Breckenridge Texan

Breckenridge under heat warning; Texans urged to conserve energy this afternoon and evening

Breckenridge under heat warning; Texans urged to conserve energy this afternoon and evening
June 20
16:13 2023

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

According to the National Weather Service, the temperature at the Stephens County Airport hit 110 degrees at 2:35 p.m. today, June 20, making the “Excessive Heat Warning” blatantly obvious. And, with Wednesday’s high forecast for 100 degrees, the heat warning is expected to be in place through 8 p.m. June 21.

As cities across the state are opening cooling stations for residents who may not have access to air conditioning, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, aka ERCOT, is asking Texans to conserve energy this afternoon due to the extreme temperatures and forecasted record demand for electricity.

The NWS issued the heat warning due to the dangerously hot conditions with expected heat index values of 110- 120. The “heat index value” is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature. It’s basically the heat version of the wind chill factor, offering an idea of how hot the air temperature feels to humans. Similar warnings are in place across the state.

Area residents are advised to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Keep in mind, a heat stroke is an emergency. Call 9-1-1 if you or anyone you know is showing signs of a heat stroke.

The forecast is for an overnight low of 78 degrees and a high on Wednesday of 100. After that, the temperatures cool off slightly; Thursday’s forecast is for a high of 94, and Friday’s high is expeted to be 100 degrees. But, then the triple digits return with 100+ temperatures predicted every day through at least July 4.

Voluntary Conservation Request

ERCOT is asking Texans to voluntarily reduce electricity use, if safe to do so, due to extreme temperatures and forecasted record demand, according to a news release from the nonprofit corporation that is overseen by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. The Voluntary Conservation Notice is in effect Tuesday, June 20, from 4 to 8 p.m., as part of ERCOT’s Texas Advisory and Notification System (TXANS), alerting the public of grid conditions. Last week, ERCOT issued a Weather Watch from June 15-21 due to increased temperature and high demand.

ERCOT is requesting all government agencies (including city and county offices) to implement all programs to reduce energy use at their facilities.

According to the news release, ERCOT is not experiencing emergency conditions. Voluntary conservation is a widely used industry tool that can help lower demand for a specific period of peak demand time, which is typically late afternoon into the evening hours.

Yesterday, ERCOT broke the June peak demand record, unofficially, with 79,304 MW, passing last June’s record of 76,718 MW. Last summer, ERCOT set 11 new peak demand records. The current all-time record of 80,148 MW was set on July 20, 2022.

ERCOT is using additional tools to manage the grid reliably, including using reserve power, calling upon reductions by large electric customers that have volunteered to lower their energy use, and bringing more generation online sooner.

If you are experiencing an outage, it is local in nature and not related to overall grid reliability, ERCOT says and recommends that you check with your local electric provider for more information.

Energy-saving tips can be found at

Why the Need to Reduce Usage?
  • Extreme Heat. Much of Texas is seeing very high temperatures for an extended period.
  • Record Demand. Texas is seeing record demand due to the heat.
  • Thermal Outages. Forced thermal generation power plant outages are higher than normal.
  • Solar. Solar generation declines into the evening hours, before completely going offline at sunset.
  • Wind. Low wind generation compared to historic performance during summer peak.
Consumer Assistance
  • Public Utility Commission of Texas Hotline: 1-888-782-8477
Stay Updated
  • Sign up for TXANS notifications on the  ERCOT mailing list.
  • Download our app (available through the Apple Store or Google Play)
  • Monitor current and extended conditions on our website at
  • Follow ERCOT on Twitter (@ERCOT_ISO) and Facebook (Electric Reliability Council of Texas).
  • Subscribe to ERCOT EmergencyAlerts, which are not sent through TXANS, and are only sent under emergency conditions.

Preventing Hot Car Deaths

Already this year, one Texas child and seven other U.S. children have died in hot cars. According to the National Safety Council, Texas has more hot car deaths than any other state. In fact, according to their numbers, Texas has more that 30 percent more hot car deaths than the next highest state. Since 1998, Texas has had 140 such deaths. The next closest state is Florida with 107 deaths.

According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, hyperthermia, heatstroke, or hot car deaths are terms that describe the condition in which a body gets so hot that it can no longer cool itself. Children and the elderly left alone in cars, even when the temperature is only 60 degrees, can overheat in minutes. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), once a body’s temperature reaches 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down.

Facts about hot cars and heat stroke
  • Heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths in children younger than age 15.
  • A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s does.
  • Cars heat up quickly! In just 10 minutes, a car can heat up 20 degrees.
  • Cracking a window or air conditioning does little to keep the car cool once it is turned off.

The top three circumstances in which children die in hot cars:

  • Child was forgotten by caregiver;
  • Child gained access on their own; and
  • Caregiver knowingly left the child in the car.
Texas Law

Leaving a Child in a Vehicle (Penal Code Chapter 22.10) – A person commits an offense if he (or she) intentionally or knowingly leaves a child in a motor vehicle for longer than five minutes knowing that the child is younger than age 7; and/or not attended by an individual in the vehicle who is age 14 or older.

Tips for caregivers

The Texas Health Department offers the following tips for caregivers to make sure children are safe during this heat wave:

  • Teach children not to play in or around cars.
  • Never leave a child unattended in or around a car – Make a habit of looking in the front and back seat of the car before locking the door and walking away.
  • Never assume it can’t happen to you or your child – A change in routine or busy schedule can cause a caregiver to forget that a child is still in the car.
  • If a child goes missing, check the pool and water sources first, then check vehicles, including trunks.
  • If you see an unattended child in or around a car, call 911.

For more information and parent resources, visit


Cutline, top photo: The sign at Clear Fork Bank not only shows today’s hot temperatures but also alerts local residents to the heat advisory that has been issued for most of Texas, including Breckenridge and Stephens County. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)



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