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Following a deluge of rain that hit Dallas on August 21-22, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins declared a State of Disaster in Dallas County and is requesting state and federal assistance.

Dallas suffered extreme flooding following thunderstorms that dropped up to 15 inches of rain in some parts of the area in a span of 24 hours. The extreme rainfall made national news, and there are videos of shocking footage showing a flooded I-30, 635, and an overflowing Trinity River.

The east side of Dallas received the most rainfall, from 13 to 15 inches; the overall Dallas-Fort Worth area received 6 to 10 inches. CNN called it "a summer's worth of rain in a day."

The area was experiencing tropical moisture with multiple rounds of heavy rain, and with a summer-long drought, the ground was dry and did not absorb the water as readily.

Jenkins also said that Dallas County suffered a fatality: A 60-year-old woman was killed when her vehicle was swept away by flood waters.

The storm also caused Dallas' sewer system to overflow. According to a release from the Dallas Water Utilities (DWU) Department, heavy rainfall caused sewer overflows at several locations throughout the city, with overflows in four major drainage basins.

DWU assistant director Zachary Peoples said that none of the overflows affected the water supply. DWU crews are performing cleanup at each overflow location.

Although there is no danger to the water supply, DWU reminds the public to avoid contact with waste material, soil, or water in any of the affected areas.

Residents with private wells are advised to distill or boil water for personal uses such as drinking, cooking, bathing, and tooth brushing.

Photo courtesy of DART

Dallas is so hot right now that DART light rail is forced to go slower

Train News

If you're in a rush to get somewhere, then DART Rail is not your best choice for the next day or two.

According to a release, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is implementing speed restrictions on its light rail service between 2- 9 pm, through Wednesday, July 20.

Light rail vehicles will operate at no more than 30 miles per hour during this time. DART light rail passengers should expect delays of 10-15 minutes due to these speed restrictions.

The slowdown is due to the record high temperatures across North Texas, which are expected to last for the next several days according to the National Weather Service.

When many miles of rail are subjected to intense heat, the rail becomes hot, which can cause them to increase in length, and can develop bowing known as a "sun kink" or "heat kink."

"Right now, we're registering temperatures between 145 and 150 degrees on the rail," a DART spokesperson says. "This can lead to warping of the rails and the catenary lines to sag."

When temperatures reach 100 degrees or higher, it's not uncommon for transportation agencies to reduce train speeds to no faster than 35 mph.

According to CNN, the U.S. is experiencing a dangerous heat wave that is expected to affect a large portion of the country, with more than 100 million people under excessive heat warnings or heat advisories as of July 19. One-third of the US population is under heat advisories and excessive heat warnings July 19-20, with more than 80 percent of the population (around 265 million Americans) seeing a high above 90 degrees over the next seven days.

The above-average heat is expected to continue into at least Sunday, with every day reaching the triple-digit mark.

DART will continue to monitor the weather conditions across the North Texas area for the safety of our passengers and employees, and to determine if future speed restrictions will be necessary.

Riders can stay informed about service changes by registering for DART Alerts at www.dart.org, or by contacting DART Customer Information at (214) 979-1111.

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Dallas Water Utilities needs residents and businesses to conserve water

Weather News

First electricity, now water: The Dallas Water Utilities department is asking residents and businesses to conserve water, to reduce pressure on the system before it turns problematic.

According to a release, the consumption of water in the city has almost doubled, and this is leading to leaks, water main breaks, and other plumbing crises.

Between the heat wave and lack of rain, Dallas' water demand has increased dramatically: While the average consumption is 380 million gallons a day, it has spiked to more than 600 million gallons a day during the last week.

The increased water usage puts additional pressure on water pipelines and can lead to more water main breaks and leaks.

This past weekend, DWU repaired 17 main breaks, compared to the normal of 0 to 6 for this time of year.

 DWU currently has 18 crews responding 24-hours a day to water main breaks and leaks. When a repair is underway, there may be intermittent service interruptions that will impact customers.

Customers are notified of service interruptions through individual notices left on the doors of residential and business customers (notices are not delivered after dark or before 8 a.m.).  

Dallas Water Utilities is asking residents and businesses to conserve water and help reduce water demands by doing the following:

  • Adhere to the Twice Weekly Watering Schedule, detailed here.
  • Don't water your yard between 10 am and 6 pm from April 1 to October 31.
  • Sign up for free watering advice at waterisawesome.com/weekly-watering-advice/
  • Sign up for a free irrigation audit at savedallaswater.comfree-irrigation-audits/
  • Be sure your automatic sprinkler system does not water sidewalks, driveways, or the street.
  • Be sure that all the sprinkler heads are in good working order and that your system has no leaks.
  • Any water that is flowing from private or public property that is not normally viewed, should be reported to the City utilizing 311.
  • Report emergency water main leaks by calling 311.

