Could Winter Storm Uri be the deadliest U.S. snow storm ever?
Snow in Texas isn’t a phrase most people expect to hear. While the U.S. Southern state gets flurries from time to time, blizzards are more of a northern state thing . . . until now. Winter Storm Uri smashed through the Lone Star State yesterday, as well as a big chunk of the U.S., causing millions of Americans to lose power and causing at least twelve deaths.
Winter Storm Uri also hit the usual suspects for snowstorms: northern states like Michigan & Wisconsin. While these northern states have the infrastructure to deal with huge blizzards (if you live around the Great Lakes, you probably know more about winter storms than you ever cared to), southern states like Texas do not.
Take a look at how Texas is coping with Winter Storm Uri and what Texas Governor Greg Abbot’s response has been like to help Texans through this once-in-a-lifetime winter storm.
Power outages & destruction
The Weather Channel reported that large swaths of Texas homes & businesses were without power since Monday when sub-zero temperatures reached Texas thanks to Winter Storm Uri. 4.1 million Texans were still without power Tuesday morning according to poweroutage.com.
Winter Storm Uri is also ravaging other parts of the south, as the sudden gust of cold air hitting the warmer South is causing tornadoes in Georgia & the Carolinas. These tornadoes are causing tons of destruction in these states, have injured one man in Georgia, and hospitalized three in Florida.
Fucking tell people who have power to put their thermostats at 65! They won't freeze & they can help increase capacity! For God's sakes Abbott! We have been without power for 13 hrs! Total failure! #WhereIsAbbott
— Brendajurgens 🛹🛹 (@Brendajurgens3) February 15, 2021
Meanwhile, back in Texas, Texans stated their fury with the response from their governor. Winter Storm Uri had millions without power on Monday and since Texan netizens reportedly hadn’t heard a peep from their governor online since Sunday, #WheresAbbot began trending.
How reliable is the electricity grid in Texas? Much of Houston and Austin don’t have power. Two of the nation’s biggest cities. The fossil fuel capital of the nation can’t keep the power on for millions of Texans in freezing temperatures right now
— Jeremy Wallace (@JeremySWallace) February 15, 2021
Texans also questioned the reliability of their power grid, ERCOT. According to a 2011 article from The Texas Tribune, the power grid is separate from the rest of the U.S. to avoid federal regulation, and as the name suggests, it’s run by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. It covers most of Texas except for El Paso and parts of the panhandle.
Hi Chuck- Almost 15h without power here in Bouldin creek. I am sick with COVID and self-isolating. Stove is electric and my propane grill won’t light. I can’t get groceries/ provisions delivered until Friday. Currently 47°F in my apartment.
— McKenzie Raley (@mckenzie_raley) February 15, 2021
Chuck Lindell, a journalist from the Austin American-Statesman, tweeted for quotes from Texans who are left without power. He received responses regarding the sick & elderly being without power, without heat, and without any means to cook food (or keep food refrigerated).
I have gathered information all day from ERCOT & the Public Utilities Comm. & will provide a detailed update shortly.
Many power generation companies facilities froze overnight and shut down their ability to generate power.
They are working to get power back on line.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) February 15, 2021
On Monday, 2:25 pm, Governor Greg Abbot took to Twitter to update Texans on the ongoing power outages thanks to Winter Storm Uri. He told Texans ERCOT hadn’t been compromised due to the winter storm. “Many power generation companies facilities froze overnight and shut down their ability to generate power”, he explained on Twitter, adding that he would keep Texans updated.
.@GregAbbott_TX has announced that the state is deploying more resources to help respond to the lack of power. Among other measures, the National Guard will be performing welfare checks. #txlege #txwx pic.twitter.com/3pK3kIiHED
— Hayden Sparks (@HaydenJSparks) February 15, 2021
Later that evening, Abbot tweeted that hundreds of thousands of houses had their power restored. He also made an official statement telling Texans he was deploying the National Guard to “conduct welfare checks and assist local authorities in transitioning Texans in need to one of the 135 warming centers that the state has helped establish across Texas”.
Abbot also said he also “sought and received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Energy that allows Texas power generators to increase production”.
Winter Storm Uri has killed twelve people across the U.S. so far, four in Texas according to The Weather Channel. While efforts to restore power are reportedly being made, people in Texas are still without power. Could more people lose their lives thanks to power outages? Let us know in the comments!