This is an ongoing tale of Alan and Jo's exploits in Austin, TX. Alan hopes there will be plenty of tasty beer involved, while Jo hopes to find lots of interesting aircraft.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Stormy weather

This morning, our weather radio is warning us of a big storm to the west. The video shows my lightning detector going haywire, then I pan across my screen showing the readout alongside the page which shows a giant blob over Texas. Follow the storm at my lightning page. And don't forget my weather station is providing hourly reports on Twitter! (@budawx)


Thursday, February 05, 2009

It is a bit crispy

This sign is outside the fire station in Kingsbury. We so desperately need rain!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Warmer out than in

Never thought we would need this in Texas, but we lit our fire for the first time today!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Texas gets cold too

This is our roof this morning. We had freezing rain and hail last night. Snow is forecast today. And it was 25C 80F yesterday!


Thursday, August 09, 2007


This last month (because it's almost that long since my last post), it has done nothing much else except rain.

Rain in the morning. Pause just long enough for me to stay dry during my morning walk. Clouds thin a little, hope just starts to get piqued, then hope is shattered as rain starts again by midday. Rain all afternoon until about 22:00 when you might, if you're lucky, glimpse a star peeking out from behind another cloud.

It seems we are living in a parallel world. Both the UK and Texas have seen severe flooding this month. My parents in Gloucestershire both lost their water supply when the local water treatment plant got flooded. Meanwhile, the lakes by northwest Austin which were 40 feet below their normal levels two months ago have now more than peaked about 7 feet above their maximum. All the local dams were opened and the newspapers were filled with images of raging torrents of water. British newspapers carried aerial photos of villages turned into islands. Here's some good pictures of British floods while Texas was also in the news.

Closer to home, we mostly stayed in. Our rain comes in very heavy downpours, all at once. The houses around here all have ditches in the front of the yard to carry water through; all the driveways have pipes underneath. Here's one of the ditches during one heavy rainstorm:

Here's someone's front garden. A house further down the road has part of the creek running through it and they had even more water.

One night we went out for some food. The storm started during our meal and when we left, the Jeep was in water almost up to the wheel rims. We got wet, leaping into the vehicle. It was the right car to bring though - the journey home was interesting to say the least. I've never seen flash flooding rain like this. All the roads were completely covered. One field was sloping towards a section of road; the road was awash. Of course we waded through this lot and got to the level crossing which stands between us and home, and a train had decided to park itself thereupon. So we had to make a longish detour, wondering if the low water point would be crossable or not. As is turned out, the raincloud didn't reach that far so we were OK. In fact, our main route home might have been impassable as that road _was_ under the cloud.

This is Alan and I, waiting inside my Jeep for the rain to stop. All around us was bright sunshine, except for the raincloud dumping water onto precisely this bit of parking lot. We gave up waiting and got wet (again). By the time we came out of the store, it was all gone.

I relocated my weather station last week, so the rain collector is no longer underneath the roof overhang. Now it can count rain properly and won't under-read as it has been doing. Since I did that, the storms have gone away.

Sorry Central Texas, it was obviously all my fault!

Meanwhile, people continue to notice we have bought a house. This means people like mortgage financiers, banks, credit cards, DIY and homeware stores etc. Some of these are a pain but some are good. The stores have been sending us 10% and 20% off vouchers. And then a lady from the Buda Chamber of Commerce turned up one day with this big basket of stuff, including coupons and free samples from all the local businesses, as a welcoming package. Isn't it nicely presented?

Items of Americana: The Wagon.

You see people with these things everywhere, a lot of times with small children being towed in them. We wanted something to drag stuff around the garden, but didn't want the bulk of a wheelbarrow. This is so typically American, it had to be done!:

And lastly (for now), I was in Kyle yesterday. They are doing major works on their high street. Here's a really mega giant chainsaw! I love the fact it's parked outside a martial arts studio - gives a whole new meaning to 'Karate Chop'!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I see tall ships

Well, not really. But you too can see the view from my window with my new Weather Cam!

