Weather patterns lead Williamson County to enact burn ban Dec. 4

A countywide 30-day burn ban was enacted Dec. 4 based on neutral weather patterns and a continued lack of rain in the region.

Jarred Thomas, Williamson County Emergency Management specialist, asked the Williamson County Commissioners Court to enact the ban, as the area is still recognized by the U.S. Drought Monitor as being in a moderate to severe drought.

"I think until we get some more rain that this is going to be the safest route for us to take," Thomas said.

The approach of winter is a source of concern for Thomas and the county's emergency management, as lower temperatures and lower humidity mean fires can spread easily.

He also reported that according to the National Weather Service, Central Texas is neither under El Nio nor La Nia weather conditions, but in a neutral weather pattern, creating equal probabilities for receiving and not receiving rain. Temperatures in this type of pattern can also be unpredictable.

"Currently, we ... are in the neutral zone," Thomas said. "At times, we'll see well below-normal temperatures, but then it could turn around and be warm. [There could be] very extreme temperature changes."

The ban, which was enacted on the condition that Judge Dan Gattis could lift it if the area receives more rain, will require spotters for welding jobs and requires grilling to be done on grills that are closed in on three sides.

By Korri Kezar
Korri Kezar graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011 with a degree in journalism. She worked for Community Impact Newspaper's Round Rock-Pflugerville-Hutto edition for two years before moving to Dallas. Five years later, she returned to the company to launch Community Impact Newspaper's Keller-Roanoke-Northeast Fort Worth edition, where she covers local government, development, transportation and a variety of other topics. She has also worked at the San Antonio Express-News, Austin-American Statesman and Dallas Business Journal.