Follow the flames

An internet tool you need

Courtesy of Pixabay.com

I know what you are NOT thinking: in exactly three weeks, we’ll have the end of summer and meteorological FALL begins!

Never mind the autumnal equinox, for the sake of record keeping and climate data, summer is June through August while fall is September through November.

Regardless, September is when we begin to see significant changes, especially with those first fall fronts and October is when we experience really beautiful weather -- crisp, blue skies and comfortable temperatures. EXCEPT, we can also get very windy around here as dry cold fronts move off the Rockies. And if we don’t get some significant rains soon, then that combination of dry and windy could spread wildfires quickly. You might recall last October when the Houston National Weather Service put out this tweet on what was an otherwise beautiful day:

Tweet from the NWS October 28, 2021

Climate Central has determined just how much wildfire danger has increased since the early 70s due to dry, warm, windy conditions:

courtesy Climate Central

They break down regions and in Texas those days have increased from two in the eastern part of the state to 29 in the High Plains:

courtesy Climate Central

You can go to Climate Central’s tool to see just what the increases are across Texas and the rest of the western U.S.

Tracking current fires

As I write this today, there are 10 uncontained wildfires across Texas and three are in our region, Two were in Polk County started just yesterday. I found a great tool from none other than Texas A&M for tracking each fire -- you can see which ones are now contained and which ones are not, where they are located exactly, and how many acres have burned. Here is a screenshot showing contained fires in brown and current fires in red:

courtesy Texas A&M

Then you can hover over the dots with your mouse or even click on those dots for specifics. For instance, here is one of the fires in Polk County northeast of Lake Livingston this morning. You can read in the box the exact county, latitude/longitude of the fire and how many acres are burning. The fire is currently 70% contained.

Courtesy Texas A&M

This is a terrific tool and it’s right here.

Bookmark this one, especially if you have ranch or farm interests across the state. And did I mention fall begins in three weeks??

Have a safe day and fingers crossed for rain tomorrow and Friday! Our weather special “Forecasting Change” is tomorrow night (Thursday) at 7 p.m. on your favorite TV Channel KPRC 2!

Frank

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About the Authors:

KPRC 2's chief meteorologist with three decades of experience forecasting Houston's weather.

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.