Rain chances or no, Guadalupe County officials saw fit Tuesday to institute a burn ban taking effect Wednesday.
“Conditions out in Guadalupe County are getting pretty dry,” said Patrick Pinder, Guadalupe County emergency management coordinator and fire marshal. “We haven’t seen a whole lot of fires yet, but that doesn’t mean they’re not coming.”
Pinder spoke Tuesday morning to the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court when he recommended a burn ban be instituted. Commissioners unanimously approved the ban.
Several other area counties had instituted burn bans prior to Tuesday’s Guadalupe County Commissioners Court meeting, Pinder said.
He said counties in the region were keeping eyes on their Keetch-Byram Drought Index numbers, which are used to determine the amount of moisture in the ground. Guadalupe County uses a KBDI threshold of 500 to trigger burn ban talks. As of Tuesday morning, Guadalupe County’s KBDI was 610, while Bexar County’s was 601, Caldwell’s was 513, Comal’s was 640, Gonzalez County’s was 591, Hays’ was 566 and Wilson’s sat at 567.
Pinder recommended the ban last 90 days.
Things could change much sooner than the length of the ban. Increased chances of rain are expected in the area in coming days, Meteorologist Aaron Treadway of the National Weather Service in New Braunfels said.
“We’re looking at finally some relief coming this weekend,” he said. “It’s too early to say actually what but we’ll have some sort of tropical system that’ll be broaching the state late Friday into Saturday.”
The National Hurricane Center is tracking a system and gives it about a 40% chance to develop into some type of precipitation for this area, Treadway said. It could develop into a tropical depression, tropical storm or worse.
“Regardless if it becomes a tropical depression, tropical storm, it will be bringing a lot of moisture to the Seguin area and bringing us the best chances of rain we’ve seen in probably a month or so,” Treadway said.
Within the past month, the county and surrounding area has seen scattered showers and thunderstorms but nothing of significance, he said. The southwestern part of the county is under a drought outlook, Treadway said.
“We have been dry a very long time,” he said.
Rain chances in the near future did not deter commissioners court members. Persistent weather conditions mean rainfall may not have a huge effect, County Judge Kyle Kutscher said.
“The problem is it’s so hot and so dry around the county, if we get an inch of rain, the top half is going to be gone and you’re right back to where you were,” he said.
Temperatures are forecast to be in the low 90s in coming days, Treadway said. He said it will be a nice relief from the widespread triple-digit temperatures the area saw last weekend.
Forecasts call for more normal temps for the region, Treadway said, in the 91- to 92-degree range. However, it will still feel hot and sticky to people around here, he said.
“The afternoon heat index values are still going to feel like the upper 90s to maybe 105 (degrees),” Treadway said. “Increasing gulf moisture makes it feel a lot more humid and makes it feel a lot hotter than it is.”