National Weather Service

National Weather Service issues flash flood watch for Austin

Austin is under a flash flood warning until 7 p.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service – and no, classes have not been cancelled.

According to the weather service website, the heaviest rainfall is expected to occur in the early morning hours Monday and throughout the afternoon. The watch includes the nearby cities of Georgetown, Bastrop and New Braunfels.

The weather service issues three types of weather warnings: watches, warnings and advisories. Watches are issued when conditions are conducive to more severe weather, warnings when there is a threat to life or property and advisories when there is a specific risk to travelers.

Most of Central Texas is expected to see 2-4 inches of rainfall, with some isolated pockets of 6 inches.

Updated (9:44 p.m.): University incident meteorologist Troy Kimmel said freezing rain and sleet is expected overnight and early Tuesday morning. Icy roads are also a possibility, Kimmel said. 

“It’s hard to tell at this point, the roads are pretty warm tonight across the area so we’re just going to have to watch,” Kimmel said. “I think there’s [a] prospect for freezing rain and sleet, but we really won’t know, in my opinion, until after midnight.”

According to Kimmel, temperatures are predicted to rise above freezing by Tuesday afternoon.

“Probably tomorrow afternoon it’ll be close to 40 degrees, depending on what happens tomorrow morning,” Kimmel said. “That will have a lot to do with it, but at this point, we think it will warm up to around 40 in the afternoon.”

Updated (8:50 p.m.): The University will have an 11 a.m. delayed opening Tuesday, after closing 10 p.m. Monday night, because of possible "winter weather." 

This is the sixth weather-related class change in the semester, as the University canceled classes on Jan. 24, Jan. 28, Feb. 6, Feb. 7, and Feb. 11.

Original story: Monday afternoon, University administrators announced the campus would close at 10 p.m. Monday night as a result of "the possibility of winter weather."

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning from 8 p.m. Monday until noon Tuesday and warned of ice accumulations up to a tenth of an inch. Administrators did not announce any delayed openings for Tuesday, but an email sent to students said the University would continue to monitor weather overnight.  

Photo Credit: Connor Murphy | Daily Texan Staff

In the case of inclement weather, UT officials meet with local meteorologists to discuss conditions before making decisions about school closures, such as the decision to delay class Dec. 6.

Classes starting before 10 a.m. were canceled on Dec. 6 because of a National Weather Service advisory. By the time the University alerted students of the delay at 5 a.m., the light rain had ceased and temperatures had risen from near freezing to above 32 degrees in central Austin.

Despite the fair conditions on campus, storm reports in nearby towns, including Buda, Georgetown and Round Rock, caused University officials to delay opening the campus, according to Troy Kimmel, senior lecturer in the department of geography and the environment.

“Even though here on campus there wasn’t any ice, temporarily closing the University was what we had to do to protect our students, our faculty and our staff,” Kimmel said.

In any case of unfavorable weather conditions, Kimmel and a group of meteorologists from local TV stations, UT safety officials and representatives of other schools and agencies throughout the region meet to discuss possible courses of action.

“We had a number of storm reports from northern Travis County, including a 50-car pileup and ice conditions out on some of the highways,” Kimmel said. “So, considering the fact that we had to bring in all of the faculty, staff and students who don’t live on campus, I think we made a pretty good decision.”

Music performance junior Brenham Adams said because of the timing of the delay, one of his final exams was moved to the following Monday.

“It was an inconvenience for me, and it wasn’t even that cold,” Adams said.

The inclement weather meetings usually take place around 3 a.m. on the day the weather event is forecasted to occur, UTPD spokeswoman Cindy Posey said.

“All the emergency preparedness people in the region get on a conference call,” Posey said. “They talk about what’s happening and they make their predictions based on what [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] says.”

Posey said officials also consider public school closures so faculty members who have children can act accordingly.

“We wait to see how all the school systems are going to react to weather because so many of our employees, of course, have to think about ‘well, if my kids are out of school,’” Posey said.

The National Weather Service issues three types of weather warnings, Kimmel said. The weather service issues watches when conditions are conducive to more severe weather, warnings when there is a threat to life or property and advisories when there is a specific risk to travelers.

“We try to be as proactive as possible,” Kimmel said. “We deliberate, and in the course of 15-20 minutes, we have a decision made about what we’re going to do.”

Posey said the well-being of the students and employees ultimately influences decisions regarding weather-related closures.

“We don’t want to do anything that is going to jeopardize anyone in our community’s safety,” Posey said.

Flash floods warnings in effect until tomorrow afternoon

After several days of promised showers, a storm hit Austin on Friday afternoon, causing the National Weather Service to release a Flash Flood Warning that will be in effect until 4:30 p.m. The Flash Flood Watch will continue until early tomorrow morning.         

According to the National Weather Service, Austin is expected to receive an average of two to four inches of rainfall, with varying severity in different areas. In the hour following the start of the storm, some areas have already received over two inches.