Crews will be dispatched for initial assessment, and repairs if needed will be prioritized and scheduled as soon as practicable

DWU invests $150-$170 million annually to replace and rehabilitate water and wastewater mains.  These efforts have resulted in lower main breaks per 100 miles from approximately 40 in 2007 to 20 in 2021.

Their request to conserve on water follows two requests by ERCOT this week to conserve electricity, in order to avoid blackouts. We're melting.

Photo courtesy of Oxygen Concentrator

Latest Dallas-Fort Worth freezing spell sticking around another day

Weather News

Dallas-Fort Worth is hunkered down under a thin but lethal layer of ice, with sleet and freezing rain expected to prevail through Thursday, February 24.

The area is under a winter storm warning until 6 pm Thursday. It was originally predicted to hit 38 degrees on Thursday, but unfortunately is now forecast to not get much above freezing. Dreamy meteorologist Kyle Roberts says there will be "minimal melting."

WFAA is ruling with updates that include not only radar but also a weather person pointing to a TV screen showing images of stuff happening on Facebook. They have it covered.

FOX 4 says a "light, but study round" of freezing drizzle is expected to fall throughout the morning. (Surely they mean "steady" and not study.)

Roads
Everyone is being warned to stay off the roads to prevent inevitable accidents like this one on Harry Hines Boulevard, or this backup on Royal Lane at US-75. The Dallas Police Department said it had responded to nearly 500 crashes as of 5 pm Wednesday.

Team of truck drivers with the City of Dallas Department of Public Works have been out for 48 hours using sand trucks to de-ice bridges, crossovers, and streets.

For the best and most up-to-date compendium of collisions and other roadway snafus, watch community news site DallasTexasTV.

Dallas public transit
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has extended "Operating Scenario 2" of their Severe Winter Weather Operating Plans through the end of the day on Thursday, February 24. DART rail operations remain suspended. To replace the rail service, they'll operate 14 shuttle bus routes between rail stations that will run every 45 minutes. DART bus routes will operate on a Sunday schedule from 5 am-9 pm. DART will determine a service restoration timeline based on weather conditions. The Dallas Streetcar will not operate at this time, but there will be a shuttle bus running to and from EBJ Union Station and the Bishop Arts District, making all stops.

DART transit centers will be open from 5 am-9 pm, manned by DART staff:

  • Addison Transit Center
  • Arapaho Center Station
  • Buckner Station
  • Central Business District (CBD) West Transfer Center
  • Central Business District (CBD) East Transfer Center
  • Downtown Garland Station
  • Downtown Irving/Heritage Crossing Station
  • J.B. Jackson, Jr. Transit Center
  • Lake June Station
  • Ledbetter Station
  • Parker Road Station
  • South Garland Transit Center
  • Cockrell Hill Transfer Location will be available between 6 am-2 pm.

The Operating Scenario 2 shuttle bus routes are available on the DART website at www.dart.org/winterweather.

Fort Worth public transit
Trinity Railway Express (TRE) is operating on a Saturday schedule.

Trinity Metro bus routes will run on a Saturday schedule on Thursday February 24, with the following exceptions:

  • No service on Molly the Trolley
  • No service on The Dash
  • No Route 31/CentrePort Circulator
  • No Routes 23, 30, 111, Burnett Plaza Lunch Line, Express Routes 61, 63, 65, 66 & 67

TEXRail will operate on its regular schedule. TRE will operate on a Saturday schedule. ACCESS paratransit will be available for life-sustaining trips.

Customer care representatives will be available by phone at 817-215-8600.

DFW Airport
FlightAware reported 1,057 total cancellations at DFW on Thursday, following Wednesday when more than 1,000 flights were canceled.

Courtesy of DART

DART suspends all rail and bus services due to winter weather in Dallas

Weather news

Amid the freezing weather and treacherous travel conditions around Dallas, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is suspending all rail and bus services from 12 pm Friday, February 4 through 12 pm Sunday, February 6.

In a February 4 release, DART says, "The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Hard Freeze Warning for all of Dallas/Fort Worth, reporting that temperatures will remain below freezing through Saturday morning. While road conditions across the region continue to remain extremely dangerous, DART recommends everyone avoid travel wherever possible."

They advise that passengers who need emergency service should contact the DART Customer Information Center at 214-979-1111.

