Extreme heat knocks out power during one Texas news station's weather forecast
As temperatures over 100 degrees scorched the Houston area, one TV meteorologist had to think on the spot after the lights went out while he was live on the air.
In the middle of a segment on how the extreme, record-breaking heat across Texas could cause rolling blackouts in the Houston area, one TV meteorologist found himself in the middle of the story.
KTRK’S Travis Herzog was explaining how heat over major population centers, like those in Houston and surrounding areas, could cause rolling blackouts. Moments later, the station lights turned off as the station itself lost power due to the heat.
"One of our engineers informed me we went off the grid a little after 3 p.m.," Herzog said in a post on Twitter. "The studio lights aren't on a dedicated backup power source, so they went off as we switched generator power."
Despite the power being knocked out, Herzog kept reporting, informing local viewers about the intense heat. About two hours later, power was restored to the station during the middle of Herzog's forecast, causing the lights to turn off again as the station switched from generator power to being back on the grid.
"I learned last time I'm still on live TV, so here's the forecast," Herzog quipped while live on air. "Let there be light."
Most of Texas relies on ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, to supply businesses and households with power. About 90% of Texans, or more than 25 million people, get their power from ERCOT.
The agency has sometimes struggled to keep the lights on during both the intense heat and the extreme cold, with significant blackouts in the winter of 2021 causing 246 deaths, according to a report from Texas' Department of State Health Services.
Power lines are shown Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Houston. More than 4 million people in Texas still had no power a full day after historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created a surge of demand for electricity to warm up homes unaccustomed to such extreme lows, buckling the state's power grid and causing widespread blackouts. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Major blackouts have not occurred during the latest heat wave, with ERCOT sending push alerts to Texans' phones this past Monday and Wednesday asking them to conserve power.
"The heat wave that has settled on Texas and much of the central United States is driving increased electric use," ERCOT said in a press release. "While solar power is generally reaching near-full generation capacity, wind generation is currently generating significantly less than what it historically generated in this time period."
ERCOT told AccuWeather's Bill Waddell that no conservation alerts were sent out Tuesday, due in part to "much better" wind power generation.
In Houston, temperatures rose above 100 degrees Fahrenheit every day from July 8-14. Triple-digit heat is expected to return to the city early next week as some of the hottest weather of the year builds across the High Plains.
The extreme heat in Texas is accompanied by and aided by a widespread drought. Drought conditions allow more energy from the sun to heat the air, resulting in higher temperatures.
In Dallas, the city is in the throes of an extended dry spell amid the extreme heat and, this past week, reached 42 days without measurable rainfall. Temperatures rose above 100 degrees for 11 straight days from July 3rd through the 13th. While temperatures stopped short of that mark on Thursday and Friday, temperatures once again hit triple-digits on Saturday. AccuWeather forecasters say no lasting relief in the heat is on the horizon, with highs above 100 forecast most days through the first week in August.
In San Antonio, temperatures are similarly extreme. Highs had reached at or over 100 for two weeks in a row, which ended on Friday when the city hit a high of 97 degrees. A pocket of cool air from spotty thunderstorms on Thursday evening helped break the streak.
Want next-level safety, ad-free? Unlock advanced, hyperlocal severe weather alerts when you subscribe to Premium+ on the AccuWeather app. AccuWeather Alerts™ are prompted by our expert meteorologists who monitor and analyze dangerous weather risks 24/7 to keep you and your family safer.Report a Typo
Top StoriesMore Stories
Featured TopicYour Local Asthma Forecast