Paul Yura, the weather service spokesman for the Austin and San Antonio areas, said the heavy rain will not make a dent in the multi-year drought that has been plaguing Texas.

"Unfortunately there's not enough rain for it to be a drought buster or anything else like that," Yura said. "They did have some pretty decent rains up above the lakes, but Lake Travis is not all of the sudden going to be full by tomorrow morning. It's good rain, but we need multiple events like this to even start making a really good dent in the lack of rainfall for the past few years."

The Morning Texan: Rain, 'Orange is the New Black' and more

While Austin has had a dry week, that might all end tonight. According to the National Weather Service, there is a 20 percent chance of rain tonight. As of Friday morning, the National Weather Service says that is the only chance of rain this weekend. Today's high is 99 degrees.

Here is some morning reading:

Yesterday's most read story online: From Jenji Kohan, the creator of the award-winning television series “Weeds,” comes the new Netflix original series “Orange is the New Black.” About a woman with a complicated history landing in an all-female federal prison, this show is a must-watch. Check out our review here.

In case you missed it: The first student housing project to be built on University-owned land but developed and maintained by an outside company opened Tuesday.

What you have to read: The United States Senate passed a bipartisan agreement Wednesday on student loan rates, nearly a month after the July 1 deadline. Student interest rates for subsidized loans hiked from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent after the July deadline because of the struggle for a Senate agreement.

The Morning Texan: Austin requests feedback on bike shares

According to the National Weather Service, today's high will be 98 degrees. While it has been dry all week, the chance for rain returns tomorrow night.

Here is some morning reading,

Yesterday's most read story online: MyEdu executives have cited student satisfaction in a short presentation to the UT System Board of Regents, which elicited few comments from the regents, but the company’s new career services options may not be the best direction for students, said Michael Morton, former Senate of College Councils president and UT alumnus. 

In case you missed it: A $2.7 million grant by the Lee and Ramona Bass Foundation has helped establish the Texas Invasive Species Program, which will research foreign species introduced into the state and methods to reduce their threat to native ecosystems.

What you have to read: Austin is now accepting recommendations from the public for potential bike share locations. The city is using the location suggestions and votes on the locations to select the upcoming kiosk sites.

The Morning Texan: Hot temperatures, internship lawsuits and more

The weather in Texas is only getting hotter as the week goes on. According to the National Weather Service, today's high is 99 degrees. For the rest of the week, the high is at least 100 degrees.

Here is some morning reading:

Yesterday's most read story online: Following a federal ruling that broke new ground on the legal requirements businesses have for training their interns, interns around the country are taking employers to court who do not pay them at least minimum wage.

What you have to read: At Day 2 of the Big 12 Media Conference, Mack Brown told reporters UT was ready to run an "up tempo offense." Read the blog here, and read the other reports from the Big 12 Media Days here.

In case you missed it: UT President William Powers Jr. has informed the University faculty and staff via email that there will be no centrally funded salary increase for the current fiscal year.

The Morning Texan: Dry weather, X Games and more

According to the National Weather Service, Monday will have a high of 98 degrees and there will be no chance of rain.

Here is some morning reading:

Yesterday's most read story online: The X Games' arrival into Austin has the power to change the culture of extreme, alternative sports here in Central Texas. It also has the power to change the perception of Austin. 

In case you missed it: UT is working on another campus food garden that officials say will reduce the University’s dependence on outside suppliers.

What you have to read: UT-Austin is estimated to receive $5.4 million from the state next year to for the B-On-Time Loan program  an almost $2 million increase from 2013 while other UT System schools are set to see their funding decline.

Rain hits UT Austin campus hard Wednesday afternoon

A rain storm hit UT Austin's campus Wednesday afternoon, and the storm is ongoing at 5:15.

According to the National Weather Service, the rain is expected to continue later into the night. The evening has a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms. The chance for rain decreases tomorrow to 20 percent. The chance of rain stays at 20 percent all weekend.

The Student Activity Center is giving out free ponchos to help students survive the rain.

Check back tomorrow for an update on the amount of rain UT received.

Follow Bobby Blanchard on Twitter @bobbycblanchard. 


The Morning Texan: 100 degrees, abortion legislation and more

According to the National Weather Service, today's high will be 100 degrees.

At 10 a.m. this morning, the Texas House will meet and likely vote on abortion legislation. Yesterday, the House tentatively approved House Bill 2, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks, place additional restrictions on abortion clinics and increase oversight of abortion inducing drugs. Then, at 2 p.m. today, the UT System Board of Regents will meet to discuss several items, including MyEdu.

Here is some morning reading:

Yesterday's most read story: The Senate Committee of Health and Human Services heard testimony for more than 13 hours on it's abortion bill Monday and Tuesday morning. Check out our live blog here.

What you have to read: Despite enrollment dropping to around 16,000 students during the summer, there is not a significant drop in the amount of energy and water usage on campus because of hot temperatures, and several departments are still operating with the same number of staff.

In case you missed it: Cafe Medici, the popular coffee shop on the Drag, has finally opened after being closed for several months.