A woman walks through falling snow in San Antonio, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. Snow and ice blanketed large swaths of the U.S. on Sunday, prompting canceled flights, making driving perilous and reaching into areas as far south as Texas’ Gulf Coast, where snow and sleet were expected overnight. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Winter storm causes power outages in Texas and prompts advisories across the US

Wind Chill and Freeze Warnings are in effect in South Texas through noon on Tuesday. Wind chill values as low as 0° will be possible across the northern areas. Temperatures will fall to near single digits tonight as well.

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A rare winter storm knocked out nearly half the wind-power generating capacity of the state and pushed temperatures in southeast Texas down into the teens, according to reports.

Ice storms knocked out nearly half the wind-power generating capacity of Texas as a rare deep freeze across the state locked up turbine towers while driving electricity demand to record levels, the state’s grid operator reported.

Rotating power outages were initiated on Monday in order to conserve power, as more than 2 million Texans face power outages across the state.

Rotating blackouts are ‘controlled, temporary interruptions of electric service’ enacted as a last resort in an effort to conserve power and meet statewide demand. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas warned that some traffic lights and other infrastructure may be without power during this time.

More than 150 million people are under weather advisories as the winter storm stretches across the US, according to USA Today. Freezing temperatures locked up wind turbine towers and spiked energy demand across Texas, according to the state grid operator. President Joe Biden declared a disaster in Texas on Monday.

President Biden ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions.

The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all 254 Texas counties.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.  Emergency protective measures for mass care and sheltering and direct federal assistance will be provided at 75 percent federal funding. 

“I thank President Biden for quickly issuing a Federal Emergency Declaration for Texas as we continue to respond to severe winter weather conditions throughout the state,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott. “This disaster declaration provides Texas with additional resources and assistance that will help our communities respond to this winter weather.”

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