Weather again

Yesterday was cold, hardly making 60 degrees. They did warn of warmer weather, with storms today.

Here at the house I’ve had all of 0.24 inches of rain so far, but even now, at almost 6:30pm its 72 with 93% humidity. That’s Texas weather. But some areas have had 5.5″ in two hours, and that’s south and east of where I am. One person in Blanco Co. say they got maybe a couple of drops. Maybe! So what I’ve had here is not indicative of what other areas received.

But some areas of Texas look like they have experienced, or are still getting much worse weather. The weather service had even warned of hail and tornadoes, possibly later this evening. And the storm is working its way east. Parts of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma are still in the path of the storm. And tomorrow it will be areas like Atlanta that are expecting thunderstorms.

So where we got rain, not all areas got much, yet some areas got a lot of rain. We did have hard rain for a while, and we heard thunder, and I got reports of lightning. And yet now its just warm and muggy outside.

Tomorrow we can look forward to warm sunny weather. Saturday should be 81 and sunny, Sunday 88 and sunny. But by Tuesday we will be 86 with strong afternoon/evening thunderstorms. Such is weather in Central Texas.

Spring has sprung

Good news, I’ve finally got a new weather station up. I purchased a weather station (off Amazon) that has temperature, humidity, rain, wind, wind direction, and barometric pressure. The nice thing is this one has a sealed temperature gauge so it can go outside and doesn’t need its own separate housing that I don’t have. It was a bit more expensive, but I like it. The old one has a temperature gauge, but I had no place to put it but on the back patio. That isn’t ideal as its placed close to the house and doesn’t get an accurate temperature. The new weather station, a single larger unit with everything attached to one main unit, is out on a post in the yard.

One problem with the smaller unit is that the wind gauge is in a pot on the deck. The rain gauge is a separate unit that had to be removed when the deck was put in. But because those were close to the house before, they were both affected by wind, which can be blocked by either the house, pots, or a grill. Consequently even now I realize how different the temperature and wind are between the two places, close to the house, and farther out in the yard.

Its hard to imagine that just a month ago we were dealing with snow. But now we are warm, today was in the 70’s and we are due to reach the 80’s in a few days. We haven’t had much in the way of rain, much needed rain. So I would have to say we have definitely left the cold behind us.

As much as people felt we lost a lot of plants in the cold most, by a very large degree, are coming back. For example:

roses, have some dead branches but new growth is already leafing out

blackberries, new leaves already out

swiss chard, ends are freeze burned and dead (it was covered) but it is coming back with a vengence

strawberries, not covered and acting as if nothing happened – they are growing

tomatoes did die

asparagus, already coming up

blueberries, not covered and leafing out now

carrots, still fine, covered loosely and acting as if nothing happened

lettuce, like the swiss chard covered and any place the planket touched is burned and dead, but the rest is growing

grapes, covered with a pot and growing again with new leaves already unfurled

sorrel, did lose some leaves initially but now looks better than before

fig tree, has new growth.

The citrus trees took the hardest hits. They were all covered, two of the groups had Christmas lights around them for warmth. But all took a hard hit with the cold and snow. But nobody seems to be dead. They do have dead leaves but when I bend the branches, they bend they don’t break. When I’ve cut some of the branches it is obvious they are alive, not dead.

As for my succulents, that is where I seemed to lose the most. Some look like they may survive, but they have a large amount of lost leaves and frozen stems. Those may be a total loss. That is where I need to wait and see what might survive.

Today I took a Home Depot run. They had a lot of new products – lots of plants, vegetables, trees, flowering annuals, pots, etc. I picked up some of their veggies, not something I usually do. But they had some veggie basics, for example the tomato was labeled salsa tomato. No other information given, no idea what variety. But they also had heirlooms and other plants. So I picked up tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and some squash plants. After losing the seeds I had started I felt it was worth it.

After bring the new plants home I immediately put the into their new homes, pots. Some of the little pots I bought have more than one seeding, so I actually gave some of the spare seedlings to a friend.

I believe in sharing the plant love.

