Saturday, August 13, 2011


This morning Saturday, August 13, 2011 at 5:49am I was on the so-called smart end of the leash, standing in the pouring rain with all the accompanying very impressive thunder and lightning whilst a brindle cairn terrier did her business on the front lawn. Now, she didn’t just go into posture - she had to circle around and wander about for what seemed an eternity while she and the smart end of the leash soaked up and reveled in a rain that she and I hadn’t seen in what seemed forever and a day. We returned to the house literally soaked to the bone. We didn’t melt or suffer any untoward malady. We were just shower dripping wet and that was OK. We found joy in those moments and I swear she was smiling

You see, north Texas hadn’t seen rain in over two months and we are in the middle of a severe, extended drought. We just ended a forty day stretch of 100+ degree days, so far the second hottest summer since they started keeping records. Most nights the temperature here hasn’t dipped below 85 degrees making for a sticky uncomfortable environment and tons of business for the air conditioning companies. The temperature now at 6:15 am is 75° (and falling) - the first time the temperature has dipped below 80° in that same interval.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) via its National Climatic Data Center reports that July 2011 was the hottest July in Texas since the Lone Star State started keeping records back in 1895. The National Weather Service declared that Texas is in its driest ten-month period ever on record with this summer officially usurping 1918 as the second worst drought in Texas history. And if this makes sense, the Texas state climatologist declared this the most severe one-year drought on record in Texas. Only the now infamous drought of 1950-1957 remains the most severe. No wonder Mother moved us all to Rhode Island

This drought and high temperatures are the primary cause for the massive wildfires that have ravaged much of west and north Texas (over three million acres to date). Texas A&M has conservatively estimated the damage to Texas crops at five billion dollars (US). Our frustration with the weather was seemingly punctuated by tropical storm (TS) Don which gave hope of a National Weather Service forecasted three-plus inches of rain to a parched southeast Texas on July 30. TS Don with its resplendent reds, oranges, yellow on Doppler radar aimed for Corpus Christi on the Texas Gulf coast. Texans rejoiced with hurricane parties in sincere appreciation of Mother Nature’s bounteous offerings.

Now you had to see this to believe it, but when TS Don hit the coast and the entrenched dome of high pressure over Texas, those resplendent Doppler effects within a two and one-half hour period literally fizzled to light greens to – nothing. Texans anticipating a respite from the state's historic drought, while disappointed, could only conjure memories of a good party.

So, the storms that rolled out of Oklahoma during these early morning hours are a Godsend to the drought withered Lone Star State though will only be around for a few more hours before we go back to a regimen of dry 100°+ heat and no rain. But, love it or hate it - that’s Texas

We wondered why other folks in the neighborhood weren’t dancing in the streets? The current temperature at West Yellowstone is 28° and it’s been snowing at the top of the Beartooths…


Ned Buxton

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