No more need to look out of your own window to see if it's sunny or not, just look at this instead! Or for those of you not in Texas, see what you're missing! (It rained this morning; it's not all rosy, y'know)

The image will be updated every 5 minutes unless the computer falls over or I need the USB port for something else ;-)


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Mainly Ice

It looks like the weather is set to warm up a little today but yesterday was still covered in ice and as predicted, Alan and most of Austin stayed at home.

Here's some more ice pictures:

All the grass and other vegetation is encased in ice:

This rose was no exception:

More icicles hanging from the awnings:

Compare this with the previous fountain picture to see how much the ice grew overnight:

A close-up of the lower half of the fountain:

It's still dark as I write this but I suspect most of the ice will be gone if not already, then during this morning. Alan has made it in to work and he says the most exposed parts are still icy but it is due to get better today, so we will see.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ice and snow!

It is continuing to be cold and today we have snow!
The weather advisories have told everyone to stay at home today due to the ice storm. Most schools and businesses are closed. There's very little traffic on the roads. The ice storm is the most un-stormy thing I have seen, it is dull and grey outside but very still, not raging at all but very cold.

We went out to get some bread and found the grass and plants on the ground are all encased in ice. The roads and pavements are slippery. It's to freeze hard tonight so by tomorrow it will probably be sheet ice. Alan is working from home today and no doubt will do so again tomorrow.

These are some icicles on the side of the next building.

ice fountain
Around the corner, the fountain outside the Italian shop is still flowing but all iced up too.

Meanwhile, we are running warm machines in the apartment as we have just discovered that the heating system in here is worse than useless... we haven't had occasion to test it before!

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Monday, January 15, 2007

It's cold in Texas

In the last post, I said we were going to see a Laser Spectacular show. We did, and it was not bad. There were plenty of lasers being flung about the room and making pretty patterns on a projection screen, alongside regular projections of (mostly) the Pink Floyd videos that went with the songs they played. The music was LOUD though, unecessarily so really. But we enjoyed it.

Friday night saw the weather really coming in though, and we got home just in time before the rain started in earnest. When we woke up on Saturday morning, the rain had been hammering down all night and continued to do so all day. The lake and culvert outside the apartment were totally flooded. We think this is designed - when it rains, there's so much water it has to go somewhere, preferably in a controlled fashion. There are warning signs around the lake that say the area is prone to flooding.

Here's a couple of before-and-after shots showing just how much it flooded. The first one shows the lake run-off; if you look carefully you can see the water is almost a second lake all the way to the end in the first shot!

After the water had receded:

A staircase on the edge of the lake itself:

The same staircase at normal water levels:

I say normal water levels - it actually seemed like the water had dropped more than usual when the flood receded. Alan wonders if there was a blockage somewhere that the pressure of water may have shifted.

Saturday night saw us at Mark and Jessica's house for a few beers and games of pool, with Micah and Brandi and some other friends of Mark's. This was a very pleasant evening. It was nice to get out of the house too, as we'd been stuck in all day due to the incessant rain.

Now the rain has passed but it has turned very cold. The weather charts show a big ice storm covering a huge chunk of central USA, most of central and northern Texas. We are getting the southern edge of it. We went out at lunchtime to get some supplies and I had to wear my big sheepskin jacket. Didn't think I'd be needing that much in Texas!

Here's a bush covered in ice drips:

Here's some icicles forming on our balcony railing:

See, I'm not lying! It's cold outside!

Finally, some random birdlife. Here's a Great Egret that comes regularly to the lake. It was enjoying all the new debris washed up by the floodwaters.

Some years ago, we are told, a person released a couple of parrots into the woods the other side of the UT football fields just by here. Since then, Nature has taken its course, and there are many parrots! They nest in the lighting towers in the football fields. The other day I was walking past and there must have been 40-50 of them on the ground. Here's a few of them:

Right, I'm away to turn the heating on...

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