Local weather risks

As the summer advances, I am seeing several articles about the hurricane season and the need to be better prepared.  Texas A&M has some good material on Emergency procedures including guides for the following events:  Thunderstorm Disasters, Winter Storm Disasters, and Heat Wave Disasters.

As I review our preparedness for disasters, I am not so much worried about Hurricanes as I may have been in the past.  We have yet to really feel any of the weather effects of the big hurricanes here in Austin.  We usually hope for an increased amount of rain and are disappointed.

What we can be more aware of is the increased risk of wildfires.  The Texas A&M Forest Service has the following web page regarding the risk of fire, burn bans and drought.   The drought index is particularly interesting.  Please click on the video above to see the recent trends in soil moisture and drought.  Note:  Blue represents a relative saturation of soil moisture, while red represents an absence of soil moisture.  The video represents the daily maps from January 1, 2008 to March 4, 2013.  To see the current daily map, click on this link. What we can tell from this link is that our soil moisture levels (top 6 inches) for July 31 are not as extremely dry as in past summers.  That makes this a good summer!  Please note that these charts do not reflect aquifer levels or water supply, just risks to forest fires and drought.

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