A storm is brewing in Austin, and it's just in time for the biggest outdoor event of the year.
But don't let it rain on your parade: with the right preparation and a little bit of good luck, Austin City Limits can bring the party rain or shine as the first ACL weekend since 2019 kicks off on Friday.
After a dry start to the day chances of showers and storms will increase late this afternoon- tonight. Heavy rainfall & some strong to severe storms are possible across the Rio Grande Plains & Edwards Plateau late today into tomorrow.— NWS Austin/San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) September 30, 2021
Stormy weather continues through Saturday. pic.twitter.com/2eilLISiCh
In order to make the most of the weekendlong music fest, you first need to know what you're up against.
It's no guarantee that it will rain all through your favorite's concert, but the area will see up to 1.5 inches of rain from Thursday night to Friday evening, according to the National Weather Service Austin/San Antonio. More rainfall is expected from Friday to Saturday.
According to The Weather Channel, Austin will see a 60% chance of rain during the day Friday and just under a 50% chance that night. A near 50% chance of rainfall carries into Saturday, with showers expected in the morning and scattered thunderstorms coming as the day continues. Heavy rainfall could occur either weekend.
These October showers could impact the Austin area in multiple ways, including minor flooding, plenty of mud and, thankfully, some appropriate early fall temperatures.
The National Weather Service predicts that much of Central and South Texas could see higher river flows and minor flooding over the weekend, though only the most sensitive creeks and streams of the Colorado River will be affected. Austin is predicted to see around two inches in the next few days.
Mudfest Round 2?
History lesson:— Festival Saviors (@sxsaviors) September 28, 2021
ACL 2009 was known as Mudfest. This was after only 0.68in of rain fell on Zilker
This year we have two rainy days leading up to ACL + two more during the fest.
Will history repeat?
Photo cred Statesman - https://t.co/1baU326sqZ pic.twitter.com/RzPXjZlwt3
With plenty of rainfall and plenty of footsteps to muss up the ground, ACL goers have a new enemy: mud.
No matter how well they go with your outfit, it may be time to consider scrapping your Louboutins for some rain boots, or at the very least, some form of thicker closed-toe shoes. Think stability, water protection, and warmth- there's no reason to watch George Strait with soggy socks and cold toes.
Another good move would be wearing a rain jacket, which admittedly will alter your well-planned weekend outfit. For the best of both worlds, consider opting for a clear poncho that won't be too hot and keeps your fashionable taste in view.
Finally, it's key to bring something to protect your belongings. A waterlogged phone could ruin even the best of concerts, so look for waterproof fanny packs, waterproof phone pouches or, at the very least, Ziploc baggies and trash bags to keep your belongings safe. Remember, ACL requires all bags larger than fanny packs to be clear, and backpacks and drawstring bags are prohibited. Here's the full bag policy.
A silver lining
Big fan of Greta Van Fleet? Lucky for you, Sunday will be unmarred by the weekend's storms. Expect a mix of sunny and cloudy skies and a high of 88 degrees to close out Weekend One.
With storms bringing a cool front to balmy Texas, the storms will keep extreme heat at bay all weekend—in fact, Sunday will be the warmest day of all. Highs for both Friday and Saturday will reach around 85 degrees, with lows in the mid-to high 60s all weekend long.
Concertgoers will have a bit more leeway in outfit choices thanks to the weekend's relatively moderate temperatures—while shorts and a flowy top are still perhaps most comfortable, a breathable layer or two may not be unwelcome as well.
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Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
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Austin Public Health and other clinics around Austin are now providing booster shots for all three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to fully vaccinated individuals after both Pfizer and J & J were approved by the CDC on Wednesday.
APH and Austin clinics, which were already administering the approved Pfizer booster, will begin distributing shots as soon as Friday.
Those who received the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine more than six months ago are elligble to receive a booster if they are over 65 or if they are over 18 and:
- Live in a long-term care environment
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Work or live in high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals or correctional facilities
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a media Q&A Friday that APH is encouraging boosters just as much as they have urged residents to get their first and second doses.
"Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low," Walkes said. "If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community."
Eligible residents are free to choose the same booster as their first doses or "mix and match," per the CDC announcement.
Those looking for another dose can simply bring their vaccination card to APH centers or the dozens of Walgreens and CVS locations in the metro, which began administering doses Friday.
Additional updated guidance from the CDC allows for all eligible individuals to choose which vaccine they receive as a "mix-and-match" booster dose. It is advised to remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card showing the original doses with you when going for booster shots.
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