Monday, November 15, 2021

Austin Was "Unprepared" For February Cold Wave and Winter Storm: Report

A new report has determined the City of Austin, in spite of declaring a "climate emergency" in 2019, was unprepared for February's cold wave and winter storm. 
The report correctly explains that the weather forecasts -- seven days before -- called for extreme cold and, later, winter storm conditions. But, then, it starts missing the point when it comes to the outstanding forecasts and warnings of a major winter storm for Austin. 

Here are the NWS's forecast temperatures and precipitation six days before:

In February, much colder than normal temperatures plus wetter than average conditions (snow or ice) equals something to begin plans for. 

Joe Bastardi forecasted disruption "like a hurricane" for central Texas. I took it two steps farther. These were three days in advance:"

It was not just Joe and me. Look at this forecast from the NWS three days in advance. 
It calls for two inches of snow. That is a big deal that far south (no snow removal equipment, etc.) especially with continuing forecasts of extreme cold.

Two days in advance, the NWS issued a winter storm warning for Austin (pink).

Below was AccuWeather's forecast two days before.
It had Austin on the border between snow and ice. The forecasts continued to get more dire as Sunday (14th, Valentine's Day) approached. 

Given all of these excellent forecasts the report's major shortcoming is why was all of this ignored?

And, it wasn't just the start of the winter precipitation and extreme cold. These mistakes continued.

While I would hate to see litigation start over ignored weather forecasts, I fear that may be an eventual result of all of this. Cities cannot keep making absurd decisions in the face of outstanding weather forecasts. 
In spite of the public relations stunt of declaring a "climate emergency" the report says,

And, it isn't just Austin. Tomorrow, I'll have a report on the latest ridiculous weather-related move by New York City.

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