It’s been a harsh summer around the globe and it hasn’t skipped Austin, which has been setting high-temperature records galore this year.
While more than 85% of Americans are melting under temperatures above 90 degrees through this weekend, Austin is trudging into its 41st triple-digit day with a heat advisory issued from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday.
Anomalously high temps are expected to persist across most of the country thru this week, w/ triple-digit temps lingering in parts of the South Central US & a surge of #heat entering the Pacific NW by early next week 🌡️. For heat safety tips, visit: https://t.co/GEEQxOlSTNpic.twitter.com/VYSY5PAMrW
— NWS Weather Prediction Center (@NWSWPC) July 20, 2022
However, Austin isn’t the only city breaking records.
The South Central U.S. is sweating
These cities topped their daily heat records on Wednesday.
- Lawton, Oklahoma, tied its 2018 record of 111 degrees
- Abilene, Texas, hit 110 degrees, topping its previous 1936 record of 107
- Del Rio, Texas, topped its 2009 record of 106 at 108 degrees
- San Antonio, Texas, got to 104 degrees, breaking the previous record of 101 from 1996
- Fayetteville, Arkansas, was 103 degrees, its hottest since 2012, topping the record by one degree
- West Plains, Missouri, topped its 101-degree record from 1964 at 104 degrees
- Springfield, Missouri, tied its 2006 record at 103 degrees
Just one day before, nine Texas cities set records, including Austin, alongside one in Oklahoma.
- Wichita Falls, Texas, hit 115 degrees and broke its record of 112 set in 2018
- Borger, Texas, breaking its 109-degree 2018 record by two degrees
- Abilene, Texas, hitting 110 degrees again
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, hitting 110 and breaking its 1936 record by one degree
- Amarillo, Texas, breaking its 2018 record of 105 by three degrees
- San Angelo, Texas, tied its 2018 record at 108 degrees
- El Paso, Texas, broke its 1980 record of 105 by two degrees
- Austin’s Camp Mabry hit 106 degrees, breaking its 105 records from 1914, 1923 and 1951
- Midland International Air & Space Port in Midland, Texas, tied its 2018 record of 105
- Houston, Texas, tied its 2000 record at 100 degrees
A look to the near future
At least in Austin, it doesn’t look like it's going to cool down more than a couple of degrees. According to the National Weather Service, the forecast for the next five days shows triple-digit highs. Additionally, a look at The Weather Channel shows 100-degree days persisting into August.
The University of Texas system could overtake Harvard University as the U.S. school with the largest endowment.
That wealth is thanks to more than 2 million acres in the Permian Basin that the Texas college system oversees and leases to nearly 250 drillers.
With surging oil prices and production on its land, the UT system could reach its best-ever annual revenue this fiscal year, according to a report in Bloomberg.
Harvard’s endowment in June 2021 stood at $53.2 billion, higher than the UT system’s $42.9 billion. But oil reached a high of $120 a barrel earlier this year, driving in more revenue for the Texas system. The system collects a royalty averaging more than 22% per barrel.
Revenue from oil and gas is invested with the University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Co. Then through an annual payout, the UT campus in Austin is supported along with two A&M schools.
Where that money ultimately trickles down is guided by the state constitution, which allows funds to be spent on capital expenses, but not daily operations or for tuition assistance or scholarships.
This revenue has come with criticism. In 2016, an Austin-based group known as Environment Texas launched a campaign called “UT’s Dirty Little Secret” to highlight the pollution.
As a result of public pressure, there’s now an infrared camera to detect methane leaks and a grant program so that operators can upgrade to equipment that would reduce emissions.
Environment Texas told Bloomberg that they want further action and a long-term plan to cease oil and gas dependence.
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Next time you’re trying to leave downtown at rush hour, you can get a ride without dealing with surge pricing.
A Central Texas-founded rideshare company known as Wridz is now active in Austin, adding to the list of companies like Uber, Lyft and Fetii.
Instead of surge pricing, Wridz says it will address demand by allowing users to give an upfront tip to drivers so that they’re chosen for a trip. Under this model, drivers keep the entire tip.
On top of the tip, drivers can keep the fare charge, too. But drivers for Wridz are required to pay a $100 subscription each month to drive with the company. To qualify, drivers must attend an in-person meeting with the company to confirm their identity and vehicle information and undergo background checks.
Aside from Austin, Wridz is available in other parts of the state like San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Lubbock. Driver sign-up is taking place in the Waco area. Outside of Texas, those in Cincinnati and Chicago have Wridz as an option.
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