We survived

The weather event that Texas went through the other week was one for the record books, in many ways. Did people die from this cold? Apparently yes. Not the best outcome. Why did people die? Well, from what I can tell it was a variety of reasons. For some it was literally the cold – they lost power, some for pretty much the entire week. Houses got down to the 30-40’s inside the house. Some had no water for days. The cold, no heat or power, no water, no way to safely warm themselves, no way to get out, and no way to get help – from what I can tell, those were reasons for deaths in this cold event. I’m sure there were other reasons too.

For those that live in cold climates, you may wonder why this was such a big deal. Basically it came down to preparedness. How do you prepare for something you don’t know? If you’ve never lived through an earthquake, all the information you can be told, all the videos you can watch don’t really prepare you for the actual reality. Also you may have expectations. If you think you can just call for help, how does that happen when cell towers are down? How do you charge your cell phone if you have no power? Most people never think about these things.

And when I say people, I’m not just talking about citizens. It applies to companies too. Disaster planning requires quite a bit of thought. If you have no water and you can’t get to a store, what do you do? You can’t use a hose as there’s no water. If you don’t keep water on hand, how do you get water? What do you drink?

I’m not talking about survivalist training, nor having a basement filled to the brim with items just for the end of the world. But most people seem to not understand, nor prepare at all for something to happen. Except things do happen. And no I don’t have any great suggestions. The information is told to people, its available online, there are a lot of ways to find it. But preparing take work, and not everyone can easily do that. Sometimes resources are just not there for people.

I am sorry people died. I was stuck inside too. Alone. And my power went off and on too. So I had to make do too.

But back to the garden. Such was the snow and ice event in central Texas. Now we just wait and see what plants survive. The good news is it doesn’t really look like I lost a lot of them. Most of the succulents took this cold hard and they may not survive. And I think the tomatoes are dead. But surprisingly, a lot of plants seem to have survived. Now its just wait and see.

Still cold

Well its another cold day in Texas. Its now Wednesday Feb 17, 2021 and we’ve made it through two storms with one more on the way.

Texas has not taken these storms well. Texas has its own power grid and is not equipped to handle this kind of weather, especially since its basically covered the entire state, top to bottom and side to side. I understand even Corpus Christi, by the coast, got snow. I did hear they are planning on calling in help from other states that know how to handle this kind of weather. Lets hope that is true.

I spent part of this time without electricity, it would come on for a while (15 minutes to 4 hours), then go off for a while (2 hours to 4 hours). Think of it as rolling black outs. I had some freezing of a pipe in my garage (from my water softener to the house). It was enough to keep water from entering the house. I was able to thaw it enough to get my water back. I put a space heater aimed at the pipes and left it there for an hour. I was lucky. Even though the power went off, it was enough to thaw the pipe and water began dripping in the faucets. I was actually able to get water dripping in all the faucets. So now I have water again.

Some people have been without water since Monday. Some houses are in the 40’s inside the house because of no electricity. And the state does not yet know when everything will be back to normal.

SO what does this have to do with gardening you ask. Well, think about this. If you have plants outside, covered, maybe you have lights wrapped around them for warmth, those lights require electricity to be on and provide that warmth. No electricity, no lights. Those plants that you have in the greenhouse, again probably with some sort of heater, no longer have that heater. Those seedlings under grow lights don’t have grow lights that are on. And of course you cannot water anything if you don’t have water. Even you indoor plants may take a hit if they have no water and no warmth. Your first concern in these kinds of circumstances is your own survival first, you can replace plants.

Which brings us back to gardening. At this point, all those lovely plants I had outside in pots, even those up against the house are now probably dead. Since I got 7 inches of snow on my deck, and had snow blown all the way up to the house itself, the area next to the house got down into the 20’s, I expect I will be replacing a lot of plants.

I’m thinking of this as an opportunity to just start over, to a degree. I still have raised beds, nothing in one, and seedlings and swiss chard in the other, and I expect nothing will survive this cold. Considering we had one morning where the temperature was 2F, I don’t expect anything in the garden to survive. Maybe I’ll be happily surprised. I’m not sure if my grass even survived. We’ll see.

