heat

Weather
9:30 am
Tue June 11, 2013

When Will Austin Reach its First Triple Digit Day?

More rainfall earlier this year should mean 2013 sees (hopefully) fewer triple digit days.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Today marks the anniversary of Austin’s first 100-degree day in 2012, but Austinites have yet to face temperatures in the triple digits this year.

If current weather patterns continue, Austin may only experience a few 100-degree days this summer. That’s according to Cory Van Pelt, a forecaster with the National Weather Service for Austin/San Antonio.

Read more
Business
11:04 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Mid-Week Holiday Hurts Worker Productivity

Wednesday's Fourth of July holiday may cause the rest of the week to fizzle, productivity-wise.
flickr.com/rampant.gaffer

Firing up the grill? Don’t expect to be fired up at work.

With this year's Fourth of July holiday falling on a Wednesday, many workers are taking vacations in addition to the mid-week day off. Though summer vacations are commonplace, the quantity of workers taking off at the same time could spell trouble for some companies.

But John Challenger, CEO of global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, told KUHF that not all companies will be hurt.

“For a busy company, there’s just the risk that they can’t produce the same amount worker-hours they need to provide a high quality service or product," he said. "For companies that are in a slowdown, it’s probably not a bad idea to get their vacations loaded up at the same time.”

Read more
Texas
1:16 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

City, State Energy Conservation Varies by Department

City of Austin employees are notified when demand for energy is high and are encouraged to take steps to reduce use.
Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Triple-digit heat is putting pressure on the state’s electrical system. Texas set a record yesterday for peak demand during the month of June. Officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas are asking everyone to reduce electricity use from 3 to 7 p.m. That means turning up your thermostat by a couple of degrees and avoiding use of large appliances during those hours.

The City of Austin and the State of Texas are some of the largest energy users in the city.

Carlos Cordova is with Austin Energy. He says the city relies on Austin’s Energy’s Load Cooperative program for alerts about peak usage and to track incentives for reducing use.

Read more
AM Update 6/26/12
8:41 am
Tue June 26, 2012

AM Update: Record Electric Demand, Child Car Safety, New Tar Sands Pipeline

The ERCOT grid control center. ERCOT saw record demand for June.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Electricity Demand Hit New June Record Yesterday

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for most of Texas, reported hitting a new June record for peak electric demand Monday. Electricity use peaked from 4-5 p.m., when 65,047 megawatts were needed.

A previous record occurred last June, when 63,102 megawatts were used. ERCOT’s all-time peak demand, at 68,379 megawatts, occurred last August.

Triple digit temperatures are forecast for the remainder of the week in Austin. 

Read more
Education
12:24 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

AISD Offices Operating on Summer Schedule

AISD Headquarters and other offices will be operating on a four-day week starting today.
KUT News

A temporary schedule change for Austin ISD schools and offices goes into effect today. AISD says the change is an effort to cut energy usage this summer.

Starting today and running through July 27, AISD offices will be closed on Fridays. Employees will work 10-hour days Monday through Thursday. Office hours will be 7 a.m to 6 p.m.

Schools and offices will be completely closed the week of July 2.

Read more
Environment
5:07 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Texas Named the Ninth Fastest-Warming State

KUT News

Are those Texas summers feeling increasingly warmer? Don't worry, it's not just you. 

According to a report released today by the Climate Central research group, Texas is ranked as the 9th Fastest Warming State, with average state temperatures increasing at a rate of .575 degrees Fahrenheit per decade. The survey was based on temperatures in the continental United States between 1912 and 2011. 

Though the increase might not seem huge, the Southwest, including Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, is the fastest warming region in the country.  

"That'll translate into increased wildfire risk, make droughts more severe because of the increased heat, and have lots of other adverse effects on the region," said Richard Wiles from Climate Central.  

Read more
Austin
4:00 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

How the Homeless Deal With the Heat in Austin

KUT News

As the Texas heat rolls in, some local organizations are trying to figure out how to help the elderly and homeless weather extreme temperatures. 

“Water shouldn’t be a luxury,” says Steve Luteran, Executive Director of Front Steps, which provides assistance for the homeless. “Hydration is a fundamental need of the human body. Without it, Austin’s homeless face heat exhaustion, stroke and permanently disabling conditions.”

Front Steps will begin distributing roughly 76,000 bottles of water to the homeless on Wednesday.

And what of the elderly? Family Eldercare has a different method to help them stay cool. They’re planning to deliver around 7,000 fans and 100 air-conditioners to individuals and families in need. 

Read more
Environment
3:41 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

ERCOT Predicts No Power Outages This Summer

The scene in the ERCOT control room.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Since its creation in 1970, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has experienced blackouts (or in its vocabulary, rolling outages,) only three times. With the majority of that burden falling on residential properties, the community has cause for interest – but not concern – according to ERCOT’s leaders.

“We don’t expect this summer to have to resort to rotating outages,” said ERCOT Director of System Planning Warren Lasher. But, he says, “if we have another summer like 2011, the most extreme summer we’ve experienced, then we’re likely to have at least one day in which we start running short on reserves.”

Reserves are generators dedicated to picking up the slack when other generators fail, or when there is a greater electrical demand. ERCOT has enough reserves to generate over 3,000 megawatts (MW). To put that in perspective, one megawatt of electricity can power about 200 Texas homes during the hottest day of the year. Overall, ERCOT has a 74,000 MW capacity.

Read more
Texas
1:33 pm
Fri September 2, 2011

Gulf Coast Braces For Major Drenching

A satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed the tropical low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday.
AP

Originally published on Fri September 2, 2011 5:00 pm

A slow-moving depression strengthened into a tropical storm as it slogged toward the Gulf Coast on Friday, packing walloping rains that could drench the region with up to 20 inches.

