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Photo by Leonid Furmansky [http://leonidfurmansky.com/]

After a summer of record-breaking heat, the Austin area received as much as 3.73 inches of rain on August 22, 2022. Local artist photographer Leonid Furmansky captured these arresting photos of rising flood waters in downtown Austin.

"I wanted to capture still images while showing the rapid rate of the flood. I took long exposure shots to show the direction of the flow of the water and the lines it created. I took images with buildings covering the sky to show the juxtaposition between nature and the urban landscape," Furmansky says. "I was surprised by the candid moments with humans and the creek: In one image, a rain-soaked man sits on the edge of the rock beds; in another, a man in a suit looks out the window of a downtown skyscraper. I made these images because we live in a brand new city with few struggles: To see some kind of natural disaster on even a small scale proves that even today's technology and modern design can't keep up with Mother Nature."

After a summer of record-breaking heat, the Austin area received as much as 3.73 inches of rain on August 22, 2022. Local artist photographer Leonid Furmansky [https://www.instagram.com/_leonidfurmansky/?hl=en] headed to downtown Austin to capture arresting photos of rising flood waters. "I wanted to capture still images while showing the rapid rate of the flood. I took long exposure shots to show the direction of the flow of the water and the lines it created. I took images with buildings covering the sky to show the juxtaposition between nature and urban landscape," Furmansky says. "I was surprised by the candid moments with humans and the creek: In one image, a rain-soaked man sits on the edge of the rock beds; in another, a man in a suit looking out the window of a downtown skyscraper. I made these images because we live in a brand new city with few struggles: To see some kind of natural disaster on even a small scale proves that even today's technology and modern design can't keep up with Mother Nature." --- A colorful sky replaced heavy rains before sunset on August 22.

Photo by Leonid Furmansky [http://leonidfurmansky.com/]
After a summer of record-breaking heat, the Austin area received as much as 3.73 inches of rain on August 22, 2022. Local artist photographer Leonid Furmansky [https://www.instagram.com/_leonidfurmansky/?hl=en] headed to downtown Austin to capture arresting photos of rising flood waters. "I wanted to capture still images while showing the rapid rate of the flood. I took long exposure shots to show the direction of the flow of the water and the lines it created. I took images with buildings covering the sky to show the juxtaposition between nature and urban landscape," Furmansky says. "I was surprised by the candid moments with humans and the creek: In one image, a rain-soaked man sits on the edge of the rock beds; in another, a man in a suit looking out the window of a downtown skyscraper. I made these images because we live in a brand new city with few struggles: To see some kind of natural disaster on even a small scale proves that even today's technology and modern design can't keep up with Mother Nature." --- A colorful sky replaced heavy rains before sunset on August 22.

Austin area under flood watch as heavy rain head to Central Texas

Wake my dreams

KVUE — A flood watch is in effect through 7 am Tuesday, August 23.

After a brief drying trend over the weekend, Austin is back to a very unsettled weather pattern to start this week. This will include the potential for a couple of strong storms with gusty winds, but the main concern will be flooding.

A flood watch is now in effect and will continue through at least 7 am Tuesday, August 23, although it may be extended.

Parts of Central Texas could pick up 1 to 3 inches or more of rainfall over the next 48 hours.

By mid to late-afternoon, widespread rain and storms will be moving into the Interstate 35 corridor and the Austin metro.

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Find a detailed breakdown of the timing for rain and storms and check out the radar on KVUE.com.

Photo by RoschetzkyIstockPhoto/Getty Images

Austin-area lake town splashes onto list of best waterways in the U.S.

Lake-way to go

As temperatures start to sizzle, Austinites know the best way to beat the heat — besides margaritas, of course. In Austin, we are blessed with all kinds of lakes, rivers, and waterways, but one Austin-area locale is the best lake town of them all, according to a new report by Boatline.com.

The study puts Lakeway at No. 8 among the best lake towns in the U.S. Boatline praises the town as a "laid-back destination located on the southern shores of Texas' Lake Travis."

The report goes on to say that while the city started as a community for second-home owners and retirees, "Lakeway is now home to full-time residents of all ages that are drawn to the lake lifestyle. You'll often find locals, as well as weekenders from nearby Austin and farther, taking in the panoramic views of Lake Travis from a pontoon or speedboat."

