On Thursday night, an arctic front covered almost all of Texas. The residents of the state are preparing themselves for the aftermath of such an extreme weather condition.
The first area to experience the front was Amarillo. There were fierce wind chills that drove the temperatures so low into double-digit negatives. However, it would seem as though the city was used to it.
According to Wes Reeves, an Xcel Energy spokesperson, issues on the Texas grid does not usually refer to the ERCOT region, and so people should not panic. He further added that he was positive that they could handle the weather well.
In Lubbock, there were some infrastructural failures. On Thursday morning, high winds destroyed power lines and about 1,300 people briefly lost power. Also, probably as a result of the single-digit temperatures, a water main break blanketed a major street in slush and ice.
Southwest to the Permian Basin, there were also power issues. Around 600 people had no power, especially in Odessa.
However, the city that is experiencing the highest challenges is El Paso. Red Cross has come to their aid, helping to offer warm cots to as many people as possible.
According to Mario D’Agostino, El Paso’s Deputy City Manager when he was talking about a makeshift shelter, the initial capacity is set up for a thousand. He added that they started off this way because they don’t really know the number of people that would turn up.
He went on to say that the best approach for these weather emergencies was to see to it that fewer people are homeless and off the streets.
While the border city anticipated the cold to hit from the north, a lot of people sought asylum from the south.
Ranchers and farmers close to Tyler in east Texas are also concerned about how they would protect their livestock. One of the ranchers explained that they have to ensure that the pipes feeding their troughs do not freeze.
Officials in Brownsville emphasized on the need to use proper heating methods. They recalled a sad incident that happened two years ago, where a resident had died from making use of a barbecue grill indoors.
A Harlington firefighter advised that people should always make sure that their generators when in use are outside the structure. Keeping a generator near a home or inside the garage is not a good idea as carbon monoxide is a very lethal gas.
In February 2021, almost 250 deaths were caused by Winter Storm Uri and a minimum of 19 of those deaths was due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Texas officials have assured residents that the grid will stay steady and operational unlike what was seen in Uri.