Smith County Sees First Triple-Digit Day Of 2012
For the past 30 years, Clemente Lopez has worked outside jobs -- first in construction, now as a concrete finisher.
On Monday, the 54-year-old Tyler resident, shoveled dirt and laid down wooden frames with about eight other men as they prepared for concrete to be poured near the guardrails along a new segment of Toll 49.
As the sun beat down, Lopez, who was wearing a long-sleeve shirt, jeans, and boots, said he's grown accustomed to the heat.
"I already (got) used to it, but it's hard," he said, adding he doesn't have a special trick to make it more tolerable.
"Drink a lot of water, that's it," he said.
On Monday, the Tyler temperature hit 101 degrees, hitting and exceeding the 100-degree mark for the first time this year. Lufkin tied a record for the date reaching 103 degrees. Longview and Nacogdoches saw temperatures reach 102 degrees.
KYTX CBS 19 chief meteorologist John Adams said the week is going to be hot and dry with 100-degree temperatures expected again today.
A cold front will move across the eastern part of the U.S. and the western side of that front could make its way into East Texas tonight, Adams said.
Temperatures are expected to be slightly cooler during the second half of the week staying in the 90s. Nighttime temperatures should dip to about 70 degrees.
Adams said the heat is coming on much later this year when compared with last year. He said in June 2011, Tyler had 15 days where it reached 100 degrees or more.
Thus far this year, the city officially hit 100 or higher for the first time Monday with five more days left this month.
Rainfall totals are significantly higher when compared with this time last year. From Jan. 1 through Monday of this year totals reached 19.35 inches compared with 12.60 inches by that date last year. This year's totals still fall more than 3 inches below normal, or 22.87 inches (a 30-year average).
Although drought is a threat, East Texas has had enough rain that it is not in a drought now. The area is considered "abnormally dry" by the National Weather Service, Adams said.
With temperatures expected to hit the triple digits for several days across the state, those in charge of much of the state's electrical grid were keeping a close eye.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, urged customers to conserve electricity especially during the peak hours from 3 to 7 p.m., according to a news release issued Friday.
ERCOT, which is the electrical grid operator for most of Texas, is closely watching anticipated electrical use and available electric generation, according to the news release.
The council expected peak electric demand to exceed 65,000 megawatts Monday and today, but anticipated having enough electric generation resources to meet that demand without issuing an Energy Emergency Alert.
Last summer, ERCOT issued Energy Emergency Alerts on seven days, one in June and six in August. The alert procedures are a progressive series of steps that allow the council to bring on power from other grids if available, according to the ERCOT website.
The council never had to conduct rotating outages last summer thanks in large part to the public's conservation efforts, according to ERCOT.
Adams said it's too early to say what the rest of the summer will hold as far as temperatures. However for those who have to work or choose to play outside, the territory comes with its own risks.
Timothy Jones, 16, a John Tyler High School junior, was among a group of people playing basketball at Tyler's City Park Monday afternoon.
He said he and his friends play for about four hours every day, though they make sure to play on the shady side of the court. He said the heat hasn't really affected him.
"I feel a little drowsy," he said. "I need some water; I'm hanging though."
Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Larry Krantz, who was driving on Toll 49 Monday, said for those working outside the elements are just as much a consideration as the traffic.
However, he said, they are taught to keep an eye on their peers as they work outside and to take breaks when they can.
He said safety training also helps employees learn about how to manage the heat.
"It's something that you got to have a respect for, but you can't dwell on," Krantz said. "You got to be able to work."