Also canceled are all subscription trips for DART Paratransit, "with the exception of trips for medical purposes (i.e., dialysis treatment)," they say. Those services resume Monday, February 7. Trips for Monday can be booked at 214-515-7272 or through at www.dart.org/ridepara.

The Trinity Railway Express (TRE) will operate on a Saturday schedule on Friday, February 4 and will resume a normal Saturday schedule on Saturday, February 5, the release says. Normal operations will resume Monday, February 7.

"DART will continue to monitor the weather conditions across the North Texas area for the safety of our passengers and employees, and to determine service restoration based on weather conditions," they say. "Riders can stay informed about service change updates by registering for DART Alerts at www.dart.org."

Photo courtesy of Houston SPCA

SPCA of North Texas clarifies myth about whether pets really 'love the cold'

Animal News

With Dallas-Fort Worth enduring sub-freezing temperatures and icy conditions for the next few days, the SPCA of Texas is offering advice for how to keep your pets safe during cold weather.

You would think that some of this advice would be common sense, but neighborhood pages on Facebook indicate otherwise. It seems to be a not-that-uncommon belief that dogs "love" the snow and cold, with old-school comments like, "Growing up, our dogs never ever came in the house."

As the SPCA notes, freezing temperatures can be dangerous and even deadly for companion animals, and they recommend you keep your pet indoors as much as possible.

Their rule of thumb: If you are cold outside, your pet will be, too.

Wet and cold weather can lead to hypothermia or pneumonia in animals. Especially with very young or very old animals, who are more susceptible to suffering medical issues due to the cold.

They say that walks are OK, but limit outside time to quick walks or bathroom breaks, and consider providing your pet with a pet sweater and booties to protect their paws from ice and snow. Also, avoid pavement — walk on grass when possible.

Advice for those who for whatever reason must
The SPCA of Texas never recommends leaving pets outside full time, but if it's unavoidable, they offer these instructions:

  • Always weatherproof their living quarters. The shelter must be covered, dry, insulated, filled with straw or other bedding and should retain heat. It should also be made up of three sides, a roof and a floor.
  • The house should be elevated and the entrance pointed away from wind.

It could be against the law under animal cruelty in the state of Texas to leave your pet outdoors in extreme temperatures without appropriate shelter.

Monitor the time your pets spend outdoors and make sure they have fresh water to drink, not frozen.

Again, it's a lousy idea to leave your dogs outdoors, but those who are nonetheless doing that should feed their dogs more often, since they need more calories in the winter to produce body heat.

Pet owners often innocently assume their pets can withstand the cold weather with the aid of their thick coats; however, this is not always the case. Indoor dogs shed their undercoats and should never be made to stay outside for extended periods of time.

Never shave your pets down to the skin in the winter; leave their coats long for more warmth. And when you bathe your pets, completely dry their coats before letting them go outdoors.

Watch their paws
If you take your dogs out for a walk, wipe their paws and legs clean after you come in. This is because they may walk on salt, antifreeze, or other chemicals, which can be poisonous to pets if they lick their paws. Chemicals used to melt snow and ice can not only irritate paws but also lead to frostbite, cuts, or cracks.

Check your car
Before starting your car, check to make sure there are no animals hiding in the exhaust pipe or under your tires. Cats and small animals often seek shelter near or under your car so be sure to look carefully and honk the horn before turning on the engine.

Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold, and the animal could freeze to death.

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Texas hot spot hooks No. 1 ranking as best college city in America

Studies Show, Study Here

It might be a bit reductive to call Austin a college town, but that's what makes it so good. It certainly benefits from the creativity and industry of college living, but there's a lot more to do than go to gentrified lunches and cool, underground shows.

Recognizing this special balance, financial website WalletHub has declared Austin the No. 1 college city in the United States for 2023, beating out some obvious contenders like Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio.

In addition to being the best city overall, Austin also tops the large cities list, and is one of only two Texas locales represented in the top 10 of any category; the other is College Station, No. 6 on the small list.

The most represented state, perhaps not surprisingly, is Florida, with four cities in the overall top 10. The top 10 college cities for 2023, according to WalletHub, are:

1. Austin
2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
3. Orlando, Florida
4. Gainesville, Florida
5. Tampa, Florida
6. Rexburg, Idaho
7. Provo, Utah
8. Scottsdale, Arizona
9. Miami
10. Raleigh, North Carolina

And how did Austin make the grade? WalletHub looked at key metrics across three categories to determine the rankings.

Austin scored best, No. 12, in the “social environment” category, determined by metrics like students per capita; breweries, cafés, and food trucks per capita; and safety issues like vaccination and crime statistics.

