DART fails us when we need it most

DART — running in good weather

Even people who don’t usually ride DART should be able to use it as a fallback during inclement weather. During the current winter weather, DART has been a complete failure.

On Tuesday, the train lines did not begin running until 2:30 p.m. DART was completely unprepared as switching signals froze and ice formed on overhead cables.

Subways in Chicago and New York run with power supplied by a third rail. Ice is not a problem. But in cold-weather cities like Denver, light rail runs despite snow and sleet and cold. The trolleys in Boston run with an overhead power supply despite ice and wind.

In those cities, the transportation systems run the trains through the night to keep the power lines defrosted — and keep the trains running during normal operating hours.

DART failed to keep their riders informed. This morning at Hampton Station, a number of riders arrived by 7:30 a.m. They checked DART’s web page and Facebook page on their mobile devices. DART said trains were running at 20-minute intervals and a Green Line train was stuck downtown because of a switching problem.

Station monitors had no information for riders. The only help offered was calling DART four times to tell them ticket machines weren’t working and conductors shouldn’t fine riders who claimed they boarded at Hampton Station.

Those same riders who arrived at 7:30 a.m. finally boarded a train at 8:45.

—  David Taffet

Baby, it’s gonna get cold outside this week

Heavy snowfall last February wreaked havoc on North Texas. Let’s hope we don’t see a repeat this week.

Oh, what a lovely weekend we had, with sunny skies and nice, moderate temperatures. But you knew it couldn’t last.

The latest forecast from the National Weather Service says it’s going to start raining here in Dallas-Fort Worth tonight, with showers and thunderstorms moving in, along with winds coming out of the north at about 20 to 25 mph, and gusts up to 30 mph — plus temperatures at about 30 degrees. But it is destined to get wetter — or icier — and colder.

NWS says there will be freezing rain and sleet and some snow as night turns into morning, up through about noon Tuesday, with the temperature falling to around 22 by noon, with the wind picking up to 25-30 mph, and gusts up to 40 mph — and a wind chill factor in the single digits. Snow — possibly heavy — could continue to fall on Tuesday, and it’s going to be even colder Tuesday night, with a temperature around 15 degrees and the wind chill below zero.

The cold spell isn’t going to let up till Friday when we may get above freezing, although the chance of snow will persist through Friday night.

Of course, that is the forecast right now, at 12:40 p.m. on Monday. Since this is Texas, that could change in the next hour or so! Still, chances are it’s going to be cold and wet and icy and snowy this next week. So I thought I would pass along these helpful hints just e-mailed to me by the Texas Division of Emergency Preparedness:

—  admin