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Texas Slammed with Major Winter Storm

Electricity, water become scarce resources

Between 3-9 inches of snow fell in Texas, several times the average of 0.1 inches.
Illustration by April Kinney • The Sentry

In late February, a winter storm hit Texas and has been affecting residents and communities with the lack of basic resources to help them cope with the cold.  

For days, no water and electricity were available to the residents while the storm wreaked havoc on the state’s power grid and water services. Millions struggled with water supply, with more than 20,000 people living without water due to burst pipes. Time Magazine reported that millions were without electricity to stay warm during this cold, some for days. Some residents slept in their cars with their families to try and stay warm, and others managed to receive water from local wells and water trucks. 

Those that do receive electricity and water are now struggling with having to pay large bill statements from electric companies because of the increased demand. According to NPR, power companies were paying 75% more than usual for electricity. Those costs were reflected on residents’ bills, sometimes totaling thousands of dollars.

Not only were residents trying to stay warm, but marine life like sea turtles were stunned by the weather. Sea Turtles Inc., a non-profit sea turtle sanctuary, noted that the sudden, extreme weather threatened over 4,900 sea turtles. Volunteers have been trying to help gather endangered species of sea turtles to try and raise their body temperature by placing them in small plastic pools of water in warm buildings.  

Some scientists are connecting the winter storm to climate change in the arctic regions. Usually, people think of climate change as an area getting hotter, but scientists say that with heating happening in the arctics, a cold front is pushing south close to the US and Mexico border.  “This can’t be hand-waved away as if it’s entirely natural. This is happening not in spite of climate change, it’s in part due to climate change,” said Judah Cohen, director of seasonal forecasting at Atmospheric and Environmental Research, in an interview with The Guardian.  

The Guardian also states that normally the temperature in the polar region is colder in the north than below. Instead of jet streams staying in one direction, they have been wobbling due to the climate change, resulting in Texas becoming colder. It’s said that the polar vortex that carries cold air can take on different areas by stretching itself or splitting to a new area. There is still more research that is needed to be conducted and scientists are starting to have a closer look at the changes in weather patterns and the results that come from that.  

There have been slow improvements from the state in getting electricity back, but there is still the struggle of making water accessible for everyone. Some low-income communities have been really impacted and have received little to no help in getting resources like food back to people, and small businesses are still waiting for water and electricity to come back. There have been some improvements in getting resources for people and community support from people offering needed services to others in this historic event for the state of Texas, but also in all the nation as well.

This is a selection from the March 10 issue. To view the full issue, visit: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/289566932/

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