Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Update on the Texas Drought


Update on Texas Drought
April 2, 2012

The Fading Influence of Electrical Power


We are getting some rain, but it is just enough to replace our usage.  We are not gaining on the severe shortage.  Most people are not aware that 25% of our water goes to producing electricity.  It is used to cool the high speed turbines which are efficient at high speeds.  Even though these steam driven turbines have been refined over decades, they frequently run too fast, heat up rapidly, and if not cooled with thousands of gallons of water immediately, they tare themselves up (translation: explode and take the building and some people with them).  So, there can be scrimping on water for electrical generation.  Therefore, production will be cut back for safety when we get just a bit lower in our reserves.  A little less reserves and the process with be shut down completely.  With an early summer that everyone in the weather business predicts, and much hotter temperatures than last summers record breaking heat with  highs 115-120, up from 105-110, we will have little or no (mostly no) air conditioning.Texans have had everything air conditioned for a generation, so we have lost our biological adaptability to such heat.  I am a physician, and I can tell you that MANY frail people, especially the elderly who have lost through aging and medication their ability to physiologically compensate for indoor temperatures over 90-100 degrees, will perish.  The medical systems in all major Texas cities will be totally overwhelmed by  at least 10 times the volume of people suffering from heat stress and heat stroke---even though they have been INDOORS.  The enormity of this part of this catastrophe is just now coming into focus by the few people willing and courageous enough to even look at the implications of the scenario.  As far as I know, no organizations are yet making any plans to cope with situation because they are so  paralyzed with fear.  The state government is less that helpful, as our insightful Governor, Rick Perry, hasn't even declared the situation an "Emergency" which would open our substantial "Rainy Day Fund".  I guess if it doesn't rain, it can't possibly qualify for a "rainey" day fund.  That would be funny, if hundreds of thousands of lives were not at stake.  Gov. Perry is no better at recognizing obvious needs of the people he vowed to serve, than he is at debating on live television.  There are a lot of Texans wondering out loud: "Why was it  that we elected him FOUR times???"