Thursday, September 01, 2011

August 2011 Weather in Central Texas

A week ago tonight I had been watching the weather radar and knew we had storms in the area.  When I finally started hearing thunder at my house, I knew I should get out and try for some storm photos.  Henry joined me and began using his phone to track where the storm was. I was driving, heading in the direction I could see the flashes.  While the radar indicated storms between Taylor and Hutto, I saw no flashes so I kept heading east and south.

Just north of Elgin, I was seeing clear enough flashes that I found a place on a country road where I could set up my camera with my window mount and be at the right angle to attempt lightning photography from the safety of my car. 

I began to notice that I had a utility pole that was obstructing some of the bolts of lightning, so I began to move farther south past Elgin.

The amazing thing about these photos is that this lightning was really not close to where I was. I was just south of Elgin and these storms were at La Grange and Halletsville, many many miles away.  The tops of the clouds were very tall and the lightning strong enough to be seen from 50 miles away. 

 According to the local weathermen, August 2011 was the hottest August ever recorded at Camp Mabry as well as the hottest month ever with an average temperature of 91.6 beating the old reacord of 88.4 in the summer of 2009.  A new record for the consecutive number of 100 degree days at Camp Mabry was 27 compared with the old record of 21 days set from July 12-August 1, 2001.  As of August 31, 76 days of above 100 degrees.  To put this in perspective, an average summer in Austin yields only 13.5 days over 100 degrees.  Last but not least, August 28 tied the all time record high of 112 degrees at Camp Mabry. 

The worst drought in Texas history was between 1951 and 1956 when I was a small child. I do remember dust coming in the house under the closed windows.  Throughout the state,  October through June has been the driest 9 months on record.  We've had very little rain since then.

On my way chasing the storms, I did drive through enough rain to have to turn on my windshield wipers for maybe 5 minutes.  When we returned home, the ground was dry, but the deck was wet and the air at home gave the hint of the fragrance of rain. 

I've been telling people that I'm a believer . . . I believe that the weather WILL cool down this fall. I believe that it WILL rain again.  We have a cold front with possible rain this weekend.  It is sad  that I am thinking that 99 degrees as a high is going to feel so comfortable!  I've gotten a little used to these high temps, sweating everywhere I go.  But with the turning of the calendar page, I'm looking forward to the first hints of fall.

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