Five stories that have North Texas talking: 2016 was Texas' third-warmest year on record; George H.W. and Barbara Bush are hospitalized; Mark Zuckerberg does Dallas-Fort Worth; and more.
In separate studies, scientists with NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) both confirmed Wednesday that 2016 was Earth’s hottest year on record. This makes 2016 the third year in a row to set a new record for global average surface temperatures, according to the NOAA’s State of the Climate report.
For Texas, 2016 marked the state’s third-warmest year behind 2012 and 2011, Texas Observer reports. The year brought record-breaking temperatures across Texas during the fall and winter as well as heavy rain in the spring. Texas was affected by seven of the year’s 15 costliest weather and climate disasters recorded by the NOAA. Each of these disasters exceeded $1 billion in losses. The seven Texas events in 2016 included flooding in Houston, North and Central Texas hail storms and flooding in the Sabine River basin.
Houston has been affected by strong flooding again this week. The Texas Tribune reports why the city will be affected by more frequent and more rigorous rainstorms brought on by climate change. [NASA, NOAA, Texas Observer, Texas Tribune, Houston Public Media]
- Mark Zuckerberg’s trip to North Texas to testify in a lawsuit hasn’t stopped him from having a good time. He testified in an intellectual property lawsuit this week over the Oculus Rift that Facebook bought in 2014, The Dallas Morning News reports. Video game developer ZeniMax says that the virtual reality technology was based on work developed by Richardson-based Id Software, and the company is seeking $2 billion in damages. In the time spent off the stand, Zuckerberg has planted a garden in Oak Cliff, visited with Dallas police and went to the Fort Worth Stock Show and more. [The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, are both hospitalized in Houston. The 92-year-old former president was admitted Saturday to address "an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia," spokesman Jim McGrath said in a news release. Barbara was admitted to the hospital Wednesday morning as a precaution after experiencing coughing and fatigue, according to the news release. Last month, the couple announced they would not to attend the presidential inauguration Friday because of their age and health. Bush did write a letter to Trump saying he's sorry he'd miss the event. [The Texas Tribune, NPR]
- Rick Perry re-enters the political arena today with his Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing. When the former governor of Texas was tapped by President-elect Donald Trump last month to lead the Department of Energy, Perry was again reminded of his infamous “oops” moment. During a 2011 presidential debate, he forgot the name of the department, one of three he said he wanted to eliminate. The Texas Tribune reports: “That dig is indicative that there will be no room for error for Perry's image. But the odds for the real end game — confirmation — are stacked in his favor in a GOP-controlled U.S. Senate.” [The Texas Tribune]
- Longtime Texas Rangers catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez was voted into the baseball Hall of Fame Wednesday. Rodriguez spent 13 years of his 21-year career with the Rangers. The Associated Press reports: Rodriguez, the 52nd player elected in his first year of eligibility, joins Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers voted in on their first ballot. At 45, Rodriguez displaces Pedro Martinez as the youngest of the record 74 living Hall members. Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown in New York. [AP]
— Ivan Pudge Rodriguez (@Pudge_Rodriguez) January 18, 2017