Texas - Power blackout blamed on fog (?)

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(Wanted: The opinion of an objective power company electrician)

Barstow blackout blamed on pre-dawn fog

By ROSIE FLORES, Staff Writer

BALMORHEA, Jan. 17, 2000 - People all over the Pecos Valley were in a fog this morning, but residents of Barstow were also left in the dark for just under an hour early today due to the weather, according to Texas-New Mexico Power Company's West Texas Customer Relations Coordinator Mya Griffin.

At about 5:10 a.m., a blackout occurred throughout Barstow, with electricity remaining off until 6:09 a.m.

"They went out there as soon as possible," said Griffin. "The blackout was related to the heavy fog in this area," she said. A heavy fog cut visibility in Pecos to under a block at sunrise today, and the fog cover remained in the area until about 11 a.m. Griffin stated that the heavy fog, mixed with the dust in the West Texas area, create a flashover, which is what caused the blackout. "Apparently the moisture from the fog mixes with the dust in the air and creates sparks and flashovers," said Griffin.

Sparks were flying out of a light pole, located at Eddy and Walthall streets, at about 6:45 a.m., also. "This is also attributed to the fog, even though it didn't cause a blackout," said Griffin. "Employees were out there looking at the utility pole, but it didn't cause a flashover, just sparks," she said.

Anything else that happens today, with the electricity, will probably be attributed to the weather, according to Griffin.

Griffin stated that any problems should be reported to the electric company. "We'll send somebody out as soon as possible, if any further problems arise," she said.

Source: Archive, Pecos Enterprise; Pecos, Texas http://www.pecos.net/news/arch2000/011700p.htm

-- Lee Maloney (leemaloney@hotmail.com), January 28, 2000

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