No. 8 is a commendable place to land on a list that only includes 17 cities, especially as the only Texas destination on the list. Bigfork, Montana, claimed the No. 1 spot. It's situated on the picturesque Flathead Lake and home to year-round activities including whitewater rafting in the spring, summer boating, fly fishing in the fall, and ice fishing in winter.

Other lake towns ranking above Lakeway all hail from northern neighbors like Vermont (Burlington, No. 2); Washington (Chelan, No. 3); Colorado (Grand Lake, No. 4); and Minnesota (Grand Marais, No. 5) — which is hardly fair when all five boast wildly better temps than our Texan counterparts. Only Georgia (Greensboro, No. 6) and Arkansa (Hot Springs, No. 7) share even close to the same latitude as any Texan candidates.

On the positive side, Lakeway beats several towns in Wisconsin (Lake Geneva, No. 9); New York, (Lake George, No. 10); Michigan (Traverse City, No. 15); and New Hampshire (Wolfeboro, No. 17). Head to boatline.com for the full list. Or better yet, head out to Lakeway to enjoy that top 10 ranking for yourself.

Photo courtesy of KVUE

Multiple tornadoes leave damage across Austin metro area

Weather Watch

KVUEMultiple tornadoes were confirmed in Central Texas as severe weather rolled through the area on the evening of March 21, including Round Rock and Elgin. KVUE confirmed damage to many buildings after large hail and strong winds, especially in Round Rock.

For those seeking shelter, assistance, and guidance after the storm, KVUE has compiled the following resources.

Where to seek shelter and assistance after the storm
The City of Round Rock has set up two temporary shelter locations at the Dell Diamond Heritage Center at 3400 E. Palm Valley Blvd. and Redbud Elementary School at 1500 Ty Cobb Place.

A shelter has also been set up at Sts. Cyril & Methodius Recreation Center at 500 W. Davilla St. Granger is also opening a shelter at their high school gym.

The Austin Disaster Relief Network is opening up its Central Texas Tornadoes Relief Fund to help residents impacted.

“We can already see that dozens of homes have been ripped all the way to their foundations,” said ADRN Executive Director Daniel Geraci. “Central Texas residents will need support from the entire community today, tomorrow, and for many weeks to come. Our neighbors need help with everything from cleaning up debris, replacing lost and damaged clothes and furniture, and rebuilding the structure of their homes. All of that takes resources, and we’re asking the Greater Austin community to support the Central Texas Tornadoes Relief Fund and help these families in their moment of crisis.”

How to report property damage
The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) encourages citizens to report damage to property by submitting a damage assessment survey.

Texans can report damage to their homes or businesses by using the Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool (iSTAT). The information provided in the survey helps emergency management officials gain an understanding of damages that have occurred and helps officials determine if the damages meet federal requirements for various forms of disaster assistance, as well as identify any immediate resource needs.

"By providing details through the iSTAT damage survey, Texans can notify emergency management officials about the extent of damage sustained during this severe weather event," said Texas Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd. "Texans are encouraged to assist the damage assessment process by uploading photos and including important details about any losses."

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For video and more information on this story, head to KVUE.com.

Photo by Capelle.r/Getty Images

Austin remains under citywide boil water notice through Tuesday, authorities say

water down

KVUE — On Saturday night, February 5, Austin Water issued a citywide boil water notice for all customers following “an internal treatment process issue” at the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant, the utility provider’s largest water processing plant.

Customers are asked to boil tap water vigorously for at least two minutes before using it for drinking or cooking. That includes water used for brushing teeth, making ice, washing raw foods, preparation of drinks, and water for pets.

Several water distribution sites are open for those who need them while the boil water notice is in effect.

In a statement on Saturday, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said the issue “will be over in a couple of days” and urged Austinites to conserve water during that time.

In Sunday’s press conference, Austin Water director Greg Meszaros said there are five steps to get through in order to rescind the notice:

  • Get Ullrich Water Treatment Plant back online.
  • Ullrich is operating at normal production levels.
  • Water sampling begins.
  • Water sampling results show no water quality issues.
  • TCEQ authorizes lifting the boil water notice.

