How Hot Is It In Texas?


Texas Gov. Ricky Perry's swagger and anti-science views won't turn down the heat in his state/via rickperry.org

I've been to Texas a few times in the past year to visit a friend who moved there, but I'm not planning on returning any time soon if the state's record heat keeps up. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Thursday marked the 34th consecutive day that the mercury level went over the 100 mark. Dating back to 1895, July was the hottest month ever recorded in Texas, a state that knows a few things about serious heat. John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist and professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M; University, says the state is in the midst of the worst drought in some time. He says the drought is tied to La Nina and is worsened by climate change, to what degree he is not yet sure. From Texas A&M;:

Rainfall totals were also unusually light across the state. The July monthly total of 0.72 inches ranks third driest, surpassed by the 0.69 inches recorded in both 1980 and 2000. This is the fifth consecutive month in which precipitation totals were among the 10 driest for that month, says the Texas A&M; professor.

Among the other rainfall records set this month: least year-to-date precipitation (6.53 inches; historical average 16.03 inches; previous record 9.36 inches in 1917); driest consecutive 8, 9 and 10 months on record (7.25 inches 8.35 inches, and 9.17 inches respectively); and driest 12 months ending in July (15.16 inches, previous record 16.46 inches in 1925).

Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle has been tracking fresh water levels, which are dropping with increased speed.

Lake Houston and Lake Conroe may soon enter uncharted territory as the incessant drought and searing temperatures continue to deplete these two reservoirs' precious water supplies.

And things could grow drastically worse if no significant rain falls in the next week and a half, authorities warn. Each lake was built on the San Jacinto River as a source of drinking water for Houston.

The city of Houston this week has alerted the San Jacinto River Authority that it may have to take an emergency step that has not been done for two decades - order Lake Conroe to release up to 150 million gallons of water a day from its dam. The water would then flow downstream to Lake Houston, so that reservoir would remain deep enough to assure the city's water purification plant there can continue operating.

However, if Lake Conroe is drained of this amount for two months, the lake's water level will quickly plummet to a new all-time record low.

Seems like a good time to cut funding for the EPA, Interior Department, and for R&D; for renewable technologies that will mitigate global warming emissions, right?

Tags: Texas