Not so funny stories. One friend has been staying with someone, no power. Where they are at is down to 43 degrees. Another friend has been without power and they are down to 45 degrees. A news caster mentioned that the TV station offered to put everybody up in a hotel a couple of blocks from the station. Some people took them up on the offer, some did not. One guy who did not said he got home and his place was in the low 40’s because he still had no power.

Since we are two storms down and one more to go, we’ll see how people fare. Grocery store shelves are empty, and grocery stores are on very reduced hours (maybe noon to 5).  Roads vary from ice covered impassable to slush, to this is drivable albeit slowly.

And Sunday we expect to be back into the 60’s.

NOTE UPDATE: they are saying as of 5pm today, Austin has now hit 122 hours at 32 or below. Also, I misspoke, we are in our fifth storm in 7 days. They may be counting since the beginning last Thursday.

Cold and getting colder

Okay, Texas is seeing temperatures that are record breaking cold. The cold we started with three days ago is getting even colder. Right now, Sunday Valentines Day, 6pm, it is 19 degrees going for a low of 9 tonight. We are due for snow, which is currently falling ever so small flakes, and blizzard conditions. They are talking about ice and snow accumulations of 5-8 inches.

This was what the forecast was yesterday. Today its not looking any better.

Its strange to see the differences.

We’ve been doing okay here at the house so far. But the suggestion is not to go out, and considering my deck is currently 26, I’m not holding out much hope for things to survive. But the house is still warm, I have power, so I can’t complain. Of course I have more than enough food so I’m not going to starve. Hopefully everything stays on.

One thing I do have to laugh about is usually trash goes out tonight, for pick up Monday morning. But as of right now, 6pm, I can only see two houses with trash out. And I’m not one of them. I’m not going to worry about it. I haven’t seen a car on the road today, and I haven’t seen anybody out walking their dogs. Trying to get my dogs out to the grass hasn’t been easy. They look at me as if I’m nuts, as if to say “mom, you do know how cold it is out there??” They’ve had a couple of accidents, and under the circumstances I’m not making a fuss.

But they will need baths when it warms up.

Its snowing

By 10 AM we had a mix of snow, frozen mix, and rain. Shortly there after, it became snow.

Its now after 2pm, and its been snowing now since almost 10am. At 10am it was a mix of snow, rain, and more like a frozen rain. By 11 or so its been all snow. And it hasn’t stopped snowing. Sometimes its been light, sometimes much heavier. Even trees are getting covered and holding the snow.

Tomorrow should be warmer, even though tonight may get down to 26. And by Wednesday we should be up to the low 60’s.

This is central Texas weather.

UPDATE: We snowed from just after 10am until about 4pm. It may not seem to be a lot of snow compared to other areas, but here it was something of a big deal. This area is not known for snow, so its not something most people are prepared for. Did we get a lot, just less than 1 inch I would say, but that would be just for where I am.

It has left houses, yards, trees covered in snow. The streets in my area seemed to melt most of the snow away. There’s still some slush, but it didn’t look too bad. I still would not want to have been driving in it, but I don’t know how to drive in snow. The issue we have now is tonight is supposed to get colder. So will it freeze and leave us with a layer of ice over streets, overpasses, etc., that remains to be seen.

My funny issue has been my dogs. One was willing to go out into the snow, but the other one was not. I expect tomorrow, if it warms up I will have to make sure they both go for a walk. Today was a strange day as far as they are concerned. But overall they’ve taken the snow okay, even if not great.

Still cold

We have had an honest to goodness rain and cold front event. Even though we had 2″ of rain the other day, yesterday we got an additional 1/2″ of rain. And cold weather, as in almost freezing nights cold weather.

Today, New Years Day 2021 it is blue skies, clear, and still a bit on the cold side. Where the forecast says we are going for a high of 52, with these clear skies we are also going for a low tonight of freezing, 32 degrees. We have a light breeze and I don’t see us getting anything in the way of clouds to keep us any warmer than that tonight.

