Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Dry And Dusty Land

Yesterday I touched, more or less, on the heat that's currently broiling this part of the country. Here's a follow-up.

It's so hot that:
  • the National Weather Service has issued an extreme heat advisory for this part of the country. It urges people to avoid strenuous activity ... or, in the case of the lazy jerks on welfare, carry on.
  • squirrels are pouring Gatorade on their nuts
  • ice pops are melting in the freezer
  • I saw two trees fighting over a dog
  • birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground
  • cows are giving evaporated milk
  • I saw a dog chasing a cat and they were both walking
  • chickens are laying hard-boiled eggs

Or in Texas slang, it's hotter than:
  • two mice screwing in a wool sock
  • a hooker on two-for-one night
  • a two-peckered billy goat (If you've ever owned a goat I don't have to explain this one to you.)

 But seriously, folks, it is brutally hot and dry down here. It's not just the heat. We're in the middle of the worst drought in recorded history.
A record-breaking stretch of scorching weather is keeping Texas and the lower Colorado River basin firmly in the grips of severe drought.

The 10 months from October 2010 through July 2011 have been the driest for that 10-month period in Texas since 1895, when the state began keeping rainfall records. Across most of the Hill Country and the Austin area, rainfall since last October is between 16 and 20 inches below normal.

Our part of the state hit 109 degrees on Saturday, 110 degrees on Sunday, and 107 on Monday. So far this year there have been over 100 days when the temperature has reached or exceeded 100 degrees where I work on the Texas-Mexico border.

 We haven't had any measurable rain in months. We live less than a mile from the Guadalupe River, which has stopped flowing along our stretch. We also have a weekend place on Lake Buchanan, which is around 25 feet below normal.  

Among the consequences of the extreme weather are dried-up rivers and lakes:
...streamflow in the upper Colorado River and the Llano River remains very low, and Sandy Creek near Kingsland and the Pedernales River at Johnson City have little to no flow.  Most streams in the Texas Hill Country are dry and as a result, the inflows to the Highland Lakes continue to be well below normal for this time of year.  Exceptional to extreme drought conditions remain in place over most of Texas.

Record power consumption and rolling blackouts:
Extreme heat covering the state led to record weekend power use Saturday and Sunday as Texans cranked up air conditioners to cope with triple-digit temperatures and drought.

It said the heat index was expected to peak at between 104 and 110 degrees between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. CDT Monday in the affected areas of Texas...

Houston, the state's biggest metropolitan area, hit 109 Fahrenheit Saturday and is forecast to see a high of 102 Monday. Dallas hit 106 on Saturday and is projected to hit 105 Monday.

That heat led the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to set back-to-back weekend power use records as demand soared above 65,100 megawatts on Saturday afternoon, then hit 65,159 megawatts on Sunday, according to initial data posted on the ERCOT website.
A crippled cattle industry:
Texas cattle ranchers are selling their herds, and some communities are running out of water, as a punishing Texas drought shows no sign of waning with the driest months still ahead.
 ... the animals at a recent ... auction look pitiful. They're standing in 107-degree heat — that's in the shade — with their ribs showing, stressed out. It's been like this for the past nine weeks — no rain. Although these cows were bred for the heat, they weren't bred for this. They look absolutely baked.

So by all means pray for the victims of Hurricane Irene. Give them whatever help and support you can.

But spare a few prayers for those of us in flyover country who are ignored by the federal government and the mainstream media because the drought is not happening in their back yard...


Old NFO said...

Yep, y'all really need to have Mother Nature give y'all a break... Just talked to a buddy in East Texas, it's ONLY 103 there today.

CenTexTim said...

I could live with the heat if we could just get some rain.

The ag folks and the meteorologists say we need about 15 inches of rain over a 6 - 8 week period to break the drought. That's 3 or 4 tropical storms coming inland from the Gulf coast.

Not likely...