Most of Texas has been living through an exceptional drought with Central Texas in its driest 10-month spell in recorded history. The recent tropical storm that hit our neighboring state, Louisiana, coupled with a cool front, brought high winds to the area–a perfect recipe for wildfires.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the Twitter hashtags, #centraltxfires and #txfire for conditions around the area. Some of the fires have been contained, others such as the one in the neighboring Bastrop area, are still raging out of control. Here’s a link to a picture showing the Bastrop fire over the horizon with downtown Austin in the foreground. Here’s another now-contained one close to our Austin office.
Here was a view from my house over the weekend of one of the fires in the area. Folks have been updating a Google Map showing the areas that have and have not been affected.
The weather patterns here are governed by Pacific Ocean warming and cooling conditions dubbed La Niña and El Niño. The current La Niña condition typically brings drought conditions to Texas. El Niño typically brings flood conditions. Unfortunately the U.S. Climate Prediction Center’s latest prediction is for these current conditions to continue through the rest of this year.
Normally, we don’t want to see tropical storms come our way, but if one could find its way along a sparsely populated path inland to Central Texas, we sure could use it.