Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snowmen and Cactus - No Place But Texas!

(and a really cold kitty)

So, what is happening to Texas? It is Super Bowl Week, why is it so cold there? Hmmm, maybe because it's February? Granted it is Texas, we can be 100 degrees on February 2nd but many years February 6th brought an ice storm. In Fort Worth, we have not risen above 25 degrees F all week. Normal high is 57 degrees F.

This year, we are experiencing a record length of record cold and now Texas is experiencing rolling black-outs. The local media is all over the news story, gathering as little information possible before complaining that all the energy is being sucked up by Cowboy Stadium and Super Bowl activities instead of heating homes. Immediately, there is outrage and something must be done.

Time passed and facts begin to surface. Our little electric grid here in Texas, run by ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas), was down 50 power generating units on Wednesday, reducing power to Texans by 7000 Megawatts (source). Local electric power companies, in an effort to avoid the carnage that happened on the East Coast when their grid went down a few years ago, followed ERCOT's direction to begin rolling black-outs. The rolling black-outs were to only last 15 minutes at a time. Some cities/communities being served by a generating plant affected by the weather may have suffered longer in the process of being switched over to the functional part of the grid.

In Fort Worth, ice and snow on the ground, we have not risen above 25 degrees F all week, wind chills are double digit below zero. (Normal range is 57 for the high and 36 for the low.) With wind gusts up to 49 mph at times and record cold, everyone has cranked up their heaters. Extra pressure on a crippled system does not spell conspiracy.

The 50 power plants in many ways were affected by this record cold period. In layman's terms, we are geared for 9 months of temperatures of 100+ degrees and plants are not acclimated to record setting cold periods. I am not an engineer but I have some inkling that things that are geared for 100 degrees are not as efficient at 0 (zero) degrees. I know I'm not.

So, what happened to "be prepared"? Can we not think of something other than Super Bowl and just remember there was that one winter back in 1980 something that was just as cold? Bundle up, snuggle with your sweetie. Spring is coming! (Well, right after the next snow storm scheduled for later tonight and Friday...) The 100 degree days will be here soon enough.

Texans, we are proud, we can take care of ourselves, we have our own electric grid. It seems we are a bit of a whiny bunch, to boot. (*)

12 comments:

Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens said...

That is great commentary. People do seem to latch onto the easiest and most controversial explanation and run with it because they enjoy feeling indignant (or at least I think they do). You have called their bluff.

lemonverbenalady said...

Well, you can just blame the weather on two cold weather teams being in the Super Bowl! Our outside kitties look just like that as well! Stay warm, TG!

Tamara Jansen said...

You guys have worse weather than we do!!

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

When did you move to FW? From where? I'm sure our Super Bowl teams feel right at home here this week! I grew up in Wisconsin, so Go Pack Go!! Thanks for visiting my blog :-) I saw your greenhouse post, too. That did not look like a lot of fun! I just went outside to look around, and I am a little concerned about a few of my plants. Everything I have is supposed to be cold hardy, but they sure look sad. My little greenhouse is not heated either, so I can see some unhappy plants in there, too. Not much I can do about it now. Just wait until the thaw comes on Saturday. Stay warm! Welcome to FW!

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

Do you know about Herrmann's Nursery in Fort Worth? You've gotta go! You will not find a better deal on plants anywhere!

lifeshighway said...

That may be the most miserable cat I have ever seen. He is not acclimated to the cold either.

Tufa Girl said...

Carolyn, I could not believe how all the media was going down the blame path so quickly with out finding out what was really happening.

LVL, all the players are complaining that is it so cold here. I guess they thought they were going to a tropical land.

Tamara, Diane Sawyer said on the news tonight that Texas is colder than Alaska.

Toni, I fear the worst. My plants are pretty much history. I guess I will be checking out Hermann's soon.

LH - we all look like that cat.

The Whimsical Gardener said...

Yes, it's plain crazy!! We are so accustomed to our 100 degree days but throw a few straight days of below freezing temps and we are downright whiny! I love your snowman amongst the cacti - that's a keeper!

creekside rummager said...

I'm really sorry about your plants TG. I was thinking about you today. I wish I could send you some of our weather - its' below freezing slightly at night, but really nice in the day. You probably didn't see my response to your message on my last blog post, but thanks for your kind words.

The Whimsical Gardener said...

Didn't take any offense about the whining...more likely directed at myself as I feel like all I've done lately is whine and I'm tired of hearing myself!! We're enjoying the snow day and sunshine! Hope you are too ;)

lifeshighway said...

I like the new look

Karen said...

I have to admit, I do better in the cold weather we are having than I'd EVER do in 100 degree weather! I'm acclimated to the cold and like it (plus, I'm carrying extra layers of protective, um, poundage with me that keeps me well-insulated.) I don't know how people handle the high temperatures. Maybe once the Super Bowl frenzy dies down things will get back to normal for Texas, too.