Austin just weathered its hottest week ever as the electric grid races to keep up.
July 7-13 was the hottest week-long stretch ever recorded by Camp Mabry, which has records dating back to the 1890s.
The average temperature, using both the high and low from each day, came in at 92.9 degrees—0.1 degree hotter than the previous record set in August and September of 2011.
It's been a record-breaking year altogether—there were 21 100-degree days in June and an unseasonably hot May, marking record-breaking heat for both months.
The dramatic heat has led to a slew of other problems: Unhealthy levels of smog pollution caused by vehicle and industrial emissions reacting to the temperatures to boost ozone concentration, poor conditions for plants or livestock and worsening drought conditions.
Meanwhile, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the Texas electrical grid, asked Texans twice over the past week to conserve electricity as it struggles to meet demand.
In a press release on Wednesday, ERCOT cited extremely hot weather causing “record power demand,” wind generation disturbances from low wind, “forced thermal outages” and cloud cover impeding solar generation.
Though there were no widespread outages across the state, KXAN reported the tightened demand caused electricity to spike $5,000 per megawatt hour temporarily, the maximum allowed by the state.
It’s not going to let up anytime soon—Friday is the only day in the next two weeks that won’t be in the triple digits.
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Austin is one of the top metro areas where homebuyer income saw the greatest surge during the pandemic and it came at a cost to locals.
A new analysis by real estate services firm Redfin reports that affluent out-of-towers have contributed to surging home prices in metros like Austin. Due to this trend, Redfin notes, many local buyers with lower incomes have been priced out.
“For white-collar workers earning high salaries, remote work is a huge financial boon,” said Sheharyar Bokhari, Redfin senior economist. Jobs with that flexibility, Bokhari says, enable them to move from a tech hub like San Francisco to a more affordable part of the country where they can get more home for their money and even put some toward a rainy day fund.
“It can have the opposite effect on locals in those destinations–especially renters–who are watching from the sidelines as home prices skyrocket while their income stays mostly the same,” Bokhari said.
In Austin, the median homebuyer income surged 19% from 2019 to 2021, ultimately reaching $137,000. In that time, the median home price growth was 48%, just behind Boise, Idaho which was more than 50%.
But the housing market is starting to slow. Redfin says high mortgage rates and unsustainable price growth have driven demand down. In fact, Austin is among the 20 housing markets that have cooled the fastest in the first half of this year.
“People are still moving in from California and they still have enough money to buy nice homes in desirable neighborhoods, sometimes with all cash,” said Austin Redfin agent Gabriel Recio. “But the days of homes selling for 25% over asking price with multiple offers are over. Buyers are no longer as eager now that mortgage rates are up and there’s buzz in the air about the slowing housing market.”
As a result, Recio says, local and out-of-town buyers have an opportunity to buy a home at the asking price or even under.
Redfin carried out its analysis using data from the home mortgage disclosure act to review median household incomes for homebuyers who took out a mortgage, though it doesn’t include buyers who paid using all cash.
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School is back in session—do you know the latest TikTok trends?
With Austin ISD resuming session on Monday, school officials are keeping tabs on the newest TikTok trends that could pose classroom disruptions and property damage.
TikTok trends swept through Austin-area schools last year with the “Devious Lick” challenge, which encouraged students to steal from school property and reportedly caused $15,000 in damages at Round Round ISD; and the “slap a staff member” challenge.
On the distraction end, a substitute teacher was dismissed from Bowie High School in December after bringing in a karaoke machine to class and singing Britney Spears’ “Toxic” for the class on TikTok.
Officials told KXAN they are staying aware of the trends as they change during the 2022-2023 school year and the district will investigate perceived threats. Since TikTok trends vary in severity, they will also evaluate to see which trends could cause harm or not.
Finally, the school district said it does not tolerate violence or bullying and will focus its efforts on protecting students both physically and digitally.