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  • Writer's pictureAllison Mathews

Dallas Spring Storm 2024 A bizarre storm. A bizarre recovery response.

I am no stranger to intense weather. Texas tornados, Carolina hurricanes, ice storms, 30+ days of 100 heat. But the storm that hit Dallas on Tuesday May 28, 2024 was, at best, an outlier. And the recovery response was, at best, abysmal. I think one or both were nefarious.

The official narrative: At 5:30 am a fast-moving thunderstorm swept through Dallas downing trees and limbs which damaged power lines creating half a million power outages. Power was restored to 300,000 within hours, especially if you were a big box retailer. Also within hours, Oncor, the regional provider, told the remaining 200,000  – almost all residential – it would take until Friday night or Saturday at the latest to get the lights back.  There were also widespread internet outages. True to the prediction, most of the 200,000 customers had power restored on or around Day 4.  

Problem #1:  the storm went the wrong way and didn’t act like a natural thunderstorm.

Texas storms sweep down from the Rocky Mountains northwest to southeast. This storm came straight out of the west – almost southwest. The western metroplex (Fort Worth) almost always gets the brunt of storms. But aside from some hail, the storm didn’t impact either Dallas’ western or eastern neighbours. The storm basically erupted directly over the middle of Dallas with near hurricane force winds. Then it abated.

I can’t prove it was weather warfare. I can’t even find radar images from the storm. But everyone remarked how strange this storm was. Even by crazy Texas standards, it was strange.

Problem #2 was the response. Or lack of response. In short, there was not enough damage nor restoration effort to explain 200,000 being powerless for five days.  

  • The morning of the storm, I drove my tree-lined commute to work and didn’t even have to change lanes to avoid debris in the road. There really was no debris in the roads.

  • Driving around during the “recovery effort” (My car has a/c!) I noticed there wasn’t much work being done. Yes, I saw people picking up limbs. A few roofers. A few insurance claims cars. But I barely saw any electricity or internet workers.

  • FEMA and DHS have extensive disaster recovery plans and resources, and yet I never saw an out-of- town truck. If resources were mobilized from outside of Dallas, I didn’t see them.

  • I saw neighborhoods with virtually no damage dark for days.

  • No one reported a transformer blowing out. I asked.

  • My office’s parking lot was used as a staging area for Oncor trucks. They spent a lot of time just sitting in our parking lot. And again, there were no out-of-town trucks even though the news said they were here.

  • Traffic lights were out in major intersections for days even though all four quadrants of those intersections had power and very little damage. Adjacent traffic signals at minor intersections never went out.

  • Major intersections which had been working suddenly went dark on days 3.

  • Day 5 the cable internet truck was parked outside of my condo complex (yay!!!!). I watched two guys sitting in the truck for the 35 minutes. They never got out of the truck. It was another 2 days before internet/cable came back. There was no apparent damage in the area.

  • Power didn’t trickle back on. I was watching the Oncor outage map at work, and it remained static for days. Power was predicted to come back Friday. And almost everyone had it come back within a 24 hour window of Friday.

  • Day 6 was a Sunday, and my church had to cancel services. The adjacent wealthy neighborhood had had power for days, but the church had no power or internet.

I know what an organic disaster recovery should look like. Should feel like. This wasn’t that.

For example, in 1996 Raleigh suffered Hurricane Fran - an unusually inland Category 3. Damage crippled the area. Pine trees sliced homes clean in half. 70 fatalities. Power companies came from everywhere to assist. Various essential services were restored gradually. Even though many people were in the dark for days or weeks, they could see the buzz of activity everywhere.

By day 2 of the Dallas storm, there was little, if any buzz. We just sat in the dark and waited for our overlords to flip the switch on our smart meters.

Allison Mathews 

Attorney, yoga teacher, cat foster, and God fearing hunter of facts. Awake since 2021. Question everything.

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