The temperature in North Texas dropped from 60 degrees on New Year’s Eve Fahrenheit to a sharp 20 degrees on New Year’s Day. This is the first hard freeze Texas has seen since winter storm Uri in February, 2021.
Texans are stocking up on winter essentials, and warming shelters are opening up across north Texas.
What can we do to prepare in the event of another big freeze in Texas? Here’s what you need to know as we plunge into the remainder of winter.
ERCOT says “we’re ready”
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) reportedly completed onsite inspections to ensure that their recent “mandatory winterization efforts” have prepared the state adequately in the event of another big freeze.
ERCOT is assuring the Texas Public Utilities Commission that the grid is prepared for the winter season ahead, after the electric supply and electric grid serving 26 million people in Texas failed to sustain itself during the last winter:
ERCOT has filed a preliminary summary inspection report with the Public Utility Commission of Texas and will submit its final inspection report on January 18, 2022 for review and any potential enforcement action. Earlier this year the Legislature increased the maximum penalties for violating weatherization rules to $1,000,000 per day per violation.
“Texans can be confident the electric generation fleet and the grid are winterized and ready to provide power,” said Woody Rickerson, Vice President of Grid Planning and Weatherization. “New regulations require all electric generation and transmission owners to make significant winterization improvements and our inspections confirm they are prepared.”ERCOT news release, December 31, 2021
According to ERCOT, only ten generation resources of the 302 inspected had items “identified on the day of inspection requiring correction.” Additionally, ERCOT inspected 22 transmission station facilities and found that six had “potential identified deficiencies, most of which have already been corrected.”
ERCOT says it will conduct follow-up inspections on these facilities that initially showed potential issues.
ABC13 reported that despite this optimistic outlook, concern has been raised over the non-regulatory (if existent) approach to winterizing natural gas supply. This probably won’t be prioritized until 2023, thanks to a new law in effect.
“No precipitation is expected”: A glance at the chilly week ahead
Things are about to get chilly, but don’t expect to see any white stuff.
NBC 5 Senior Meteorologist David Finfrock said that after Sunday’s hard freeze, we can expect to see “a rebound to the 60s on Tuesday. But another cold front will arrive around mid-day on Wednesday, and temperatures will fall quickly once again, and remain chilly for the rest of the week.”
What you should do in cae of another Texas freeze
- Stay informed of weather conditions as they develop
- In the event of ice, stay off of the roads
- Layer your clothing
- Keep bottled water on hand
- Supplement your water supply (for flushing) by filling your bathtub
- Preserve warmth in your home by closing window blinds and putting cloth or towels under doors