As the east coast struggles to withstand Hurricane Dorian’s wind and rain, Wharton County’s soils bake under near 100 degree temperatures.
County-wide relief won’t be coming this week, according to County Emergency Management Coordinator Andy Kirkland. Instead, “this week’s forecast is HOT,” he said.
Conditions could change quickly, however, depending on whether an area of low pressure headed toward Mexico develops the counter-clockwise motion of a tropical system.
“(Tropical Storm Fernando formed Tuesday)... while the low moves slowly westward across the south-central and southwestern Gulf of Mexico toward the coast of Mexico,” Kirkland said, adding it is due to make landfall in Mexico late today.
There’s no indication this storm would create the danger of Dorian, but it could bring rain if winds cooperate.
In the meantime, Kirkland reminds everyone that a burn ban remains in place throughout the county.
Areas around Magnet are actually quite wet, but not enough to offset the tinderbox conditions near Lissie and Egypt.
Wharton County uses the state’s Keetch-Byram Drought Index to determine if a burn ban is needed. The zero to 800 scale measures moisture missing from soil based on a county wide average. At zero, ground is squishy. Each 100 points up the scale means soil would need roughly an inch of slow, soaking rain to become thoroughly soggy. At 500, an area is considered to be at extreme danger for wildfire.