Tropical Storm Lee, the 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, was moving northwest at just 2 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The storm's center is expected to approach the Louisiana coast over the weekend.

Read more
texas
8:51 am
Thu September 1, 2011

Texas Wildfire's New Path Helping Firefighters

Originally published on Thu September 1, 2011 7:12 am

A wind-whipped wildfire that destroyed more than three dozen cliff-top homes in North Texas was expected to burn through most of the tinder-dry trees and shrubs in its path by daybreak Thursday, helping firefighters contain the late-summer blaze during the state's severe and seemingly endless fire season.

Read more
News Brief
6:07 am
Mon August 29, 2011

Top Morning Stories August 29, 2011

Sunday's high temperature of 112 tied Austin's hottest temperature ever since record keeping began.
Photo by KUT News.

Austin Ties for Hottest Temperature

How did you stay cool yesterday? Austin tied the highest temperature it has ever seen Sunday. The high of 112 at Camp Mabry tied the record set in September 2000. Central Texas is under a heat advisory until nine tonight.  Highs today are expected to be near 107. YNN Meteorologist Adam Krueger has more on the historic heat in his weather blog.

Read more
heat
4:09 pm
Wed August 24, 2011

Cold Jobs: Ice Resurfacer

With Austin shattering the record for triple digit days in a single year, we wondered what it was like to work in some of the coldest jobs in Austin. KUT photography intern Daniel Reese produced this video on ice resurfacer Brandon Brewer with Chaparral Ice.

heat
4:02 pm
Wed August 24, 2011

Cold Jobs: Ice Scuplting

With Austin shattering the record for triple digit days in a single year, we wondered what it was like to work in some of the coldest jobs in Austin. KUT photography intern Daniel Reese produced this video on ice sculptor Doug Christy of Amazing Ice Designs.

heat
3:56 pm
Wed August 24, 2011

Austin Breaks Record For Number of Triple Digit Days

The temperatures in Austin around 4 p.m.
Image courtesy National Weather Service

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.”

Read more
Texas
4:57 pm
Tue August 23, 2011

ERCOT Delcares Level One Energy Emergency

Photo by Jessica Wang for KUT News.

Texans are being asked to conserve electricity as the The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) saw its operating reserves dropped below 2,300 megawatts due to the extreme heat.

“We are asking Texas residents and businesses to reduce their electricity use until 7 p.m. today,” ERCOT vice president Kent Saathoff said in a press release.  “We don’t expect to need additional steps in the emergency procedures today unless we lose a significant amount of generation over the peak period.”

Later, in a conference call with reporters, Saathoff suggested that students returning to school this week might have contributed to an increase in power consumption as districts turned on lights and turned down A/C systems.

Read more
Environment
1:16 pm
Fri August 12, 2011

Drought Leads to a Rise In Animal Bites

Kelly Conrad Bender, an urban wildlife biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife, shows off a Mexican Milk snake. Bender discussed the issues involving the drought and wild animal bites at the University Medical Center at Brakenridge.
Photo by Jessie Wang for KUT News

The number of venomous bites and stings has increased since last year as the drought sends snakes and other wild animals searching for food and water.

Kelly Conrad Bender, an urban wildlife biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife, came to the University Medical Center Brakenridge to explain the changes in wildlife.

“Wildlife, these individual animals, has not experienced this kind of drought, but their species has. They are the result of thousands of years of adaptation to our climate and these droughts do happen occasionally, maybe once every 50 to 100 years. So the species, given appropriate habitat and given a good balanced stable habitat, they will survive and they’ll come out stronger,” Bender said.

Read more
Texas
4:42 pm
Tue August 9, 2011

Texas Inmates Complain of Sweltering Prison Conditions

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

In letters from his prison cell at the McConnell Unit in Beeville, Susan Fenner’s son describes miserably hot and dangerous conditions. The temperature is more than 100 degrees outside, and the heat radiates through his tiny un-air conditioned box of a cell in administrative segregation.

“There’s not much circulation, and it’s just horrible,” said Fenner, who is executive director of the Texas Inmate Family Association.

Read more
Austin
5:01 pm
Fri August 5, 2011

Hot Jobs In The City

energy
5:43 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

Updated: ERCOT Lowers Energy Emergency Level

Photo by Jessie Wang for KUT News

Update at 5:40 p.m. The worst of today's energy emergency appears to be over. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has canceled the Level 2B Energy Emergency Alert. However, ERCOT is still at 2A, and is urging people to conserve electricity until 7 p.m.

Earlier: The state's energy regulator said in a Tweet moments ago that there is now a "high probability" of rolling blackouts across the state. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas escalated the Energy Emergency Alert to Level 2B, meaning energy reserves are below 1,750 megawatts and continuing to decline.

ERCOT declared Level 2A at around 2:30 p.m., which triggered large factories, mostly along the Gulf Coast, to power down their operations in a bid to preserve energy reserves. It's the first time since rolling blackouts in February that ERCOT had initiated a Level 2A alert.

Read more
Texas
3:30 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

Where To Find Outage Information If Blackouts Hit Austin

Austin Energy's Customer Outage Portal showed everything running as usual at 3:30 p.m.

Oppressive heat is helping to push Texas’ power grid to maximum capacity. Now the state’s grid operator has declared an Energy Emergency Level 2, which triggers some factories to power down voluntarily.

But with the peak hour of energy consumption still ahead – 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. -- you may be interested to know about Austin Energy’s Customer Outage Portal, should rolling blackouts occur.

Read more

Pages