As temperatures dropped toward the single digits and snow fell at record levels, over 2.5 million people lost power in Texas. People died of the cold and exposure, just days ago. The board of the huge Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which supplies most of the electricity in Texas, has resigned.
The National Weather Service was only able to give Houston a day of warning about the specifics of the storm:
The National Weather Service is updating the Houston area about an Ice Storm tonight. Temperatures this morning 0-10 inland and 10-20 for Interstate-10 southward. Wind chills near zero to 10 degrees but will be warming up today with sunshine.” People were not prepared to store water, or live in such cold temperatures without heat.
Thursday, the temperatures in the Houston area will hit 74 degrees, and by the weekend they will be as high as 80. Snow and cold will not be the problem. Fog will be. Visibility will be less than one mile, so driving will be hazardous. Less than a week ago, it was more dangerous because of ice. Drivers have been asked to slow down and use their headlights.
This points to how changeable the weather has become in the Houston area. Last July, temperatures topped 110. On June 7, the local ABC affiliate reported:
The National Weather Service says they will likely be issuing a heat advisory for Tuesday. All heat safety guidelines should be followed, with a focus on limiting time outdoors during peak heating and staying hydrated.
By last September, Houston had been hit by a major hurricane. The Texas Tribune wrote on September 1:
On Wednesday evening, the National Hurricane Center had predicted “unsurvivable storm surge” and “hurricane-force winds” in the area. Gov. Greg Abbott had already declared state of disaster in more than 60 counties and said that there would be no rescue efforts from Wednesday night to Thursday morning.
It will be weeks or even months before power is fully restored in southeast Texas. At least it won’t be a period of record cold again.