Rash Ramblings

A runner once, an explorer always!

Category : Weather

One Hundred Twelve

To say this summer in Austin has been harsh is an understatement. The all-time record high of 112 was tied on Sunday, August 28, 2011.  July was the hottest month ever in recorded history and then August was hotter than July. September continued that warmer than normal trend. This year tied September of 2005 as the warmest on record. The record for the number of consecutive days above 100 was set at 27 on August 12th. The old record was 21. I wasn’t totally convinced that we wouldn’t break that record for a second time this same summer. As of today (October 2, 2011) there have been 90 100-degree days this summer and 132 90-degree days in a row. The previous record number of 100 degree days was 69 set in 1925. We had a high of 101 on September 29 which was the latest 100 degree day in the month of September. We still may not be done with the triple digits as there have been two occasions of 100 degree days on October 2. They occurred in 1938 and 1923. We are in to breaking records this year so why should we assume we are done? A link to show 100 degree information for some cities on the southern plains: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/srh/climate/?n=100degree2011

It hasn’t been enough to be brutally hot. We are also very dry.  The rainfall of 0.01 inches in September 2011 set a record for the driest September at Austin Bergstrom. The old record was 0.02 inches in September 1989. The average annual rainfall in Austin is 32.1 inches.  According to the LCRA and the National Weather Service, “The 11 months from October 2010 through August 2011 have been the driest for that 11-month period in Texas since 1895, when the state began keeping rainfall records. This summer in Texas has been the hottest in the country’s history, according to the National Weather Service. More information on the current drought can be found at http://www.lcra.org/water/drought/index.html .


The lack of rain is now bringing up another possible record and that would be one we are definitely not looking forward to. Lake Travis is continuing to drop and has reached the third lowest elevation on record. As of today, Lake Travis is at a level of  628.61. Any rainfall we have had lately has been scattered and mostly insignificant, but if that is all we are going to get, we’ll take it as it comes. Here are the totals through the end of September 2011:


2011 2.92 0.48 0.09 0.27 3.65 2.01 0.05 T 0.16 2011


The total rainfall so far this year about 9.63 inches. This has done nothing to contribute to replenishing the lakes. Apparently last year the level at Lake Travis was more than 50 feet higher. All of the public boat ramps are closed. Below here is a chart showing the level at Lake Travis during the previous six worst droughts:


Lake Travis
Low lake elevations during six worst droughts

Drought Name

Min. Lake Level*



(Drought of Record)

August 14, 1951


1964 615.02

November 8, 1963


2009 629.83

October 4, 2009


1984 636.58

October 7, 1984


2000 640.24

October 15, 2000


2006 643.55

December 13, 2006




It was said back at the beginning of September that the 11 months from October 2010 through August 2011 had been the driest for that 11-month period in Texas since 1895, when the state began keeping rainfall records. Unless something very significant happens, this will surely be the driest year ever recorded in Austin. We can only hope these records will never be broken. Also, according to the National Weather Service., this summer in Texas has been the hottest in the country’s history. There are also indications this could continue until 2020 or even longer. We can only hope this is wrong. We will be faced with challenges that will be life changing. We will not be able sustain the population, as far as I can see, without massive adjustments and innovations.


Pray for Rain!!