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Posted: 4/18/2006 3:59:38 AM EST
WTF happened to Spring?

Damn you George W. Bush!!
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:00:48 AM EST
Great, just great...

Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:03:25 AM EST
TXU is predicting another round of rolling blackouts today.....3PM until 7PM. Don't use your dishwasher, OK?
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:05:31 AM EST
My air conditioner's been running non-stop for the last two weeks.

Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:10:23 AM EST
i hate hot weather
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:13:15 AM EST
About 4 or 5 pm make sure you lay on you black car without a shirt
When I lived in Irving ( North Irving off Macarthur and 635) and worked in Carrolton, My P/U would get so hot after work we'd fry an egg in the bed for shits and giggles. It was black. Bedliner was better than teflon for non stick
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:21:21 AM EST
It was 100 or so in Austin yesterday. The weather girls are figuring about 94 for today. Meanwhile the Ross ice shelf is thickening. Go figure. Yep, sure sounds like Bush is behind it.
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:24:48 AM EST
It is supposed to be about 70 here.
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:24:59 AM EST
More blackouts possible today

Sweltering summer could be in store for Texas

07:59 AM CDT on Tuesday, April 18, 2006

By MICHAEL E. YOUNG / The Dallas Morning News

With the prospect of another day of record heat, the state's power suppliers urged North Texas residents to cut down on their electricity usage and pushed to get power flowing from some plants that had been idled for maintenance.

April's unexpected warm-up sent temperatures surging to 101 degrees Monday in Dallas, rewriting weather records, triggering rolling electric blackouts and offering an early taste of what could be a hot, dry summer even by Texas standards. The National Weather Service is expecting a high of 100 in Dallas again on Tuesday, though WFAA-TV (Channel 8) chief forecaster Troy Dungan said a cool front arriving Wednesday morning should push temperatures down to the upper 70s and low 80s later this week and maybe bring some showers into the weekend.

[Click image for a larger version] JIM MAHONEY/DMN
Julie Moore of Dallas seeks out some shade at Pioneer Plaza in Dallas.

So many air conditioners pumped out so much cool air across the sweltering state Monday that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas – or ERCOT, which oversees and regulates power production – ordered utility companies to begin shutting off power to sections of their power grids on a rotating basis.

Dallas, Houston and Austin were affected by the rolling 15-minute blackouts.

"With the temperatures as high as they are, there's a lot of demand on the system. It's an emergency situation at ERCOT," said Carol Peters, a spokeswoman for TXU Electric Delivery. "This is a planned procedure in response to an emergency."

As much as 15 percent of the state's power supply was already off line for seasonal maintenance to brace for the summer's energy usage peaks, but four power generating plants also shut down unexpectedly, said ERCOT spokesman Paul Wattles.

"We've also started calling some generators already down for maintenance and some may be able to get up in 36 hours," Wattles said.

Why is it warmer than normal? (.pdf)

WFAA D-FW forecast and radars

Tell Us: Were you affected by the rolling blackouts?

Water IQ: Learn more about water conservation

Monday's outages began about 4:30 p.m., but within two hours, the crisis had passed and ERCOT halted the rolling blackouts.

Besides setting a record high temperature for the date, easily eclipsing the old record of 94 set in 1913 and equaled in 1925, Monday's high of 101 at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport broke the record for the hottest-ever April temperature.

It also marked the third earliest 100-degree day in the books and shattered the daily record for electrical consumption across most of Texas.

Several factors raised temperatures Monday.

"We've got a layer of warm air overlaying the area, sitting about a mile up," said Dan Shoemaker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

"That's the same thing that stops thunderstorms from forming. It's so warm above us that the sun doesn't have to warm it. Instead, the sun's energy warms things closer to the surface."

The low-pressure systems that triggered tornadoes across the northern and central plains have pulled warm air north from the Gulf of Mexico and the Mexican deserts, further raising Texas temperatures, Mr. Shoemaker said.

Monday's heat contributed to the electrical shortages. But so did the time of year.

"In March and April, we actually have a lot of generating equipment out of service for maintenance because it's usually cool this time of year," ERCOT spokeswoman Dottie Roark said. "Now we're getting close to needing the electricity we have available."

TXU began cutting power for 15 minutes at a time in pre-designated North Texas areas, company officials said.

Critical customers, such as hospitals and nursing homes, were excluded from the blackouts.

Traffic lights at many intersections stopped working, but no major accidents were reported.

DART rail operators carrying rush-hour commuters were caught by surprise.

"They are truly rolling and random," DART spokesman Morgan Lyons said of the blackouts. "It's affected our signals system, but not our propulsion system."

Mr. Lyons said operators worked the switches manually and were able to continue service. Commuters were delayed up to a half-hour.

