Tag Archives: National Weather Service

Wind and flag football

URGENT – WEATHER MESSAGE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORT WORTH TX 206 PM CST SUN JAN 22 2012 …A WIND ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FOR MOST OF NORTH TEXAS THROUGH 7 PM… .A POTENT UPPER LEVEL SYSTEM MOVING NORTH OF THE REGION IS SPREADING VERY STRONG AND GUSTY WINDS FROM WEST TO EAST ACROSS THE REGION. WEST TO SOUTHWEST WINDS WILL BE SUSTAINED FROM 20 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS OF 40 TO 50 MPH. THE STRONGEST WINDS WILL OCCUR IN THE AREA GENERALLY ALONG AND WEST OF INTERSTATE 35/35E.

I read the weather forecast last night, fearing an outbreak of fire with such oxygen rushing through dry brush and grass.  From the back porch, I see eight miles to the Cross Timbers hills and ridge lines toward Stephenville and Hannibal.  Neither smoke nor fire can be seen, only dust and the affect of wind.

I seek to take photographs that will reflect the aridity, the drought conditions as well as today’s fierce wind.  As I have written before in another post, if you wait for the wind to die down or cease in Texas to work, you will never get anything done.  True.  A good pair of sunglasses and sunscreen provide protection as well as a sense of humor to work and play here in central West Texas.  To play hard and lose one’s self, one forgets the wind.

In the 1970s, at holidays with family in the Panhandle, near Canyon, Texas, we played football after dinner (served at noon), and we played with windy conditions.  Across a large front yard providing turf for, say, forty yards of a playing field, we had to compensate for the strong prevailing winds out of the southwest or northwest — low, short passes.  The teams were co-ed and young wives and female cousins ran and fought for every yard along side their husbands and relatives — one female cousin became a colonel in the Marines.  Touch football rules prevailed, sometimes flag football with a bandanna hanging out of our blue jeans.  The wind begone, we played anyway.  Of course, we forgot about the cold and wind as we played together at Thanksgiving, Christmas and once in the summer.

Here at the ranchito, the wind blows today, but there are no contests in the front yard, only birds tucked fast in the branches of the live oaks or nestled in pasture grass.  Here are some photos I took about an hour ago.

This view is towards the southwest, showing the dust in the distance and the leafless trees.

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Wind whipping grass blades on terrace.

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View towards Lilly's rock cairn and the Blue farm beyond the mesquite tree line.

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Looking towards the west.

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From the back terrace, I shot a thirty-second video of the landscape to the southeast.  Not much excitement in the footage, but it’s the middle of Winter.

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Filed under Flying Hat Ranch, Recollections 1966-1990

68 degrees with light wind — Palo Pinto County South 20 APR 11

Please link and refer to the Texas Forest Service updates, Department of Public Safety and county law enforcement officials for up-to-date information.  I am unable to enter the restricted areas and the official pronouncements have the final say in operational policies during these wildfire events.  That being said, I stand by my field observations as described herein.

At about noon, I drove to Caddo by way of SH 717 from Ranger, turned east and drove US 180 to Palo Pinto, and then back home.

The winds blew light, not brazen as they have the last few days, and the temperatures never climbed above 70 degrees for the two hours I traveled along the southern edge of the Possum Kingdom Complex Fire.  The skies are overcast and early this morning a mist fell briefly.  As I drove the F-250 near the Macedonia Cemetery on SH 717, the temperature dipped to 64 degrees.  I saw one plume of smoke west of SH 717, and then as I sped past Caddo and down the Palo Pinto Mountains towards Palo Pinto, the hot spots I have seen in the last few days were calm.

Sadly, that was not the case farther east.  I saw smoke north of US 180 east of Possum Kingdom Lake, and the Highway Patrol blockaded SH 4 out of Palo Pinto towards Graford and SH 16.  I saw power company trucks carrying new poles to replace those that had been burned.

I read that the firefighters still labor at fire lines near Graford and Possum Kingdom East.  Despite overcast skies and lower temperatures, the fight continues.  See the Texas Forest Service updates on the right sidebar of the blog.  Click on their website for additional information.

From US 180, going south on SH 919, back to the ranch, all appeared clear of wildfire and smoke plumes.  Gordon, Texas, schools were open and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway construction and repair crews were assembling machines and materials adjacent to the Gordon Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Responders.  Stowe Ford Company displayed their vehicles on their lots, a King Ranch F-250 looked especially nice.  The Stowe Ford Company in Gordon is the second oldest Ford dealership in Texas.

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My wife teaches at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, Texas, and the University sent an e-mail message yesterday, April 19, 2011, to the faculty.  The Methodist Church at Possum Kingdom Lake burned and the Methodist Conference has undertaken relief efforts to the area for all inhabitants, Methodist or not.  If you are thinking about donations for the Possum Kingdom Lake Complex Fire relief, I quote the e-mail below.  I have seen the Red Cross and Salvation Army stations set up at Strawn, Gordon and Palo Pinto.  They seem to be moving with the activity and need, so there also would be an opportunity to help.

