To be honest, it’s hard to break down and write about a heat wave when you live in Central Texas. Isn’t summer (which can last from three to six months, with sporadic one- to two-day appearances the rest of the year) always hot as Hades?
Yes, yes it is. Austin’s average July and August temperatures are 95 and 96 degrees, respectively, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Aside from the requisite complaining and comparing it to other years—notably 2011, Austin’s hottest on record and the year that Bastrop County wildfires burned more than 34,000 acres, including 1,660 homes—it seems naive and unnecessary to be alarmed by the current heat. wave.
Longtime locals have certainly seen worse, and a substantial number of Texans, like many people who populate the West and Southwest, tend to take the point of view that drought and heat, our more slow-burn catastrophic weather events, are merely part of a never-ending cycle and will even out in the end. When the west or east coasts freak out about their heat waves, we’re quick to roll our eyes, assuming theirs will be over in a week or so.
Still, June 2018 has been recorded as the fifth hottest worldwide, and Central Texas was hardly exempt from setting records. Not only is the area poised to break 100 degrees (by quite a bit) every day for the next week, but, perhaps more crucially, it has been setting and then exceeding its previous records for power use in the past few days. It has been a struggle to keep the power on for some utility users, according to Electric Reliability Council of Texas, quoted in Thursday’s Austin American-Statesman.
Meanwhile, wildfires have scorched almost 2,000 acres in Llano and Blanco counties, another effect of heat and drought, a frequently deadly combination. According to KXAN, Lake Travis is losing water due to a combination of evaporation and releases from the reservoir for downstream irrigation.
Travis County has issued a burn ban in response to the current heat wave and dry conditions.
• When the Sky Ran Dry [Texas Monthly]
• 2 Hill Country fires at combined 1,880 acres becoming mostly contained, officials say [AAS]
• Burn ban [Travis County website]