• Blogs

    July 4, 2014

    The Texas Drought (After All This Rain) is Still a Thing

    It seems like there's been a lot more rain lately, but don't let all that moisture from the sky fool you. Houston is doing better, but a chunk of Texas is still in a condition that is commonly known as drought.

  • Blogs

    May 2, 2014

    Despite All the Rain, Texas Is Still in a Drought (And Houston Is Still Dry)

    Y'all might remember how everyone was talking about the drought last summer. We all stopped talking about it when winter finally showed up and there was rain and cold and all of those snowpocalypses to distract us. But anyone who assumed that meant the drought was over, assumed wrong. The Texas Co ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 18, 2014

    Weather Week: Springpocalypse is Here

    It would appear that winter is definitely in the rearview mirror for the city of Houston. This doesn't mean we won't see some cool to cold weather before the long, hot expanse of summer sprawls out before us, but it is unlikely we will have any weather like we cataloged the last few weeks. The groun ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 5, 2013

    Voters Approve Prop Six, $2 Billion Water Infrastructure Plan

    Looks like there will be water, water everywhere, or at least funding for water infrastructure. Proposition 6, an amendment to the state constitution allowing the appropriation of $2 billion to fund revamping state water infrastructure, has passed, Associated Press reports. Houston voters can feel ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 28, 2013

    What Does Your Texas Drought Look Like? Now You Can See Documentary Photos From Across the State

    Amid all the harsh reality, there is a strange, eerie beauty to a new photo exhibit going up in Austin at the state capitol this week. Part of the "What does your Texas look like?" campaign, the photography exhibit shows the heavy toll the extended drought has taken across our state. Lake beds are ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 11, 2013

    Election Roundup: Proposition 6 (Funding the State Water Plan)

    Referendum: Proposition 6 (the proposed constitutional amendment to fund the State Water Plan), if approved by voters, will allow a one-time transfer of $2 billion from the state Rainy Day Fund to provide local governments with loans to help build water infrastructure in the state. Key issue: The r ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 30, 2013

    Weekend Weather: Labor Day Weekend Looks Hot, Dry

    The state of Texas has never been able to fully recover from the drought of 2011 and it is only exacerbated during months with little or no rainfall. While we have had a few decent rain days in August, on the whole it's been pretty dry, which is typical for this time of year. So, most of the state r ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 16, 2013

    The "Drought-ocalypse" Continues, Hitting Cattle Ranchers And Rice Farmers (And Us)

    There's been a lot of that wet stuff falling from the sky of late, but don't let all the rain fool you: Texas is still in the grips of one hell of a drought, along with most of the Southwest. In the city, it's easy to look at the rain pelting out of the sky and groan because you've got to walk thre ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 5, 2013

    Weather Week: Hot and Dry, but Rain May Be On the Way and Our First Tropical Disturbance?

    When it finally decides to heat up around here, it doesn't mess around. Temperatures this week have been inching into the lower 90s and will continue on that pace right up until the weekend. Shockingly, we had a late-season cool front push through the area on Sunday. It brought with it a nice dose o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 9, 2013

    As Texas's Drought Continues, Opportunities at Conservation Finally Find Discussion

    The rain came last week. Finally. It came in droves, surging over the curbs, washing away the oil and grime and refuse into a filthy chemical blend. It came for hours. It was needed, in a state suffering a drought that has covered nearly every city and town and farm Texas knows. And then it let up, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 2, 2013

    Weather Week: Remember Rain? Best Pack an Umbrella This Week

    In case you had forgotten, that wet stuff falling from the sky on Sunday is rain. Yes, that's right, Houston, it rained this weekend. And, more importantly, it isn't over yet. Sunday was the first substantial rain we've had in over a month. The exceptionally dry month of March would have exacerbate ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 26, 2013

    Weather Week: What Did That Groundhog Say Again?`

    When old Punxsutawney Phil called for an early spring this year, many across the northern part of the country were thrilled. Then, the reality set in that taking advice on, well, anything from a groundhog might not be the best approach. As it turns out, it has been pretty damn chilly around the coun ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 20, 2013

    Experts: Conservation the Key to Future Texas Water Needs

    Since the summer of 2011, Texas has been faced with a drought which not only harmed wildlife, but reduced our recreational opportunities and damaged our water supplies. By 2012 the drought conditions marginally improved, but the Texas population continues to grow making the demand for water increase ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 14, 2013

    Houston Is Bad For Romance Because Of....All The Rain?