To prepare for any possible outages today, DART will place generators at key locations to power signals.

ERCOT was checking to see what additional capacity could be tapped today to prevent further outages.

Ms. Roark said ERCOT's chief operating officer, Sam Jones, was cautiously optimistic.

"He's saying we should be OK ... [today] barring unforeseen circumstances," she said.

But TXU Electric Delivery said consumers could help alleviate the strain on capacity.

"We aren't calling for voluntary reductions in use, but try to use electricity in moderation," Ms. Peters said. "Use just what you need."

Electricity demand in April rarely exceeds 40,000 megawatts, Ms. Roark said. But demand since Friday has been high, topping out Monday at more than 50,000 megawatts.

At the peak of the rolling outages, TXU Electric Delivery reduced its load by 380 megawatts, which is about equal to the energy needed to power 79,800 homes.

If the demand far exceeds supply capabilities and rolling blackouts are not used, "The system would start shutting down," Ms. Peters said. "You couldn't have power the next day. The equipment would be damaged."

Oak Lawn was one of many neighborhoods in the area that saw swaths of homes and businesses go dark.

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service in the 4000 block of Lemmon Avenue had to go a while without power – on tax deadline day no less. "When it went out, it was only for about 10 minutes," office supervisor Khrista Cartwright said.

But other Jackson Hewitt locations in the Dallas area weren't as fortunate and had to delay service or refer customers to other locations.

Many people didn't know what to think when the lights went out. Because of construction in the area, few suspected the weather had caused the outages.

Ms. Cartwright said it was strange to see shops on the other side of the street going about their business, with their lights still on.

Mike Arroyos, who was driving on Lemmon Avenue near King's Road when the power went out, said he was nearly in a collision when the traffic lights stopped working.

He too suspected that a construction crew had cut a line but learned later the weather was to blame.

"If this is April 17, what the hell are they going to be doing on Aug. 17?" he said.

In fact, meteorologists say, the summer could be a challenging one.

Water temperatures in the far-off western Pacific indicate a La Niña weather pattern, "and that usually means a warmer than usual and drier than usual summer for us," Mr. Shoemaker said.

"Drier than normal means the drought is expected to continue," he said.

With North Texas lake levels already well below normal, water restrictions seem likely this summer, said Jim Parks, executive director of North Texas Municipal Water District, which provides water for 1.5 million people in 60 area cities.

The district declared Stage 2 drought conditions in January, calling for voluntary conservation. But officials say a Stage 3 drought is likely by summer, with mandatory water restrictions, including a ban on watering lawns from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and watering limits of 1 inch a week.

For the short term, an expected change in the weather could make conservation a bit easier.

"We should be cooler beginning Wednesday when that cold front passes through," Mr. Shoemaker said. "And beginning Thursday and running through the weekend, there's a decent chance of rain off and on.

"We have a front dropping down that will stall over North Texas, and that's a focus point for rain. We'll be seeing more unsettled weather."

Forecasters don't expect much severe weather with the cooler temperatures. But it's springtime, so it's best to be prepared.

"We don't see any major patterns developing," Mr. Shoemaker said, "but you can never rule out a spring storm putting down some hail."

Staff writers Holly Yan and Jon Nielsen and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

E-mail myoung@dallasnews.com

• Because the air conditioner is usually the largest energy user in your home, limiting its use will have the most effect on your bills.

• Set the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Each degree below 78 degrees means more energy use and a higher air conditioning bill. Turn the air conditioner off when you go on vacation.

• Use a programmable thermostat.

• If you have a fireplace, keep the damper tightly closed when not in use. A glass fire screen can help minimize the loss of cool air.

• Be sure you check your air-conditioning filter at least once a month and clean or replace it if it's dirty.

• If a room air conditioner has a fresh air intake or exhaust vent, keep the vent closed.

• Make sure the weather stripping around doors and windows is in good condition. Replace it if necessary.

• For energy savings, set the fan switch on a central system or room air conditioner on "automatic" instead of "on" or "continuous."

• Keep blinds or draperies closed on sunny days to help keep out heat. This is especially important on windows or glass doors receiving direct sunlight.

• Keep doors and windows closed when the air conditioning is on.

• Run washing machines, clothes dryers and dishwashers with a full load.

• Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.

• Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher's drying cycle.

• Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use.

• Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use. (TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power.)

• Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120 degrees.

• Take short showers instead of baths.

• Clean air vents and make sure they're not blocked by furniture, carpeting or drapes.

• Turn off kitchen, bath and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are finished cooking or bathing.

• Do not set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling.

• Don't place lamps or TV sets near your thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.