The e-mail message I quote:

More than 1,000 firefighters are involved with the situation, 21 homes are reported burned as well as Cedar Springs United Methodist Church. Rev. Jim Senkel, pastor at Cedar Springs, reports the church has burned to the ground. People are still not permitted into the burn area, but you can help in this situation. The Weatherford, Brownwood and Fort Worth districts have been asked to supply 1,500 health kits to help the firefighters and those displaced from their homes. Health kit items include:

·         1 hand towel 15” x 25” to 17”x 27” kitchen (cleaning and microfiber towels are not acceptable)

·         1 washcloth

·         1 comb (comb must be sturdy and at least 8” long/no pocket combs or picks/rattail combs and combs without handles are acceptable)

·         1 metal nail file or clipper (no emery boards or toenail clippers)

·         1 bath size soap (3 oz. and larger sizes only in original packaging/all brands are acceptable)

·         1 toothbrush (adult size only/do not remove from original packaging)

·         6 adhesive bandages (¾” to 1“ size common household sizes)

·         One tube of toothpaste

·         1 plastic bag (one gallon size – sealable bags only to hold all the items)

We are asking everyone to help out with all of the other needs. Priority 1 and 2 list items are needed IMMEDIATELY:

1.  Firefighters & Police: Water, Gatorade, chapstick, non-perishable food items, chips, cheese & crackers, Wet Wipes, hand sanitizer, aloe vera lotion, sunscreen

2.  Victims: Immediate needs are personal items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, Wet Wipes, hand sanitizer, aloe vera lotion, sunscreen

3.  Victims: Long-term needs are household items.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact the Weatherford District office at 1-888-423-5378 or Laraine Waughtal, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, at 254-595-1503.

Susan Briles

Mission Ministries

Central Texas Conference

464 Bailey Avenue

Fort Worth TX 76107

817/877-5222

800/460-8622

817/338-4541 fax

susan@ctcumc.org

20 APR 11 Map of region traveled today. SH 717 is far west, north of Ranger to Caddo.

Notes:

Correction: map caption changed. Distance legend should be 0.0 to 6.0 miles. SH 717 location identified.

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Filed under Wildfire

Red flag flying with good horse Star 17 APR 11

This Sunday is another day of remaining alert for smoke in west and central Texas.  Fire Weather Warnings have been issued.  Red flags are flying.

Before we focus at noon until late evening on possible wildfires, errands are run and Star, our paint gelding is fed.

Star is out of isolation for rabies since Friday.  Now, after two weeks of isolation, he can once again nuzzle his horse neighbors next door and set his huge neck upon my shoulder.  Here is a photo of Star taken last week.

Star Bars Moore APHA 808164, loafing in arena pasture under mesquites.

So that is some of the good news here on Flying Hat Ranch or “Ranchito” as Donald Worcester, a deceased friend of mine, used to call his 142 acres near Fort Worth.

Unfortunately, later today we have to work with the following forecast from the National Weather Service:

URGENT – FIRE WEATHER MESSAGE…UPDATED NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORT WORTH TX 436 AM CDT SUN APR 17 2011 TXZ091-092-100gt;103-115gt;119-129gt;134-141gt;147-156gt;162-174-175-171800- /O.CON.KFWD.FW.W.0014.110417T1700Z-110418T0100Z/ MONTAGUE-COOKE-YOUNG-JACK-WISE-DENTON-STEPHENS-PALO PINTO-PARKER- TARRANT-DALLAS-EASTLAND-ERATH-HOOD-SOMERVELL-JOHNSON-ELLIS- COMANCHE-MILLS-HAMILTON-BOSQUE-HILL-NAVARRO-FREESTONE-LAMPASAS- CORYELL-BELL-MCLENNAN-FALLS-LIMESTONE-LEON-MILAM-ROBERTSON- 436 AM CDT SUN APR 17 2011 …RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 8 PM CDT THIS EVENING… A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO DEEPEN ACROSS THE TEXAS AND OKLAHOMA PANHANDLES LATER TODAY RESULTING IN GUSTY SOUTHERLY WINDS. SOUTHERLY WINDS 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 35 MPH CAN BE EXPECTED ALONG WITH HUMIDITY VALUES AROUND 20 PERCENT. THE COMBINATION OF GUSTY WINDS…LOW HUMIDITY…AND DRY FUELS WILL LEAD TO DANGEROUS FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS THROUGH EARLY EVENING. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT EXTREME FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW…OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS…LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY…AND DRY VEGETATION WILL CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL. AVOID ALL OUTSIDE BURNING AND WELDING TODAY. DO NOT TOSS LIT CIGARETTE BUTTS OUTSIDE. REPORT WILD FIRES TO THE NEAREST FIRE DEPARTMENT OR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICE.
I obtain this weather warning when I click on our weather service and a red banner streaks alarmingly across the top of the page.  Catches your attention real fast!  There’s a red flag flying today with our good horse, Star.  All will be well and if not, we’ll manage with help of a Star.

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Filed under Flying Hat Ranch, Star, Wildfire