As of Sunday evening, February 6, Austin Water had completed the first two steps of the five, Meszaros said. During steps three through five, Austin Water will gather samples and submit them to the TCEQ so the agency can authorize rescinding the boil water notice. Meszaros said the target date to receive authorization from the TCEQ to rescind the boil water notice was by the end of day on Tuesday, February 8.

Watch Sunday’s full press conference here.

Meszaros said the issue arose when the Ullrich plant experienced a “treatment process upset” that resulted in a spike in the water’s turbidity. Water turbidity is a measure of the water’s clarity, with higher turbidity meaning that the water appears murkier.

The incident did not have to do with the recent winter storm that moved through the area earlier this week, and Meszaros said the timing between the storm and the incident was a coincidence.

“This did not have to do with the winter storm. We were through that event and actually were feeling pretty celebratory that everything went well and then today, we had this event,” he said. “Nothing suggests that this is related to the winter storm.”

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Continue reading this story and watch the video on KVUE.

ERCOT projects Texas energy demand to hit all-time winter peak this week

power up

KVUE — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is projecting an all-time winter peak demand for energy this week — more than last year’s February storm — but the state power grid also has more energy reserves on hand and is expected to remain online, officials say.

ERCOT’s latest forecast on Thursday, February 3 projected a peak demand of 74,700 megawatts on Friday.

Last year’s peak demand in February was 69,692 megawatts, which pushed the Texas grid to near failure and led to millions of Texans losing power.

The demand this week, if ERCOT’s projections hold, would easily surpass last year’s winter peak and also rival the all-time peak demand of 74,820 megawatts that was set in August 2019.

But this time around, ERCOT officials say the state power grid should have enough energy reserves to handle all the demand.

Gov. Greg Abbott, in a news conference on Thursday, February 3 said Texas should have about 10,000 megawatts in reserves at peak demand this week.

As of Thursday, the state had about 20,000 megawatts in reserves — an “extraordinary supply of extra power,” Abbott said.

A single megawatt is enough to power up to 200 homes.

“The power grid is performing very well at this time,” Abbott said.

About 70,000 people, including 25,000 in North Texas, were without power on Thursday due to local outages unrelated to the state power grid.

ERCOT CEO Brad Jones said the level of icing in the state has been “significant,” but not as severe as expected, allowing wind operators and other generators to remain online.

Jones attributes the state’s winterization requirements for power generators with helping keep operators online this week.

In November, ERCOT projected a peak winter demand of about 62,000 megawatts “based on the average weather conditions at the time of the winter peak demand.”

Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association, says there have not been any “significant events” during the storm.

He said Texas, the nation’s largest natural gas producer, remains “very fortunate” because its natural gas supply far exceeds demand.

Staples also added that, even if production diminished, there is ample supply in the marketplace. He said Texas has a massive-by-any-account amount of natural gas in storage — about 125 times the normal daily usage needed for electric power generation.

“We’ve experienced temporary loss of power, high winds, and icing conditions” that may get worse, but he said the problems were anticipated, with oil and natural gas providers spending hundreds of millions of dollars to prepare for bad weather.

Still, some are concerned.

“It just requires more energy to heat homes when it’s very cold than to cool them when it’s hot,” said Beth Garza, a senior energy fellow at the R Street Institute. “In the summer, I’m trying to cool my house from 100 degrees outside to 75 to 80 inside, a change of 20 to 25 degrees. Right now in Austin, it is 28 degrees and I’m trying to keep my home at 67 degrees — a nearly 40 degree increase. As it gets colder outside, the gap will increase and the amount of energy required — either natural gas or electricity — will increase.”

Garza said it’s critical to have proper insulation in the walls, windows, and roofs of homes in order to reduce the amount of electricity it takes to heat them.

Doug Lewin, executive director of Texas Energy Summit, agreed with Garza’s assessment. He added that Texas could also be seeing a form of PTSD among consumers who are preheating their homes or turning their heat up really high because of what happened with last February’s winter storm.

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Continue reading this story and watch the video on KVUE.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

The "world's rudest" diner is coming to Austin, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. A diner with the "world's rudest service" is coming to Austin...like, whenever. Karen’s Diner provides the worst service for the best experience, at least according to cheeky clientele who appreciate the campy comedy of a long-suffering server.

2. Award-winning New York pub brings Irish hospitality to Austin's Sixth Street. The Dead Rabbit pub is bringing Ireland to Texas, opening a new location in downtown Austin.

