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Burn Bans

County-wide burn bans through December 1


Monthly Change in Drought Monitor Classification

U.S. Drought Monitor, November 5, 2013
U.S. Drought Monitor, November 26, 2013

Austin Off Drought Map for First Time in Years- The recent rains have helped to eliminate the drought for the first time in three years for the city of Austin. The rain has done little to help lakes Travis and Buchanan as both still sat at 36% capacity.
KTBC News, November 8, 2013

El Paso County No Longer in Drought- With recent rainfall at or above normal, the drought has receded to only 50% of the state--a major improvement from 75% four months ago. El Paso county is one of more than two dozen counties to be lifted completely out of the drought.
KTSM News, Keagan Harsha, November 11, 2013

Water Supply

Landscapers Among those Hit Hardest with New Restrictions- Stage 4 watering restrictions will go into place this Saturday for Wichita Falls residents, completely banning outdoor irrigation. This will hit landscapers extremely hard. Landscaping businesses have begun to look for more water conservative approaches to landscaping such as using gravel or low water-use plants. Owners claim that if restrictions remain past April the damage to business may be irreversible.
KAUZ News, Cynthia Kobayashi, November 13, 2013

LCRA Decides to Err on the Side of Caution- The Lower Colorado River Authority voted 8-7 to change the threshold for water release from Highlands Lakes. The old threshold was a combined 42%, but as of the vote it was raised to 55% and will make a release for rice farmers downstream less likely. This has rice farmers furious, but those in Austin more satisfied with water restrictions.
KXAN News, David Yeomans, November 19, 2013

Agricultural Impacts

River Authority Plan Could Cut Off Farmers- A Central Texas river authority has voted on an emergency drought plan that would surely cut off water release to rice farmers for a third straight year due to low levels on Lake Travis and Buchanan. Farmers downstream say that this action would ultimately end in the ruin of the rice industry in Colorado, Matagorda, and Wharton Counties.
The Houston Chronicle, Matthew Tresaugue, November 19, 2013

Elgin CHRISTmas Tree Farm Rebounds from Drought- For the first time in years the Elgin CHRISTmas Tree Farm will see a great harvest for the Christmas season. Recent rains have given the trees plenty of water to grow, and the family owners expect up to 4,000 trees to sell this year. It is quite a turnaround from the past few years where the family had to go out and water by hand the weak, drought stressed trees.
KVUE News, Jessica Vess, November 24, 2013

Preliminary South Plains Cotton Quality Reports Generally Good- A surprisingly good cotton harvest is taking place across the Texas Panhandle this year. Dry weather, a few hail storms, and a late start have hampered the crops' overall performance, but late season rain and freezes have helped to make the best of the end of the growth season. The color of the crop is good and harvest is set to be done by Thanksgiving, yet still below the 10 year average.
Abilene Reporter News, Robert Burns, November 24, 2013

Inclement Weather

Cold/Winter Weather

Cold Weather has Firefighters Bracing for Call Spike- Each year when it first gets cold, the Austin Fire Department sees a rise in calls for smoke investigations and fires. This is because of unused heaters beginning to burn off dust or improperly cared for heaters catching fire. Firefighters urge people to keep working smoke detectors and to have an escape plan ready in case of fire.
KEYE News, November 13, 2013

More Seeking Help from Salvation Army Due to Cold Weather- The recent cold front brought more homeless people in off the streets and into the Salvation Army Shelter in Corpus Christi. Usually there are around 35 individuals in the shelter, but this week there are between 60 and 80.
KIII News, November 14, 2013

Snow Blankets Region; Plainview Measures 3.2 Inches- An overnight winter storm produced some freezing drizzle, then sleet, and finally snow across the region. A total of 3.2 inches of snow fell in Plainview forcing local churches to modify worship services and officials to warn people off the roads.
The Plainview Herald, Doug McDonough, November 24, 2013

Snow brings Winter Fun and Winter Danger to South Plains- Lubbock was turned into a winter wonderland over the weekend, sending students from Texas Tech out to sled and play in the snow. The weather wasn’t a welcome sight for all though; the Police Department sees a big uptick in accidents during winter weather because of the slick and icy roads. The Fire Department also urges safety using heaters in the home.
KCBD News, Alex Zielinski, November 24, 2013

Five Die in Weekend Weather Related Texas Accidents- A winter storm is blamed for the death of 5 Texans across the Panhandle as icy roads caused drivers to lose control. This storm system is blamed for 30,000 power outages across North and West Texas. Over 300 flights out of DFW were canceled due to winter weather threats.
The Corsicana Daily Sun, November 25, 2013

Snowflakes Fall North of Houston- Big wet flakes of snow were seen, mixed with rain and sleet, to the north of Houston throughout the day on Monday before coming to an end in the afternoon. Huntsville saw heavy snowfall at times, but no accumulation was seen because the ground was well above freezing.
KHOU News, November 26, 2013


