After the Texas winter storm of 2021, the relationship between climate change and extreme weather became evident. It wasn’t a typical winter chill, but a deadly storm that left long-lasting impacts on the whole community. Although one weather condition cannot be solely connected to climate change, scientists think that the warming climate contributed to winter storms. What happened in Texas in February 2021, what are the consequences, and learned lessons? Keep reading Rhythm Energy's article on this topic to find out more.
When Was The Big Winter Storm In Texas?
Many Texans will never forget the February of 2021. While some of them were preparing for a Valentine's Day full of love and maybe even a proposal, little did they know, Mother Nature had other plans. Instead of chocolates and roses, Texas got hit with a winter storm, which was not an easy one. It wasn't just cold - it was extremely freezing, resulting in a power outage in Texas, loss of heat, and closed roads.
When was the major winter storm in Texas in 2021?
Texas faced a large scale freeze storm from February 11-20th, 2021. The first sights of the forthcoming winter disaster started on Wednesday, February 10th, when a cold front came to the region bringing the first wave of icy air. The next morning, precipitation turned into sleet and freezing rain, especially in the northwestern counties. Soon, roads were covered with ice and thus, dangerous for driving, especially in some Southeast Texas counties.
For the first time ever, the National Weather Service issued Winter Storm Warnings for all 254 counties in the state. Another unpredictable thing happened - Houston experienced its wind chill warning as temperatures were 0 °F (-18 °C). Also, Dallas had its first-ever wind chill warning as wind chills were predicted to be at or below −18 °F (−28 °C). The storm also brought a huge amount of snow on February, 14-15. The roads turned into a real challenge, impossible to travel. The temperatures were dropping because of the cold front, making everything into ice.
The combination of icy conditions and super-cold temperatures led to power outages all over the place. Power grids were unable to maintain and supply electrical energy demands because of more than usual energy and heating consumption. For this reason, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) requested rolling blackouts to handle the demands on the power grid and avoid prolonged blackouts. At some point, over 3.5 million residents in Texas were without electricity.
Texas Winter Storm and Climate Change - Is There a Connection?
Undoubtedly, there was a connection between the Texas winter storm of 2021 and climate change. The cold temperatures froze everything, while heavy snowfall hit this sunny state, which wasn’t usual. Scientists think that this may be linked to broader climate change. For example, warmer temperatures in the Arctic can cause changes that make cold air come into regions like Texas.
While this connection requires more scientific elaboration, we wanted to highlight the connection between climate change and winter storms and possible things that can be done to prevent this, such as switching to sustainable energy power and responsible energy consumption. For example, one of the ways to contribute to a green environment is the rational usage of electrical energy. With Rhythm Energy’s time of use plan, you are encouraged to consume electrical energy during off-peak hours. This will cause less stress on a power grid, while you save more money on your electrical bill.
When Did The Winter Storm Hit Texas In 2023?
Despite the belief that the winter storm of 2021 would be a one-time incident, January 2023 brought about a situation that seemed remarkably similar. Austin was hit by a front cold bringing freezing temperatures. Once again, roads were covered with snow and ice, while households and businesses experienced power outages. Trees covered with ice and snow crashed power lines in Austin.
Will Texas Freeze Again In 2024?
The winter storm in 2023, as well as the one that hit Texas in 2022, were nothing compared with what happened in 2021. However, people are worried for a reason, many of them asking: Is Texas going to have a bad winter in 2023?
Luckily, the winter of 2023/2024 will be more pleasant, but not without precipitation, according to the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) report. So far, at the start of 2024, only central parts of the Lone Star State were seeing a heavier impact of a winter storm. Thanks to the return of El Niño after four years, Texas is likely to experience near-normal temperatures. The future prediction also says that El Niño will bring a high chance of wetter-than-average conditions, meaning that you should prepare for a bit wetter winter.
Texas Winter Storm - Lessons Learned
As the Texas winter storm of February 2021 left behind devastating impacts, it asks for reflection on what we learned and what can be improved in the future. Many people ended up unprepared for cold, hunger, and power outages. The later investigation also showed that Texas’ power equipment was not prepared for winter, which made it vulnerable to aggressive and long periods of coldness. While further efforts to winterize power equipment are a must, the Texas winter storm of 2021 has taught us numerous additional lessons. Some notes to consider if your area gets hit by a winter storm in 2024, or in 2025:
Preparing in Advance: The Texas winter storm of 2021 showed that there was no individual and community preparedness for severe weather events was underscored. Households in Texas didn't have emergency kits or communication plans, which left them without supplies such as water and shelf-stable food. If you still haven’t developed your emergency plan, now it’s a good time to do that.
Climate Change Impact: While scientists are still working to understand the connection between climate change and severe weather conditions, one thing is sure. There is indeed a connection between those two. This is why we should think about sustainable energy options. Rhythm Energy offers innovative energy plans for Texas residents, which will help you save money on electrical bills and contribute to the green environment.
Winterizing your power equipment: If you are already subscribed to some of the Rhythm Energy solar plans, now it’s the right time to protect your equipment from extreme winter weather. Solar panels in winter require extra maintenance and preparation that you should do in advance, such as changing the angle of their posture and insulating their batteries.
Prepare for Power Outages: Another thing you should do to prevent damage to your home appliances is to choose some of Rhythm Energy’s home protection plans or surge protection plans. This way you may rest assured that your home appliances are safe from unpredictable power outages caused by severe weather conditions.