Monday, September 5, 2011

A Burning Question

When will we get rain? As mentioned in previous posts, most of Texas is in the middle of its worst drought in recorded history. What we really need is a slow-moving tropical storm to drop 10 - 20 inches of rain on us, a la TS Lee. But all we've gotten so far this summer is teased, first by Don and now by Lee.

A tragic consequence of the drought, coupled with winds stirred up by Lee, is an outbreak of wildfires across east and central Texas. In the last two days thousands of acres and hundreds of homes have been burned. Sadly, a mother and her baby lost their lives as well.
An unchecked wildfire southeast of Austin, Texas, destroyed 300 homes, scorched thousands of acres and stretched across a 16-mile area Monday morning, authorities said.
The fire in Bastrop County
Another blaze in eastern Texas killed a mother and her 18-month-old child when flames engulfed their mobile home Sunday near the town of Gladewater, the Gregg County Sheriff's Department said.
The fires were among more than 20 across the state, the Texas Forest Service said Monday. Officials said winds from Lee, which made landfall as a tropical storm but has weakened to a tropical depression, fanned the flames.
At least 56 new fires across Texas Sunday burned about 30,000 acres, the state's fire service said.

Fires were reported in at least 17 counties across the state.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning Sunday across much of south, central and eastern Texas. A red flag warning means weather conditions -- mainly high heat, low humidity and strong winds -- pose an extreme fire risk. Sustained winds near 25 mph, with higher gusts, were forecast.

Texas is currently battling its worst fire season in state history. A record 3.5 million acres have burned since the start of the season in November.
I'm not a big global warming climate change believer. However, it's easy to rationalize that unusual weather patterns are just a short-term blip in the long-term picture when you're not directly affected by that blip. But when you're getting hammered every day by relentless heat and drought, while watching other parts of the country suffer through flood (spring in the midwest) after flood (Hurricane Ike on the eastern seaboard) after flood (TS Lee in the southeast), well, it gets harder and harder to deny that something is going on.

Send us some rain, however, and my faith will be restored...


Firehand said...

OK has received a few bits of rain the last couple of months; not nearly enough to catch up, but I think that's the only reason we're not in the same situation as Texas.

Our fire problem is bad as is, if we hadn't received that little bit of rain...

CenTexTim said...

We also have idiots who think it's okay to run off and leave their BBQ grill unattended. That's the cause of at least one of the fires close to our place.

JT said...

Let the dogs out at 3 am this morning and smelled smoke - needless to say, I didn't get back to sleep. It is downright scary around here.