The Southeast Drought Boils Over

Voluntary and mandatory water reduction measures have spread like a flesh-eating virus from Florida, Alabama, and Georgia to South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. However as the heat wave continues, it has been interesting to me that water temperature has become an issue.

Last week, it was reported that the Catawba river was warm enough to suspend operation of two coal powered steam plants. Duke Energy uses the Catawba river to cool its coal-powered steam plants. In Tennessee, the Tennessee Valley Authority shut down one of three units at the Browns Ferry nuclear plant because water drawn from the Tennessee River to cool the reactor was too hot. How hot was it? The water was exceeding a 90-degree average over 24 hours. According to TVA this was the first time they ever shut down a nuclear unit because of river temperature.

I took a look at this week’s Drought Monitor and thought I could make a little video from their still images. Here is an animation I did (with a little drought inspired music, of course) showing the progression of this drought since March, 2007. All the images were from Drought Monitor.

Sources: The Charlotte Observer Article Article

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