    The days leading up to Valentine's Day can fill reporters' in-boxes with lots of "studies" purporting to show some type of love-related finding that's connected to whatever product is being pushed. "San Diego Is Most Romantic City Because of Drano," one might say, for instance. Everyone knows they ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 5, 2013

    Weekly Weather: It Might Feel Like Spring, But It's Not Here Just Yet

    February, despite recent evidence to the contrary, can be one of the colder months of the year for Houston. A couple years back, we had snow and temperatures in the 20s, but not this year. This year, our friends post pictures of themselves online wearing t-shirts and sipping margaritas on patios, or ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 28, 2013

    Texas Cattle Ranchers Face a Trifecta of Worrying Issues, Which Means Higher Beef Prices in 2013

    This year will mark the 136th time the Cattle Raisers Convention has met, but it's in a climate that these cattlemen haven't battled for a long time. More than 2,500 ranchers and landowners are convening in Fort Worth this March to discuss a trifecta of issues that won't easily be solved. Ranchers ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 7, 2013

    Weekly Weather: Severe Weather Could Be in Our Near Future

    Cold and damp. That is classic Houston winter weather. And we've been living with it for the last couple of weeks. For this week, the trend will be a gradual warmup moving towards the weekend -- we could see highs in the mid and upper 70s by Saturday before another cold front moves through -- but be ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 2, 2013

    Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot: Houston and Galveston Break All-Time Temperature Records, But It's Cool Right Now

    It's funny how perception works when it comes to weather. In 2011, the combination of a brutal drought -- that continues, by the way, for most of the state and still threatens our area -- and record daily high temperatures made it seem like the hottest year, well, ever. But the truth is that cooler ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 9, 2012

    Welcome to the Jungle: Houston Returns to Rainforest-Like Weather the Next Two Weeks

    Hot, wet and steamy could either be the title of a porn movie, the description of a bunch of fat old guys in the steam room at the Y or the description of our weather this July. It could be all three. But, for the kids, let's stay focused on the weather, shall we? If you liked Sunday's weather with ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 2, 2012

    Heat? Check. Rain? Check. Hurricanes? Maybe Not. Summer in Houston, 2012

    If you don't like Houston, probably at the top of your list of reasons why is the summer. For those not accustomed to the -- let's call it "sticky" -- weather the Bayou City offers from July through September each year, it can be a brutal three or four months. Of course, for people like me who have ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 29, 2012

    The Heat Is On: Temps Will Feel Like Summer Has Arrived This Week

    Welcome to summer, Houston! While the actual beginning to summer is next month, Memorial Day is the unofficial signal that the hot weather is coming and every place you like to go for coffee will be packed with kids out of school. For Houstonians, it also marks the time of year when we begin to migr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 15, 2012

    Spring Has Sprung: Cold Weather and the Drought Come to an End

    Despite warnings to the contrary, our Texas winter was about as wet as normal. Last week alone, we had almost five inches of rain in the Houston area -- more than our entire summer in 2011! With that dose of heavy rain came an end to our area's drought, something we said might happen in December. As ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 16, 2012

    Your Official Texas Drought Carnage: 5.6 Million Urban Trees Killed

    The Texas Forest Service has completed its latest update on the effects of the crushing drought, and it's somewhat hard to fathom: about 5.6 million trees in urban areas of the state fell victim to the lack of rain. And they ain't done dying yet. "This estimate is preliminary because trees are con ... More >>

  • Dining

    January 19, 2012

    Meat Market

    You'll probably be paying more for your rib eyes and Whoppers thanks to the great Texas drought of 2011.

  • Blogs

    January 18, 2012

    More Expensive Meat in 2012: The Rising Cost of Beef

    ​A rancher on the verge of bankruptcy. A state on the verge of another devastating drought. A nation on the verge of a depleted beef supply. These are the stories told in this week's cover feature, Meat Market, which examines the many reasons -- from the hoof up -- that you'll be paying more f ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 28, 2011

    Houston's Long Hot Dry Year: 2011 Year in Weather

    There's an old saying, "If you don't like the weather in Texas, wait." In 2011, that statement was on full display as we suffered some of the wildest weather changes the state has ever seen. In Houston, there was at least some consistency. Unfortunately, that consistency came in the form of a bruta ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 2, 2011

    Winter Might Not Be as Dry and Warm as Previously Thought

    The folks at AccuWeather have done some additional forecasting and, as it turns out, we might not have quite the dry and/or mild conditions this winter that were previously forecast. Looking at the map at the top of this post, you can see we are still in the "mild and dry" area, but not by much. Fo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 20, 2011

    Long Strange Trip: Summer Finally Is Over, Enjoy It

    Courtesy of WundergroundWelcome to Houston fall weather.​Well, Houston, your long, regional nightmare is finally over. If you haven't made it outside lately, then you wouldn't realize it, but we have finally felt real fall weather here in the Bayou City and not a moment too soon. We've broken ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 30, 2011

