Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Winter Storm Creates Havoc Across the U.S. (VIDEO)

I was in Houston in November, and it was very pleasant weather. If someone would have told me then that an arctic freeze was to descent over the city in February, I'd have been a bit credulous. But it's all out there to see now, and some folks on Twitter have been sharing their experiences of trying to keep warm. 

Rolling blackouts? In Texas? We get those in California, because, of course, the once-"Golden State" isn't so golden anymore. But Texas is a fossil fuels powerhouse, so it's gotta hurt, more than the chilling freeze.

At WSJ, "From power outages to disrupted Covid-19 vaccinations, the snow, ice and stinging cold upend life for millions":

Millions of Americans were without power Tuesday after a winter storm brought snow, ice, blackouts and record-setting low temperatures to swaths of the U.S.

Nearly 75% of the Lower 48 states of the U.S. was under snow cover, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Snow Analysis daily report, including many places rarely hit by inclement weather. A week ago, 45% of the Lower 48 was under snow.

The snow, as well as freezing rain, created travel concerns from the eastern Great Lakes to New England on Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service. The Mississippi Department of Transportation said there were reports of ice on roads and bridges in 74 counties in the state.

Dangerously cold wind chills from Arctic air are expected to linger over the Great Plains and Mississippi Valley through midweek, the weather service said, adding that a new winter storm was emerging in the Southern Plains and would head toward the mid-South on Wednesday. On Monday night, a tornado struck Brunswick County, N.C., killing three people, according to the county Sheriff’s Office.

With electrical grids facing strain because of the extreme weather, rolling blackouts have been instituted in a number of states. Over five million customers across the U.S. were without electricity on Tuesday morning, according to PowerOutage.US. More than 4.5 million of those outages were in Texas, the website said.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s electricity grid, began calling for rotating outages overnight on Sunday to avoid widespread blackouts. But the severe power shortages forced companies to curtail power beyond short rolling blackouts, with many customers losing electricity for much of the day.

Water utilities were also affected by the weather, with some cities urging residents to boil water to make it safe to drink, even though they have no power.

President Biden declared a state of emergency in Texas after receiving a request from Gov. Greg Abbott, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster-relief efforts. Mr. Abbott also sent the National Guard to conduct welfare checks and assist with emergency operations across the state...

Still more.