Texas Power Outage

Texas Power Outage

Ryan Lofton, Layout Editor, Writer

You all may have heard of the crisis happening in Texas. About 90% of Texas was out of power since February 10, but as of submission, there are only about 21% of Texans still without power. If you want to learn what really happened to Texas, keep reading to find out!

 

What Caused the Texas Power Outage

We all know that Texas has lost some of its power. But the main question is how did the state lose it? On February 10th, a burst of arctic air swept southward across the great plains which created an ice storm. Ice storms are usually created when one layer of warm air is between two layers of cold air. Frozen precipitation falls from the first layer of cold air, which is then melted by the layer of warm air in the middle which then forms into water. Next, the falling water refreezes by the bottom layer of cold air, forming ice. This creates either freezing rain or a glaze of ice. Texas also received 3-5 inches of snow which later then melted, and then re-froze at night which created a thicker layer of ice.  In the United States, there are three power grids: the Eastern Powergrid, the Western Powergrid, and the Texas Powergrid. Texas wanted to be independent and have its separate power grid, but it wasn’t able to support what Texs needed. During the ice storm, the Texas Powergrid, which included 185 generating units, tripped offline. After the power grid stopped working, the state was dependent on wind turbines that unfortunately froze during the ice storm. This left Texas without power, sitting in the cold.

 

The Effects of the Texas Power Outage

In New Jersey, we all have had our power flicker on and off every now and then, and even have lost power for days, but what happened in Texas was a disaster. Texas has been without power since February 10th and the effects from then and now are devastating. 1.4 million people suffered from freezing temperatures of a whopping -19 degrees which led many people to freeze to death. Some people suffered from starvation since all the markets had scarce food in them due to hoarders. What made it worse was that Texas is typically warm annually, which means people can tolerate more heat than cold. Texans also didn’t have any tools to maintain themselves such as gloves, winter hats, warm jackets, snow shovels, or salt to maintain the snow and ice. Some people reported that their water pipes had burst, spewing water which then flooded their houses or if it leaked from the ceiling which froze and formed icicles that could fall on people inside the house. Overall 22 people have died during the ice storm.

 

How To Better Prepare For Disasters 

Natural disasters are very hard to predict; some would say they ARE unpredictable. The only way we can be somewhat safe from that disaster is by preparing for the worst. For example, one way we could’ve prevented most damage in Texas is to have prepared with better tools and equipment. Texans could have bought better clothing suited for cold weather, such as winter coats, gloves, hats, etc. In the tools department, they could have gotten a snow shovel and the Texas government could have prepared salt to melt the ice. Overall the Texas community could have made a better choice to stick with the Eastern and Western Power Grids instead of using a separate one.

 

In conclusion, we now know why and how Texas’s power went out leaving millions in the cold. The rare occurrence of the arctic wind going that far south into Texas leading into an ice storm which then froze the Texas power grid. Knowing the causes of such a disaster, we are hopeful that history will not repeat itself.

 

Works Cited

Ball, Jeffrey. “The Texas Blackout Is the Story of a Disaster Foretold.” Texas Monthly, 19 Feb. 2021, www.texasmonthly.com/politics/texas-blackout-preventable/.

“Why the Cold Weather Caused Huge Texas Blackouts – a Visual Explainer.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 20 Feb. 2021, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/20/texas-power-grid-explainer-winter-weather#:~:text=Texas energy grid.-,America is expected to see more and more extreme weather,more of these devastating blackouts.&text=The Texas power outage,for a multitude of reasons.&text=The cold weather froze natural gas wells and blocked pipes.