    Protecting Trees During the Drought: The Good News and the Bad News

    The drought has taken its toll on Houston area plant life of all kinds, but the potential damage this drought could cause to trees seems to generate the most worry among residents. Despite the fact that people who have never visited Houston have the impression we are a dusty cow town akin to Dry Gul ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 27, 2011

    There Is Unrest in the Forest: Dying Trees to Cost City $4.5 Million

    The maples scream "oppression" but to the drought, not the oak trees.​Houston always seems to surprise people who come here from other parts of the country and think our landscape is populated with tumbleweeds and Dry Gulch-style sandy creek bottoms. Take one of them to the observation deck of ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 22, 2011

    Drought Fallout: Renaissance Festival Will Now Feature Ye Olde Laser Show

    A renaissance for laser shows​Another victim of the drought and wildfires in the area this year: the fireworks show at the Texas Renaissance Festival. Instead it's Laser-Show Time, dudes! "The Royal Fireworks display is one of the most anticipated aspects of the festival day," said Terre Alb ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 14, 2011

    Cigarettes Banned in City Parks?

    Coming soon to a park near you?​First they came for your barbecue grills, and you didn't speak out because you just microwave your meals. Now they may be coming for your cigs. Discussion at City Council today included talk of banning smoking in city parks because of the fire danger brought o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 9, 2011

    No BBQing in City Parks Until Drought Lifts

    Not in city parks, buddy.​Houston parks are usually fragrant on the weekends with the smell of families barbecuing up their favorite dishes. They won't be for now, and probably for quite some time. Mayor Annise Parker announced a ban on all barbecuing and grilling in city parks because of th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 7, 2011

    Drought vs. Tropical Storm: Whose Side Are You On? Take Our Poll

    Careful what you wish for.​There's a 70 percent chance a tropical storm will develop in the Gulf in Mexico's Bay of Campeche. Computer models show a chance it could drift northward, strengthening and possibly becoming a large hurricane aimed at New Orleans or points east. It won't come to Te ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 29, 2011

    Texas Donkeys Being Abandoned Because Of Drought

    Eeyore doesn't like droughts​You gotta figure Texas donkeys have a hard enough life anyway. It's freaking hot all the time, you're probably sterile and everyone's confusing you for a mule. But when a king-size drought comes along, things can get a lot worse. Donkey rescue groups are warning ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 28, 2011

    Tropical Storm Don: Will Houston See Any Effects?

    Is that a cone of uncertainty in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?​As we thought, the forecast models, using the data from the National Hurricane Center reconnaissance aircraft came into fairly good agreement last night on the track of Tropical Storm Don and, unfortunately, it d ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 5, 2011

    Comment of the Day: Your City Bureaucracy at Work

    ​We have some great commenters here on Hair Balls, and it's time we paid some damn attention to them. So we'll be highlighting a Comment of the Day each morning, from the previous day's work. Maybe two comments, even. This will all be determined by a highly rigorous scientific formula involv ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 1, 2011

    As Drought Causes Foundation Problems, Good Luck Getting Help

    Barry SigmanHello, foundation problems.​Now that we're nine months into the drought, we called a foundation company to see if someone could diagnose whether the ghastly cracks our ceiling had sprouted recently needed official repair. Vanessa Hutcherson at Olshan (the renowned foundation repai ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 23, 2011

    The Absolute Best "Baby Elephants In A Swimming Pool" Video Ever

    We've only today come across this Houston Zoo video, but as the drought returns it's well worth a look. Baylor and Tupelo, the Zoo's baby elephants, have never looked cuter or funnier than in this clip. And we all know how cute Baylor can be: He swept the field in our Houston Zoo Cute-Off tournamen ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 21, 2011

    Rick Perry Says to Pray for Rain (to the God Who's Causing the Drought)

    A solution is at hand​Widlfires are raging in west and north Texas, 100 percent of the state is under drought conditions with little hope of relief in sight, but Governor Rick Perry has a plan: Pray. Perry formally announced today that he is setting aside three days for Texans to officially p ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 3, 2010

    Houston Could Face Drastic Water Shortage, Study Says

    More GREAT environmental news for Houston​A new study says Houston is one of the 10 big cities in the country that could face a crushing water shortage in the coming years.Two major studies were examined by 24/7 Wall Street to come up with the claim that Houston belongs as much on the list as obvi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 6, 2009

    Good News As You Pack Up Your Flood-Soaked Rug: The Burn Ban Is Lifted!

    You might think that the rains that battered Houston recently did only bad things, like flood out cars of people who thought they could make it through that one intersection already dotted with flooded cars.But there was one mini-silver lining to those ominous clouds: the burn ban in unincorporated ... More >>