heavy rain, which caused some street flooding.


July 1 – Longhorn Cavern State Park in Burnet County is an ideal destination to escape the summer heat as temperatures in the cave are 68 degrees year round.

July 6 – The Joyland Amusement Park in Lubbock was closed to clean up the huge mess left by heavy rainfall over the Fourth of July weekend.

July 8 – Heavy rain forced the postponement of the opening round of the Honing Open being held at the Golfcrest Country Club in Pearland.

July 9 – Organizers of the 2010 Texas Water Safari paddle race are worried that rains will once again postpone their event, which was rescheduled from an original date of June 12th.

July 10 – Cooler than normal weather boosted the attendance for the Parker County Peach Festival, and rains this year brought a more abundant peach crop.

July 10 – The visiting Armadillo Dillas minor league baseball team's game against the Coast Bend Thunder in Robstown was delayed because of heavy rainfall.

July 12 – The abundant rainfall in Austin this summer has caused bats to leave the Congress Avenue Bridge as late as 10:00 pm, leaving expectant audiences disappointed.

July 24 – The second day of the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Region I track and field meet in Aldine was postponed because of stormy weather.


July 3 – Highway 87 was closed by the Texas Department of Public Safety when Alex-enhanced tides covered the road.

July 8 – Reservoirs along the Rio Grande River in South Texas are at their highest levels in decades, which has forced the closure of several bridges between the United States and Mexico.

July 8 – Storms bringing heavy rainfall at the time of the morning rush hour made travel to work an absolute nightmare.

July 11 – Heavy rain in the El Paso area was causing street flooding and drivers were urged to approach low water crossings with caution.

July 15 – The summer heat is being blamed for a buckled road in Richardson, which can happen with little to no warning when temperatures are above 90 degrees for several straight days.

July 16 – Flood waters were prevalent across El Paso, stalling several cars and making travel difficult for other vehicles.

July 27 – Lightning caused a delay to the entire DART rail system in the Dallas area after it struck the system hub.

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