3. Where to see the once-in-recorded-history green comet approaching Austin. The comet will be closest to Earth (thus, likely the most visible) on February 1, and its most recent appearance was 50,000 years ago.

4. 6 Austin restaurants score coveted James Beard Award nominations. Austin restaurants and bars earned both national and regional recognition, with three national nominations and three nominations for Best Chef: Texas.

5. 2 Austin suburbs cash in among the richest places in Texas for 2023. Lakeway has been renamed the fifth richest place in Texas for 2023 in a recent study, while Bee Cave moved from No. 13 in 2022 to No. 9 this year.

Austin's flagship Kendra Scott store transforms into mini-Museum of Ice Cream for Valentine's Day

Sweet On You

Roses are red, violets are blue, and it's almost February, which means the season of love is upon us. Whether you're looking for the perfect Instagram backdrop or the perfect gift for your Galentine, Valentine — or just a treat for yourself — one particularly sweet collaboration has you covered.

Starting February 1, Austin's own Kendra Scott is partnering with the Museum of Ice Cream to "spread joy, inspire human connection, and reimagine the way we experience ice cream and jewelry just in time for Valentine’s Day," according to a release.

An extension of Scott's “Sweet on You” Valentine’s Day campaign, the partnership will feature an immersive, experiential retail component in the bustling Kendra Scott flagship location on South Congress, as well as a custom ice cream flavor, opportunities to give back, and more.

For an immersive retail experience, the event space at the flagship store will be transformed into a mini-Museum of Ice Cream appropriately dressed with bananas, baubles, and hearts galore. If you've never made it to the renowned museum housed at the Domain, this is your chance to get a literal taste of the experience, while shopping for trinkets and treasures at the same time.

Both companies prioritize giving back as key pillars of their brand, so it's only fitting that the duo will be surprising three schools in Austin, Chicago, and New York with February ice cream parties as part of their partnership. Children at participating schools will be able to enjoy the exclusive Kendra Scott x Museum of Ice Cream flavor while crafting their own Museum of Ice Cream cardboard truck. Each classroom will also receive an Amazon gift card to offset teaching supplies, and Kendra Scott will provide each student with a yellow rose to give alongside Valentine’s messages for their friends, family, teacher, or crush.

Taking place from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, a public event on Febuary 1 will formally celebrate the launch of the partnership. Guests will be able to check out the collaborative, immersive shopping experience while shopping Kendra Scott’s new Valentine's Day Collection, enjoying free ice cream and treats from the Museum of Ice Cream and the Sips & Sweets Café.

RSVP to the public event here, and start shopping the Valentine's Day collection here.

Texas-based Cinemark theater chain hosts Oscars-themed movie marathon

Awards News

The Cinemark movie chain is giving movie buffs an opportunity to brush up on the Oscars.

Plano-based Cinemark Holdings, Inc. will host its annual Oscar Movie Week festival, this year running from Monday, March 6 through Sunday, March 12, in anticipation of the 95th Oscars ceremony, which airs on March 12 on ABC.

The theater chain will air all of this year’s Best Picture and Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees, at more than 120 participating Cinemark theaters nationwide.

According to a release, passes are now on sale now at Cinemark.com/movieweek.

A full Digital Festival Pass is $40 and includes showings for all Best Picture and Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees. There's a perk! If you purchase a festival pass, you get 50 percent off any size popcorn during Oscar Movie Week.

Individual showtime tickets will be available starting January 27 at standard pricing, with showtimes beginning March 6.

All Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees are bundled into one viewing for just $10 from March 10-12.

For other brushing up, take a look back at what CultureMap’s film critic, Alex Bentley, had to say about each of the nominees (listed in alphabetical order) when they were originally released.

Cinemark has been hosting other similar marathon events such its collaboration with ESPN to bring college football games to the big screen.

The event takes place at these theaters across the U.S., including the following locations in Texas:

  • Austin: Cinemark Southpark Meadows
  • Denton: Cinemark 14
  • Fort Worth: Ridgmar Mall
  • Grapevine: Cinemark Tinseltown
  • Houston: Cinemark Memorial City
  • Plano: Cinemark Legacy
  • Plano: Cinemark West Plano
  • San Antonio: Cinemark San Antonio 16
  • The Woodlands: Cinemark 17