Flood Clean up Continues, 18 homes deemed Uninhabitable- Last week’s flooding damaged 1,100 homes in Austin, particularly in the Onion Creek subdivision. Residents in the area say they have seen flooding before, but never to this level, and they continue to clean up the damage. 18 families are now homeless after floodwaters left their homes too damaged to live in.
KXAN News, Angie Beavin, November 4, 2013

Rains Leave Brownsville Streets Flooded- The central area of Brownsville was hit hard by heavy rains after a cold front passage causing localized flooding. A foot and a half of water stood over Paredes Line Road near Boca Chica Boulevard and several inches flooded Boca Chica near the Walmart. Several cars were left stranded off Pablo Kiesel Boulevard.
KGBT News, November 6, 2013

County Declares Disaster in Wake of Flooding Event- County Judge Larry Jones issued a proclamation on November 5 declaring Guadalupe County a disaster zone after reviewing the damage and loss of life from the Halloween floods. The declaration will make the county eligible for federal assistance if a federal disaster declaration is also made.
Seguin Gazette, Bob Thaxton, November 10, 2013

Severe Weather

Thursday Storms Left Thousands Without Power in Houston Area- Overnight storms on Thursday left 14,000 customers without power with the initial round of storms. That number rose to 16,260 by 6:21 a.m. according to CenterPoint Energy.
KETK News, November 1, 2013

Not Your Average Tornado Drill- Inspired by the tornado strike of a medical center in Joplin, Missouri, East Texas Medical Center in Tyler went through a full scale tornado drill. The North wing of the hospital acted as if it suffered a direct tornado strike with local students acting as injured patients needing assistance.
KLTV News, Melanie Torre, November 5, 2013

Funnel Cloud Caught on Camera Over Bryan- Some thunderstorms are making their way through the Brazos Valley ahead of a powerful cold front. Senior meteorology major Kathryn Westerman on Texas A&M University caught a funnel cloud developing over Bryan from the O&M Building as storms moved through. The funnel did not touch down and no warning was issued.
KBTX News, John Gilbert, November 21, 2013


Windy Weather Causes headaches for Some- Ahead of a cold front, strong west winds picked up across the borderland causing a wind advisory to be issued by the National Weather Service. The winds were strong enough to knock a dead tree over onto two cars in West El Paso.
KTSM News, Monica Cortez, November 12, 2013

Other Climate Impacts


Perez Elementary School, Closed Roads to Reopen Monday- Last week’s floods closed Perez Elementary School in Southeast Austin for Thursday and Friday, but the school and roads surrounding it will reopen on Monday. Students with a valid flood related excuse for tardiness or absence will be excused for the time.
KVUE News, November 4, 2013

Big Country School Districts Release Students Early because of Weather- Several school districts in the Big County decided to end classes early on Friday due to the impending winter weather. Jayton ISD canceled classes altogether on Friday and Clyde High School and Stamford High School decided to delay their football games to Saturday.
KTXS News, November 22, 2013

Power Outages Cancel Arlington ISD Classes- Though the winter storm was not nearly as bad as expected something still knocked out the power to several schools across Arlington, causing classes to be canceled. Students were allowed to be on campus but classes were not held, and parents were urged to keep students at home.
KTVT News, Joel Thomas, November 25, 2013

Animals/Aquatic Life

Experts Fear Drought is Hurting Monarch Butterfly Migration- About one-fifth of the normal monarch butterfly population is expected to make it to Mexico for the annual fall migration across South Texas this year. The drought over the past few years has killed off much of the food that butterflies survive off of on the way south as well as the lack of water.
KGBT News, November 12, 2013

Cold Stunned Sea Turtles Washing Up to Shore as Water Temps Drop- The sudden arrival of a strong cold front caught many sea turtles across the Texas coast off guard and sent them into cold shock, a paralysis that leaves them drifting in the surf. More than two dozen turtles were found and rescued by parks and wildlife officials to be rehabilitated.

KIII News, November 27, 2013


Austin Businesses Profiting from Cold Weather- Several types of business see sales go way up when the first cold snap of the season occurs. Firewood sales, chimney sweeps, plumbers, and heating repair companies all see a rise in business as folks prepare for winter. This happens every year, and has these short term business season owners excited.
KEYE News, Jordan Steele, November 12, 2013

Austin-Area Flooding Damage Tab Tops $14M- Emergency management officials have toured the damage of flood stricken areas near Austin and estimated the total damage to be near $14.4 million. This amount is shy of the $35 million needed for federal assistance to be available, but individuals may request assistance from FEMA. The flooding is blamed for 6 deaths on Halloween.
The Beaumont Enterprise, November 20, 2013