I have covered my lemon trees, at least those I can, with green “planket” cloth, and two trees have lights in them to help keep them warm. Those are outdoor incandescent type Christmas lights. The incandescent lights provide a bit of warmth, LED lights don’t. Since my covered patio area stays warmer, since its covered, I have moved some plants back toward the house to keep them warm.

So the yard is doing okay. I do have a few things to do to it, figure out some planters that just didn’t work (not sure why they didn’t), and I need to pick up more soil and more landscape pins, those things are handy, and I’m already getting my 2021 seed catalogues. So it’s already looking like its time to start thinking of what to plant for this year.

Everybody, welcome to 2021.

Another cold front

We started this morning at a balmy 70 degrees. Now, 8 hours later, 6pm, it is now 53. We are going for a low of low 30’s, we’ll see how low it goes.

In addition its been raining. We’ve managed about a 1 inch of rain today. We’re also due for rain all day tomorrow. We’ll see how much we get.

But its nice having some cold weather. Its good for the plants, and it kills of bugs. And of course we could use the rain.

As for the garden, we spent this late morning turning the beds. We pulled out the old dead squash plants, pulled up the drip watering system, then turned the soil down to about 6 inches. I would have gone deeper but I couldn’t find forked cultivator. I ended up using a long handled narrow spade. I worked with what I had but if I can’t find some of my larger tools I may need to do a Home Depot run. We did put two bags of soil that had been sitting around into one of the beds. We probably need to pick up a bit more soil, but we can do that another day.

Now we need to wait to see what the weather does. The next few nights are due to be around freezing, or just above. Then our days are up back to the mid 60’s to 70’s.

Such is central Texas weather.

UPDATE: by next morning, we’ve had 2″ of rain. We had quite a thunderstorm come through this morning. But its now 2 inches of rain, and we are still raining.

Another cold

Well we had another cold front earlier. We even had rain Saturday morning. We actually had 1-1/2 inches of rain. Its been a while since we’ve had rain. Our drought conditions have currently put us in severe to extreme drought conditions. Rain has not be in our radar for a while. But it was good to get what we did.

Between now and the end of the year, about a week and a half away, we expect to hit a couple of days of 70, but most will be in the 60’s. We don’t have another freeze here on the forecast for the next 10 days, but our evenings will be in the right 30’s to mid 40’s. Maybe we’ll get some rain, but there is not even a 50% chance. So I’m not holding my breath on that.

But such is Texas weather. It was a hot summer, hopefully at some point we’ll get some good cold. But if we do, its not yet.

Cold front

The weather in Austin has actually be rather nice the past few days/weeks. I took a long weekend trip earlier this month and came back to 90 degree weather. So Austin has been warm to nice. Nice being mid to high 80’s. But today we have had a cold front come in.

I was out walking the boys (my dogs) a couple of hours ago, just before noon. It was lovely, though a bit overcast. It was warm, a little bit humid, in the mid 70’s, my watch said 76. While walking the boys there was a light breeze. But during this walk I encountered a cool breeze. In a matter of minutes that cool breeze became a cold breeze. Still a breeze, no great strength to it. But the temperature began to drop. I had left wearing jeans, a tee shirt, with a denim shirt (no jacket), and the temperature began enough of a drop for me to begin to get chilled.

Now, just a couple of hours later, the temperature has fallen to 50 degrees per my watch. That’s a 20+ degrees drop in a matter of a couple of hours.

We even had a short shower outside. Not much, it registered as less than 1/2″ of rain. But needless to say, its a cold rain, on now a cold day.

The forecast – rain and mid 40’s for tonight.

As for plants, well I plan to cover the tomatoes or at least bring them in so they are under the patio. Those plants I’m worried about will probably be placed in the same area. Those I’m not worried about, the lettuce, flowers, mint, etc. those can stay outside. Since we don’t expect to get even close to freezing I’m not going to be concerned about them. Yes if it gets cold enough I may lose a few plants. But here in this area first front is due in less than a month, so those plants should be winding down anyways.

Maybe it really is autumn, going into winter here in Austin.