Winter Storm Uri has devastated large parts of the American Southwest and Southeast this February, prompting a state of emergency declaration from President Joe Biden and a mobilization of relief to help Americans struggling with the fallout.
In total, the National Weather Service reported that 150 million Americans were under various winter storm warnings, with the heaviest impact on regions of the country historically unprepared for the freezing temperatures.
The effects were especially severe in Texas, where some of the coldest temperatures in 30 years led to cascading issues with electricity demand and energy supplies. Natural gas, coal, wind, nuclear, and solar energy sources were all impacted to some extent by the cold, as power operators failed to prepare for a record spike in electricity demand.
This led to more than 4.2 million customers without power across the state on February 16, between outages and scheduled rolling blackouts to cope with energy shortfalls. As the outages drag on, mutual aid groups and relief organizations have stepped in to feed, clothe, and house vulnerable residents.
While warmer weather is expected to ease the immediate strain on the state, Texans must now grapple with the lasting implications of the winter storm in light of the state’s infrastructure failures.