Cattle Prices Rise with Drought’s Side Effects- The drought still lingers on and so do its economic impacts on the meat market. Cattle show a secondary dependence upon rainfall because they feed on grasses and crops that depend on high rainfall, and over the last three years rainfall has dropped, so herd size dropped with it. The impact is far reaching with beef prices high for consumers and with less beef more switch to pork or chicken causing that to rise. The low beef herd forced the closure and layoff of 2,200 workers at a Cargill Plant in Plainview and in summer 2014 a Lockney feedlot will also close. Beef prices are expected to remain high and near record prices.
Lubbock Avalanche Journal, Josie Musico, November 30, 2013


Aching Joints can predict Cold Weather, Health Officials Say- Many elderly people claim that the aches and pains in their joints can predict when it is about to get cold, so this claim was investigated. It turns out that health officials confirm that joint fluid swells or compresses in response to pressure changes, so people who claim this can predict a cold front with some accuracy a day or so in advance, though not to the level of a meteorologist.
KFOX News, Crystal Price, November 7, 2013


Northeast Beauty Sprinkled in the Lone Star State-Texas A&M horticulture professor Dr. Mike Arnold says this is the best fall foliage year for Texas in nearly two decades. The perfect conditions have been setup for beautiful colors with unseasonably cool temperatures, rainy weather, and just enough sunshine. The process of leaf change is short lived though, with only a few more days of peak color expected this season.
KBTX News, Natasha Sweatte, November 21, 2013


Why South Texas’s oyster harvest is Shrinking- The drought is still hitting the oyster industry hard along the Gulf Coast of Texas with a 50% drop in collection from a normal year. The drought causes a rise in salinity in the bays oysters live in as well as a rise in temperatures, giving oyster predators a better chance to get their meal. The salinity also affects the oyster’s ability to reproduce, leaving fewer future generations of oysters for fishermen to collect.
The Victoria Advocate, Sara Sneath, November 6, 2013


Water Proposal Gets a Big OK- Proposition 6 was handily given the go ahead by Texas voters in a 3-1 margin on Election Day. The new constitutional amendment will provide $2 billion in available funds to allow for water resource construction and conservation projects across the state. The Texas Water Development Board will receive requests for projects from the 16 different regional water planning agencies and then decide which are the best use of the money. The proposition will also allow for smaller municipalities to set up a deferred payment program for projects.
San Antonio Express, Drew Joseph, November 5, 2013


Benefit Concert for Flood Victims in Downtown Austin- The Red Shed Tavern in downtown Austin was packed with people looking to help out the victims of the deadly Halloween floods in Austin this year. Several bands took the stage and a silent auction took place to raise money for the Austin Disaster Relief Network.
KEYE News, November 17, 2013

All-Region Auditions Postponed Due to Weather Concerns- The Texas Music Eduators Association has postponed the All-Region Band auditions for this Saturday at Frenship High School due to forecasted icy weather. The new audition date is set for December 7 at the same location.
KCBD News, November 21, 2013

Bad Weather Delays Walkway of Lights- The annual Walk of Lights opening in Marble Falls has been delayed due to cold weather and rain damage to walkways from earlier rains. Organizers also say that if the rains continue the lights will not be turned on because of the risk of blowing fuses in the rain.
KXAN News, Calily Bien, November 22, 2013


Roads Still Closed Due to Flooding Damage- Commuters around Austin have noticed that several roads are still closed after last week’s torrential rain and flooding. Burleson Road, Old San Antonio Road, Farwell Road, and Twin Creek Road are still closed due to pavement damage. There is no timeline on when the roads will reopen.
KXAN News, Kate Weidaw, November 4, 2013

TxDOT Cold Weather Road Maintenance- With freezing temperatures on the way the Texas Department of Transportation is getting prepared for slick, icy roads this winter. They are filling up large dump trucks with a pumice-like rock that will be spread on roads under icy conditions. The rock will then be crushed by vehicles driving on the roads, increasing the traction on wheels, and helping to prevent dangerous skidding.
KYTX News, Melissa Daigle, November 12, 2013

Heavy Rain Causes Problems for Some Commuters- Heavy rains in Houston led to flooding on a few local roadways that brought traffic to a standstill and stranded some motorists. At highway 59 and the North Loop a couple feet of water covered the roadway until the pumps kicked in, but this still required the road to be closed.
KTRK News, Simon Gutierrez, November 22, 2013

Willie Nelson Band Members Injured in Crash Near Sulphur Springs- Icy road conditions and high winds are blamed for the crash of Willie Nelson’s our bus just to the east of Sulphur Springs. The bus driver lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a bridge pillar on Interstate 30. Nelson was not on board, but his scheduled performances in November have been postponed.
The Longview News Journal, November 23, 2013

AA Cancels 950 Flights as Thanksgiving Starts- More than 300 American Airlines flights were canceled out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport as icy weather threatens North Texas. The cancellations are set to have ripple effect across the country as the storm continues its move east on the busiest travel day of the year.
USA Today, Ben Mutzabaugh, November 25, 2013

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