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Austin sets heat records as things continue to burst into flames

And then there’s the Saharan dust

Sun over Texas
Shutterstock

As the temperature topped out at 110 degrees at Camp Mabry, Monday officially became the hottest day in July ever recorded in Austin, KXAN reported shortly after the heat reached its peak for the day. Meanwhile, things around the city continued to burst into flame inexplicably. On Friday, it was tortilla chips outside a space in an industrial park at 6098 Trade Center Drive. According to Austin American-Statesman reports, Monday brought the spontaneous combustion of a hay bale and subsequent fire in Burnet County, while flames erupted from the boot on Cavender’s Boot City’s sign on South Lamar Boulevard—in theory more evidence of current weather extremes, but in reality an accident that occurred as workers were taking the sign down for replacement.

While the arresting photo of boot-shaped flame atop Cavender’s turned out not to be attributable to the heat wave that has Austin—and all of Texas—hunkering in the air-conditioning as much as possible this week—it provided a convenient visual metaphor nonetheless.

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In better fire-related news, wildfires along the Blanco-Llano County line have been extinguished, while a fire in Llano County has burned 1,200 acres but is 80 percent contained, KXAN reported.

Monday’s high matched those of third-hottest recorded in Austin—the others occurred Sept. 4, 2000, Aug. 8, 2003, and Aug. 27, 2011—and was just two degrees short of the city’s all-time high of 112, hit on Sept. 4, 2000, Aug. 8, 2003, and Aug. 28, 2011, according to the KXAN report.

Not helping matters was the Saharan dust that continued to blow through the area. According to KUT, the massive clouds that move across the ocean from Africa make for dramatic sunsets but can also intensify the heat. When they move over the ocean, they’re great at suppressing hurricanes, but over land, they can increase temperatures by absorbing sunlight and averting the storms that help cool areas such as Texas. The net outcome of the dust pattern is positive—over oceans, they discourage storms and reflect light back into space—but that’s of little short-term comfort to the landlocked citizens of much of the state, including Austin. The dust can also cause problems for people with respiratory issues.

Highs well over 100 degrees, as well as nighttime lows warmer than 80 degrees, are expected for the rest of the week.

With 110 degree high, Monday becomes the hottest recorded July day in Austin [KXAN]

Tortilla Chips “Spontaneously Combusted” at Austin Food Factory [Eater Austin]

Firefighters monitoring brush fire inside Pace Bend Park, officials say [Austin American-Statesman]

Cavender’s sign catches fire as workers remove it [AAS]

CR 308 fire in Llano County 80 percent contained [KXAN]

Those Saharan Dust Clouds Are the Hurricane-Fighting Remains Of Ancient Lake Creatures [KUT]