Long-term energy-efficiency improvements

• Conduct a "Home Energy Audit" to determine specific household conservation needs. To find out how, access the U.S. Department of Energy Web site at www.eere.energy.gov.

• Check to see whether your attic and basement have adequate insulation.

• Check the heating system and replace old, outdated appliances with energy-efficient natural-gas models. When buying new appliances, compare energy efficiency ratings and annual operating costs.

• Install storm or thermal windows and doors or double-paned glass.

• Plant trees or shrubs to shade air-conditioning units but not to block the airflow.

• Consider installing a whole-house fan.

Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/041806dnbusblackouts.45a4a249.html

Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:28:30 AM EST
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:32:29 AM EST
Only 101? Tell me when it gets hot.
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:39:44 AM EST
It is snowing here.

Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:41:57 AM EST
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:46:35 AM EST
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:48:57 AM EST

Originally Posted By lordtrader:

Originally Posted By NME:
My air conditioner's been running non-stop for the last two weeks.

Dang!!! I ran my AC for the first time for 3hrs last night. I LOOVVVEEESSS THE HEAT!!!

Not me, I hate Texas weather.
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:53:17 AM EST

Originally Posted By Gunner1X:
WTF happened to Spring?

Damn you George W. Bush!!

Yes, if only Al Gore or John Kerry were elected instead of George W Bush. It would be spring all the time and every one would love us! Well at least the press wouldn’t report that it was their fault. We are defiantly going threw a warming trend. The planet goes threw warming and cooling trends, it did this before George W Bush it will do so after he’s dead. Unless he has omnipotent powers as the liberals claim.

Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:55:15 AM EST
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 4:55:53 AM EST

Originally Posted By dolanp:

Yeah, I live in Dallas for 6 months starting in July, when its 100ºF, it's equivalent to 110-115ºF in Los Angeles, extremely uncomfortable.
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 5:00:34 AM EST

Originally Posted By 82ndAbn:
It's nearly time to take the Christmas decorations down.

You too?

Link Posted: 4/18/2006 5:11:41 AM EST

Originally Posted By markmars:

Originally Posted By Gunner1X:
WTF happened to Spring?

Damn you George W. Bush!!

Yes, if only Al Gore or John Kerry were elected instead of George W Bush. It would be spring all the time and every one would love us! Well at least the press wouldn’t report that it was their fault. We are defiantly going threw a warming trend. The planet goes threw warming and cooling trends, it did this before George W Bush it will do so after he’s dead. Unless he has omnipotent powers as the liberals claim.

We had a hot spring in Texas a few years ago and it wasn't considered a big deal. As I recall, about 20 days straight of triple digits. I have also heard that we are overdue for a mini-iceage. What concerns me most is why "five" is a four letter word.
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 10:47:28 AM EST
Spring has been slow to start up here, and parts of the midwest have also had a cold spring.
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 10:49:21 AM EST
It doesn't seem as warm in El Paso today as it was yesterday.
Link Posted: 4/18/2006 11:09:42 AM EST
Fuck this city, Im going to the lake. Its cool there...
Link Posted: 4/19/2006 5:00:44 AM EST
Another perfect sunny 70 degree day here.

Link Posted: 4/19/2006 5:02:04 AM EST
34 degrees here today

Best weather there is
Link Posted: 4/19/2006 5:03:02 AM EST
High today is suppose to be 77.
Link Posted: 4/19/2006 5:09:55 AM EST
Link Posted: 4/19/2006 5:11:58 AM EST
Holy FUCK!

how the hell do you people live down there?
Link Posted: 4/19/2006 5:14:36 AM EST

Originally Posted By 82ndAbn:

Originally Posted By ALLANJ:
High today is suppose to be 77.

I thought you lived in Arlington. I just heard 84 degrees for a high today.

The turd on channel 4 said 77.
Link Posted: 4/19/2006 5:25:35 AM EST
Beautiful 62 degrees here in NY, with a light breeze to boot!
Link Posted: 4/19/2006 5:34:51 AM EST
Link Posted: 4/19/2006 6:17:33 AM EST

Originally Posted By lordtrader:
Was cold this mornign. I had to turn the heater on in the car and wear a jacket. SERIOUSLY!!!

And thus, ladies and gentlemen, the pussification of America continues to grow.

People think we are bullshiting them when we say stuff like , "If you dont like Texas weather, wait a few miutes, it'll change.".

LT, you do realize this is golfing weather, dont you?
Link Posted: 4/19/2006 9:06:38 AM EST
Link Posted: 4/19/2006 9:47:54 AM EST
how about early or late Sunday?
Link Posted: 4/19/2006 9:58:49 AM EST
Hell, I lived in Texas before there was air conditioning. Nobody whined then.
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