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Old 11-15-2007, 10:39 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
944 posts, read 2,143,007 times
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Has anyone researched this? I read of the terrible situation in the southeastern U.S., and I hope it's not another Katrina waiting to happen. I've also read that the freakish amounts of rain that South Texas endured over the summer occurred due to the high pressure system over the southeast re-channeling their rainfall in our direction (just one theory I heard).

My question is this: Had it not been for our abnormal summer rains, would we be in a similar situation as the southeast? In other words, is the whole southern U.S. in trouble, and that weird weather pattern last summer just bought us more time? The reason I ask is that an acquaintance in Austin told me how she was walking out on sandbars (or something like that) on Lake Travis before that two months of summer rain happened, because the water levels were so low.

Any climatologists on call here who could take a stab at this question?
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Old 11-15-2007, 10:49 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX (78201)
604 posts, read 1,129,434 times
Reputation: 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by hello13685 View Post
Has anyone researched this? I read of the terrible situation in the southeastern U.S., and I hope it's not another Katrina waiting to happen. I've also read that the freakish amounts of rain that South Texas endured over the summer occurred due to the high pressure system over the southeast re-channeling their rainfall in our direction (just one theory I heard).

My question is this: Had it not been for our abnormal summer rains, would we be in a similar situation as the southeast? In other words, is the whole southern U.S. in trouble, and that weird weather pattern last summer just bought us more time? The reason I ask is that an acquaintance in Austin told me how she was walking out on sandbars (or something like that) on Lake Travis before that two months of summer rain happened, because the water levels were so low.

Any climatologists on call here who could take a stab at this question?
Not a climatologist but the next best thing: Meteorology major at UIW

I'm not sure about a major drought, but I know that right now because of La Nina (a cooling trend in the water temp of the equatorial Pacific that effects global climate), we will be having warmer than average, drier than average conditions. Once the waters warm back up and global climate levels back out, you can expect things to be more "normal".

I think the projection is 3-6 months...
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Old 11-15-2007, 10:55 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
944 posts, read 2,143,007 times
Reputation: 256
Thanks. I guess I'm also wondering if there are people who may be suggesting that current conditions may not level out due to greater climate change factors--in other words, that this is not just our average, cyclical, passing, La Nina fluctuation. Or that at the least it may remain in place much longer than it would have before greater climate change set in.
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Old 11-15-2007, 01:42 PM
Status: "Have gun, will travel!" (set 15 hours ago)
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
8,364 posts, read 13,298,061 times
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That's not what Al Gore said!

Cheers! M2
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Old 11-15-2007, 07:03 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
3,542 posts, read 5,635,457 times
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Droughts are no strangers to South Texas (2005-2006 being the most recent one). If you look at where we are globally on the diagram below, we're stationed where the Hadley and Ferrell Cells meet, a region prone to ridging or sinking air. In order to get an abundance of rain, you need an area of low pressure (lifting air). This is alway why the tropics are the regios area on the planet.


For us to get rain, we look to a few sources --- mid-latitude waves (storms along the jet streams) or to the tropics. The ridge of high pressure that was over the southeastern US this summer, and to some effects still hung around during the fall, allowed us to remain under a nearly constant area of low pressure drawing in moisture from the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico -- explaining why it was so wet this summer. Had this not happened, then yes, we would have been in a pretty nasty drought.

The good news for us is that we have little to fear in terms of water shortages in even the worst droughts. The Edwards Aquifer, our only drinking water source in San Antonio, extends from San Antonio through Del Rio holding water for previous rains in such a supply that we could go 100 years without running dry. The only fear is that when the aquifer is below 95% capacity, the springs that are fed by the aquifer run out of water altering local ecosystems. For more information on the Edwards Aquifer, visit Frequently Asked Questions.

Changing topics a bit, you may have noticed that this fall has been rather dry across our area and that we may be transitioning into a drought. There is hope that this weekend, an area of low pressure stationed over Baja California will push east over Texas bringing plenty of beneficial soakers Sunday and Monday. After that, we may even be seeing some rain next week with the approach of a powerful arctic cold front that will make this years Thanksgiving a cold one.

Last edited by AnthonySA; 11-15-2007 at 07:10 PM.. Reason: added link
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Old 11-15-2007, 07:08 PM
 
Location: 77059
7,741 posts, read 18,444,088 times
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It's getting pretty bad here, too. We had humidity in the teens and we havent had rainfall in awhile. Fire danger through today since it was windy as well. Things are drying up and browning out quite a bit here. The weather is pretty nice overall, though.
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Old 11-15-2007, 09:31 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
944 posts, read 2,143,007 times
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Wow Anthony, great post, thanks.
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Old 11-15-2007, 11:28 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX (78201)
604 posts, read 1,129,434 times
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Excellent post, AnthonySA.
He's right, we normally sit under a semi-permanent high due to what he described above, and that means clear skies, warm days, cool nights, and no rain.

There are predictions of change for Thanksgiving, but that's a week out, and forcasts aren't exactly always on the money a week out. We'll just have to see what happens...
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Old 02-08-2008, 05:28 PM
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Location: San Antonio
14,631 posts, read 21,561,167 times
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According to the Weathervane blog post linked below, "the latest U.S. Drought Monitor has placed San Antonio in the severe drought category, along with an area to the south and southwest which connects and encloses Bandera, Uvalde, Eagle Pass, Laredo and George West."

The article goes on to discuss that although the aquifer levels are good now, they will begin to drop more rapidly as farmers and landscapers rev up their watering when spring weather arrives for good in the next few weeks.

MySA.com: Weathervane (http://blogs.mysanantonio.com/weblogs/weathervane/2008/02/february_8_2008.html - broken link)
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Old 02-08-2008, 05:37 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
5,780 posts, read 8,990,035 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hello13685 View Post
Thanks. I guess I'm also wondering if there are people who may be suggesting that current conditions may not level out due to greater climate change factors--in other words, that this is not just our average, cyclical, passing, La Nina fluctuation. Or that at the least it may remain in place much longer than it would have before greater climate change set in.
Or....here is another concern for those of you staying up at night worrying about global warming....

IBDeditorials.com: Editorials, Political Cartoons, and Polls from Investor's Business Daily -- The Sun Also Sets
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