Will Texas Grid collapse again? Larger arctic explosion predicted for Christmas

Reports of cold weather are enough to make even the toughest Texans freeze in fear. The incoming Arctic blast, which is expected to make landfall before Christmas, is no exception, and some have concerns about whether the state’s power grid can withstand the extreme cold.

The idea of ​​a white Christmas is sure to warm some hearts, but many Texans still remember when the state’s power grid went out during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021.

news week reported Friday that Houston may be hit by the coldest holiday weather since 1983, with temperatures plummeting to 29 degrees. The biting air will be blown in from Siberia and is expected to hit the Lone Star State by midweek.

Texans in the Dallas-Fort Worth area should expect cold weather, falling below freezing, according to David Bonnette, a forecaster with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Fort Worth.

Arctic Blast, Texas, Christmas, Power Grid, ERCOT
A person goes skiing on February 18, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. Christmas decorations can be seen as an inset. The incoming Arctic blast, which is expected to make landfall before Christmas, is no exception, and some are concerned about whether Texas’ power grid can withstand the extreme cold after it failed during last year’s winter storm Uri.
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images; Franco Origlia/Getty Images

“It looks like our cold temperatures will kick in Wednesday night through Thursday,” Bonnette said news week on Saturday. “And then they stay here for at least a couple of days… So a couple of days before Christmas Eve, and then we should expect the cooler temperatures to continue into Christmas.”

There’s also a slim chance the Dallas-Fort Worth area could see a mix of rain and snow on Thursday, Bonnette added. However, most of the winter weather will likely remain in the north of the region.

But should the Texans fret over another potential grid outage?

“I don’t know if I would say worry,” Bonnette explained. “I would just say that you should know that for when the temperatures get cold just to plan in case the power goes out. That is the most important advice we can give.”

Freezing or near-freezing temperatures could hit the south-central Texas region late next week, according to Friday’s Fox Weather.

Texas’ power grid was perilously close to total collapse on February 15, 2021: four minutes and 37 seconds away, to be exact, according to local news station KXAN. If that had happened, experts say it would have been months before electricity could be restored to millions of people.

Hundreds of Texans lost their lives during Winter Storm Uri, with the state’s final body count standing at 246.

Frozen equipment at natural gas plants and power plants was blamed for the massive power outage, Fox Weather reported. However, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has said it has taken the necessary measures to prepare for future winter storms.

“ERCOT is closely monitoring the forecasts and models and will use all available tools to reliably manage the network,” the agency told Fox Weather on Friday. “ERCOT currently expects sufficient production to cover the forecast demand.”

In September, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott expressed his confidence in the network’s readiness for the fall. His office also said the state has taken “unprecedented steps” to protect the power system since Uri, according to The Texas Tribune.

However, the Austin American statesman reported in October that a federal report found that the state’s power grid “remained almost as vulnerable to extreme winter weather as it was” during the “Great Texas Freeze.”

After the storm, Texas leaders “enacted only modest grid reforms,” ​​wrote Adrian Shelley, Public Citizen’s Texas office chief news week Saturday. They could have strengthened transmission lines, invested in energy storage, and reduced energy demand through efficiency.

“Instead, they let energy companies off the hook and mostly let them fix the problems they create,” Shelley said. “Texans are concerned, as evidenced by the constant reassurances from grid managers at ERCOT. If this year’s Arctic blast brings another severe winter storm, we’ll have the Texan leadership to thank for another disaster.”

https://www.newsweek.com/will-texas-grid-collapse-again-major-arctic-blast-predicted-christmas-1767922 Will Texas Grid collapse again? Larger arctic explosion predicted for Christmas

Rick Schindler

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