The deep freeze that hit Texas and then moved northeast and affected as many as 100 million Americans left millions of Texans without power and water. Declared a local emergency by President Biden, part of the state may not return to normal for weeks or even months. News reports claim that one of the largest utilities in the state was within hours of failing. A crippled The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) which supplies well over three-quarters of the state’s electricity was within hours of “collapsing”.
Temperatures in some of the largest Texas cities dropped to single digits which were close to century-old records. The same was true as parts of the state were hit with heavy snow. The temperature situation reversed itself within days. Temperatures in Houston will rise above 70 degrees today.
Cold weather was blamed for deaths across the state, although the final count may not emerge for days. According to The New York Times, “people died in their bedrooms, vehicles, and backyards”. In one such incident: “In Houston, an Ethiopian immigrant died in her idling car, which was parked in her garage, where she sat while charging her phone. She was talking to a friend when she started to feel tired.”
Temperatures in the 70s in Houston in February are closer to the rule than the exception. High temperatures will be in the low 70s within hours. Based on a ten-year average from 2010 to 2019, the temperature in Houston for February runs from a high of 68 to a low of 50.
The National Weather Service forecast for Houston today reads “Warmer!!!!”. That is a wide contrast to a storm that brought a disaster to the region where people were killed, the electric grid failed, and tens of thousands of people are without electricity or water. At least, however, the cold that posed such a large potential danger to people and infrastructure has ended.