Its ranking at No. 21 in the “academic & economic opportunities" category puts it in the 95th percentile, even above Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, famous for their Ivy League prevalence.

And perhaps unsurprising to those who currently reside in Austin, the Capital City ranked worst in "wallet friendliness,” at No. 204 out of 415.

Elsewhere in Texas, El Paso did well on the overall list at No. 36, followed by Houston (No. 64), Dallas (99), Fort Worth (153), and San Antonio (169).

Dallas landed well down the list in every category: wallet friendliness (226), academic & economic opportunities (168), and social environment (147).

Fort Worth fell even farther down the list in the same categories: wallet friendliness (242), academic & economic opportunities (201), and social environment (149).

Notably, cities that tend to fall lower in similar studies ranked relatively well among college towns.

These are the 9 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This week in gluttony

Christmas spirit is in full swing, with all but one of this week’s events being holiday-themed. Check off pics with Santa for both the family and fur babies; take a Christmas cocktail-making class; sample holiday spirits from around the world; and stroll acres of candlelit walkways while indulging in holiday hors d’oeuvres and drinks – just to name a few. ‘Tis the season.

Tuesday, December 6

Caymus Wine Dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Decadent four-course meal features pairings with wines from award-winning Caymus. Courses include Stuffed Mushrooms with Shrimp, Rigatoni Al Forno with Chicken, Filet & Scallop Spiedino with Mashed Potatoes, and Crème Brulée, paired with Caymus wines including Cabernet Sauvignon and Conundrum Red Blend. The dinner is $75 starts at 6:30 pm. For the Dallas location, reserve here, and for Plano, reserve here.

Fontodi Wine Dinner at La Stella Cucina Verace
The Dallas Arts District Italian restaurant will host a five-course dinner paired with wines from Fontodi, a producer located in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany. Courses will include beef carpaccio, butternut squash cappellacci with brown butter and sage, porchetta di Pienza with marble potatoes, Wagyu New York strip tagliata with porcini mushroom and butternut squash, and apple crostata. Dinner begins at 7 pm and is $175 plus tax and gratuity.

Thursday, December 8

Santa Paws at Texican Court Hotel
The Irving hotel invites furry friends and their humans to pop by for photos with Santa and complimentary hot apple cider and s’mores by the fire. Santa will be available for pet photos from 5-7 pm. Also enter to win a “Pups Night Away” overnight stay. Don’t miss the hotel’s pocket tequila bar, Salt, for new holiday cocktails in jolly keepsake glassware.

Reindeer Games Bar Crawl
Here’s a holiday bar crawl that spans beyond just drink specials. Participants get their money’s worth with a night of mini golf, axe throwing, unlimited video games, a chartered “sleigh bus,” and a pizza buffet. Start at Another Round and make stops at Flashback Retro Pub, LoneStar Axe Dallas, and Sylvan Avenue Tavern. Participants will also get a beer or seltzer at each stop. Tickets are $150 per duo, and the crawl will run from 6:15-10:30 pm.

Holiday Spirits Around the World at Hotel Vin
Sample an array of global spirits during this tasting experience at Grapevine’s Hotel Vin. Spirits to be served include Montenegro Italian liqueur, The Dalmore Scottish whiskey, Komo tequila, and Horse Soldier bourbon. Each spirit will be paired with globally-inspired bites. The tasting is $50 and will begin at 7 pm.

Friday, December 9

Cocktails by Candlelight at Old City Park
Candlelight will feature more than 13 acres of holiday cheer with decorated buildings, carolers, craft vendors, and candlelit walkways in Old City Park. Its 50th edition is set to begin on December 10, but adults only can get a sneak peek the night before during Cocktails by Candlelight, which comes with heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks. Tickets are $100 per person or $175 per couple, and the event begins at 6 pm.

Saturday, December 10

Shaken, Not Stirred, Holiday Cocktail Class at Elm & Good
The modern American restaurant inside the Kimpton Pittman Hotel will host a holiday cocktail class great for groups looking to make spirits bright. Elm & Good’s lead mixologist Indy Acevedo-Fowler will guide guests through creating three cocktails: a cranberry margarita, peppermint espresso martini, and sangria rosa. Guests will also receive a branded take-away gift. The class is $35 and will begin at 2 pm.

Sunday, December 11

Brunch with Santa at the AC Hotel Dallas by the Galleria
Meet the big guy himself while indulging in brunch dishes during this family-friendly Sunday Funday. Tickets are $25 for adults (includes one mimosa) and $15 for kids 3-12. Children will get to meet Santa and take family photos. Brunch will run from 11:30 am-1:30 pm.

