heat
3:56 pm
Wed August 24, 2011

Austin Breaks Record For Number of Triple Digit Days

The sweltering heat in Texas has taken Austin past an important milestone: We have set a new record for the number of days with triple digit temperatures in a single year.

At 2:00 this afternoon, thermometers at Camp Mabry registered 100 degrees, making it the 70th time this year that has happened. It breaks the previous record of 69 days set in 1925.

“This is just one way to measure the absolute severity of the summer,” Lower Colorado River Authority meteorologist Bob Rose told KUT News. “We’ve had a lot of days at 99 as well, and they’ve felt every bit as hot.”

The heat is contributing to a shortage of electricity in Texas as air conditioning units struggle to keep buildings cool. Adding to the energy consumption this week is the return of students to schools and colleges, which has the state’s grid operator warning people to conserve power or risk rotating outages.

The heat is also intensifying the worst single-year drought in Texas history. Currently there are 796 public water systems on some form of drought restrictions, according to a presentation today by LCRA water services manager Suzanne Zarling. In June, that number was 194.

“The conditions have worsened significantly in the course of the summer,” Zarling said. “That’s in some part because of all the 100 degree days that we’ve had.”

The City of Austin is implementing Stage Two water restrictions in September. Pflugerville is doing it on Monday.

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