Thousands in Twin Cities still without power; relief from heat in sightgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Thousands in metro still without power; relief from heat in sight Ben Cohen Star Tribune Monday, August 6, 2001
The Twin Cities set a new temperature record today. At 4:15 p.m., the National Weather Service reported that the mercury hit 99 degrees, breaking the previous record of 97.
Today's weather shaped up as a continuation of the sweltering, steamy heat that tormented baseball fans, hospital patients, jail inmates, motorists and even those who planned to just take it easy at home on Sunday. But relief may arrive later this week.
"It looks like we'll get a break in the humidity. It will probably be in the 90s on Tuesday, but it'll be drier. So it won't seem so hot," said Chris Scott, meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen. "I don't expect to have a heat advisory [then]," he added.
The Twin Cities is setting the pace around the state: At 2 p.m., it was 96 in Shakopee, and 95 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. The heat-index, that's combining the temperature and the humidity, made it feel like 113 degrees in Anoka.
Shelter from the heat was hard to find in some of the 14,000 metro area customers served by Xcel Energy. The heat triggered power failures on Sunday, but repair crews restored power to more than two-thirds of those affected by midafternoon today, said spokeswoman Mary Sandok.
In south Minneapolis and in Hastings, the power failures affected about 2,500 customers in each locality. All were expected to be restored to full power by later today.
Elsewhere, the heat simply put too much stress on the system. Lakeland and Afton had power failures this morning from about 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.
"A line tripped out," said Sandok. Utility officials inspected the power network and found nothing wrong, she said, so they turned power back on. "That happens sometimes. We are going to keep an eye on it."
The heat is tough on machinery of all kinds.
The American Automobile Association in Minneapolis made just under 400 service calls by midafternoon, most of them tows, which take a lot of work compared to jump starts, says spokeswoman Dawn Duffy. "They're really busy right now," she said.
Under a hot Dome
An equipment failure at the downtown Hennepin County Energy Center forced the shut-down of the air conditioning about 11:30 a.m. Sunday at the Metrodome, the Hennepin County Medical Center, several county government offices and the county jail, said county public works spokesman Gary Erickson.
The temperature in the Dome topped out at 91 degrees around 4 p.m., during the Twins' 10-5 loss to Kansas City.
After Hennepin County Energy Center operators discovered a leak in a monitor that shows refrigerant levels, they shut down the cooling system for the sake of safety while a work-around repair was done.
The shutdown was necessary because leaking freon -- the new, environmentally friendly kind -- could have displaced oxygen and suffocated plant workers.
Officials expect the Dome to get its share of cool air Tuesday by game time, which is 7:05 p.m. Permanent repairs to the system should be completed by Wednesday, Erickson said.
Metro area forecast
Under a heat advisory today, the metro area forecast called for mostly sunny skies with high temperatures in the mid-90s by the end of the afternoon. Steamy air will contribute to a heat index -- how it feels -- of 110 degrees. Southwest winds of 5 to 10 mph will offer little relief.
Tonight's forecast calls for lows in the lower 70s under clear skies with a light wind.
On Tuesday, more of the same is expected. By Wednesday, the forecast calls for dry and hot conditions with a high of 95, and a chance of thunderstorms Wednesday night.
-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 06, 2001
Heat Stresses Power Grid
Scattered Outages Expected All Week Across The Twin Cities
MINNEAPOLIS, 5:03 p.m. CDT August 6, 2001 -- Heat stress hasn't only been affecting people in the Twin Cities, it continues to tax the metro-area power grid. A peak of 1,400 outages were reported Monday afternoon. Scattered power outages that have been hit-or-miss around the Twin Cities have continued since Sunday evening, leaving homes dark and without fans or air conditioning.
And Xcel Energy has a message few want to hear, which is to expect the scattered, localized outages all week.
A visible sign of the stress came at the Metrodome Sunday when the air conditioning went out, but that wasn't due to electricity. Instead, it was due to a Freon leak at a nearby air-conditioning plant, but it gave sweating fans a feel for what folks were going through in one Fridley neighborhood last night. A short stretch of one block suddenly found itself without power Sunday night, while homes one block over were fully powered. Power was restored shortly before noon Monday. At the height of outages Sunday night, nearly 15,000 customers scattered around the Twin Cities were without power. By noon, that number had been cut by two-thirds, WCCO 4 News reports.
The outages are caused by a combination of high demand for electricity wrought mainly by air conditioners and the heat itself causing stress on local junctions, the television station reports.
"One of the things that's obviously a concern in the heat is checking up on people (who) are shut-ins," Denny Branca, an Xcel Energy spokesman, told WCCO 4 News.
The time during which the system is most stressed is between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., which seems counterintuitive but explains why many of the outages happen during the evening.
While the temperature does begin to drop at that point, it's also when many people get back home and begin using electricity.
That also explains why Xcel is suggesting that people wait until late in the night or early in the morning to run home appliances.
The tremendous heat also stresses people and has doctors warning those who must be outside or are otherwise exposed to the heat be cautious and watch for warning signs of heat-related illness.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), August 06, 2001.
Makesme glad I bought a generator.
-- John Littmann (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 06, 2001.