Monday, December 12

12 Days of Thompson
The Thompson Hotel Dallas will spread Christmas cheer with 12 days of daily holiday activations. The festivities start Monday with Home Alone, S’mores & Sips, a movie night with cocktails themed after the Christmas classic, a s’mores bar, and movie screening amid downtown views. The price is a $15 charitable donation. Doors opens at 5 pm with the movie to start at 6 pm. Other 12 Days of Thompson events range from a pie-baking class and cookie decorating to brunch with Santa and Holiday High Tea. See the complete calendar of events here.

Dedicated volunteers extract Spaghetti Warehouse trolley from Dallas' West End

Trolley News

Thanks to a dedicated team of conservation-minded folks, the vintage trolley from the Spaghetti Warehouse in Dallas' West End has been moved to a temporary new home: in a warehouse at Orr-Reed Architectural Co., the salvage store just south of downtown Dallas, which will provide a safe space for the vehicle while it undergoes a restoration.

A permanent home is still TBD, but Orr-Reed will be housing the trolley for at least the next 12 months.

The trolley was one of the original streetcars that ran through East Dallas nearly a century ago. It surged to fame in 2019 when Spaghetti Warehouse closed after 47 years, and the company held a giant auction of its extensive collection of memorabilia.

The streetcar got a bid from an anonymous buyer, but that buyer bailed once they encountered the difficulties of removing the trolley from the location.

The trolley was donated to the Junius Heights Historic District, a neighborhood association in Old East Dallas who wanted to save the trolley because of its role in the original streetcar program that was key to the establishment of Junius Heights.

Orr-Reed is providing the space and backup manpower for free.

"The first time it went on the auction block, I wanted to buy it because I'm obsessed with keeping the city’s history," says Orr-Reed owner Hannah Hargrove. "Dallas is known for tearing things down and replacing it with bigger and better things, but 'bigger and better' only lasts 50 years. Since we have the space, we wanted to be helpful in providing the trolley's next chapter of life."


spaghetti warehouse trolley A team unloads the Spaghetti Warehouse trolley into a warehouse at Orr-Reed.Johann Huebschmann

The move
JD Middleton, who builds out restaurants and bars for his "day job," oversaw a team of volunteers who broke the trolley down into pieces and transported it to the new location.

"My buddy JJ Velez and I saw it in the news, we both had a personal connection," Middleton says. "My grandfather drove the trolley, it's possible he drove that one, while JJ had seen it when he was a little kid, after the Christmas parade in downtown Dallas."

With another friend, Randy Lasiter, assisting, they volunteered to do it on a 100 percent volunteer basis. For the past six months, they've been going there in the early morning, before heading to their regular job sites.

"We do a lot of crazy things for customer requests, and this was right up our alley," Middleton says.

This entailed cutting the exterior into parts: removing the front and back "nose pieces," breaking down the body of the trolley into panels, then splitting up the chassis foundation — like a vertebrae that they cut up, to be reassembled by a welder.

Middleton says that Uncle Dan’s Pawn Shop donated saw blades and trailers and other equipment, as did Frida's Social Club on McKinney Avenue, who provided a big trailer and truck to haul it over to Orr-Reed.

Middleton assembled a group of friends who spent four hours on December 3, loading the trolley piece-by-piece onto trailers, then unloading it at Orr-Reed. He's also volunteered to help restore it.

"There's some rusting on the inside, it's like an old Ford Model-T that's been sitting in a garage," he says. "We'll get it sand-blasted and primed and painted, then put it back together again."

Their work is saving the Junius Heights Historic District hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"It's like an art project for us, and we're getting the opportunity to help take care of history," Middleton says. "JJ ate there when he was a little kid, and he'd like to take his kid to see it when it's finished. That’s why we're doing it."


Spaghetti Warehouse trolley Spaghetti Warehouse trolley, in pieces.Johann Huebschmann

The new home
The Junius Heights group does not yet have a permanent home for the trolley, nor a plan for how it will be managed or maintained. Details details.

For now, it resides in Orr-Reed's "dry house" — a warehouse they've used for overflow and for items that need to be kept out of the elements such as big furniture items, casement windows, and things that cannot get wet.

Hargrove and her staff built shelving and redesigned the warehouse to make it work.

"It'll definitely affect our day-to-day routine — there's a giant cumbersome trolley that's taking up space — but it’s worth it," Hargrove says. "If we hadn't done it, they would have had to spend a lot of money on storing it rather than restoring it. I'm a keeper of history, it’s my duty, although I've never done anything on this scale."

"We're not doing it for the money, we're doing it because someone has to," she says. "I feel like I'm doing the right thing."