70,000 without power in Texas due to massive storm
Severe winter weather has left nearly 70,000 Texans without power as of Thursday morning, as freezing temperatures continue to move eastward across the U.S.
According to poweroutage.us, another 24,000 customers in Arkansas have also lost power. These outages comes roughly one year after massive power outages swept across the Lone Star State, resulting in over 200 deaths and prompting criticisms of the state’s preparedness against colder temperatures.
The National Weather Service said on Thursday that “an ongoing significant winter storm is expected to impact much of the central and Northeastern U.S. through Friday night.” Additionally, the agency forecast that a “corridor of heavy ice accumulation is likely from Texas through the Ohio River Valley.”
NWS Fort Worth said on Twitter that Hunt, Fannin and Collin County in northwestern Texas received the highest amount of freezing rain and ice overnight. Winds are expected to increase on Thursday and tree breakage will continue to occur.
Several roads in North Texas are covered in ice and sleet, and the NWS warned that conditions would not improve despite the precipitation letting up, due to continued cold temperatures and cloudy skies.
“Wintry precipitation will come to and end from west to east during the day today, but NO MELTING will occur due to temperatures staying well below freezing and skies remaining cloudy,” NWS Fort Worth said.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s power grid, on Wednesday issued a winter weather watch set to end on Tuesday.
“ERCOT is using all the tools available to manage the grid effectively during this winter weather,” ERCOT interim CEO Brad Jones said in a statement. “ERCOT will deploy all the resources and aggressively implement the tools available to us to manage the grid reliably during this winter weather.”
Earlier this week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) warned that power outages could be a possibility this week, but said he did not expect the rolling blackouts of last year.
“No one can guarantee that there won’t be a ‘load shed event.’ But what we will work and strive to achieve, and what we’re prepared to achieve, is that the power is gonna stay on across the entire state,” he said on Tuesday.
In a statement on Wednesday, Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) Chairman Peter Lake said, “The grid is ready, and the lights will stay on for Texans.”
“We have in place monumental reforms requiring winterization of electric generation and transmission operations and programs that will make more power available more quickly when needed,” said Lake.
The PUC said that while local outages will likely occur, due to incidents like falling trees or ice on electrical lines, they will not be related to wider grid-related events.
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