The Cold Snap: What is Happening in Texas?

Following the record-setting snowfall in Madrid, Spain in early January, we now have an extreme cold snap happening right now in Texas, USA.

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Photo from ABC News

The state was battered by a winter storm last week that left millions without electricity or water, as the demand for heat in homes overwhelmed the power grid. Winter Storm Uri, as it is now being called, brought single-digit temperatures to the Lone Star State, with wind chills reaching the negatives.

Citizens were instructed to boil water before using it; those who didn’t have the power to boil water would be directed to grocery stores, which were already suffering from severe stock shortages.

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A line to go into a grocery store in Austin, Texas
Photo from NY Times

The historic storm has caused a number of deaths statewide, with the Nguyen family being one of them. Jackie Pham Nguyen lost all three of her young children and her elderly mother in a fire after the family had lit a fireplace the night before.

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Jackie Nguyen’s mother, Loan, and three children, Colette, Edison, and Olivia
Photo from CNN

Other deaths include carbon monoxide poisoning, as people search for heat inside their cars, and hypothermia. Water pipes have burst or frozen altogether, and the incidence of house fires has risen dramatically.

These disastrous events have led United States President Joe Biden to sign a major disaster declaration that would allow more aid to reach Texas.

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Photo from IBT

Many have asked how this natural disaster could have ever happened, but the answer is quite clear — climate change. What’s happening in Texas now could be a precursor for what is to come in the near future.

No one could have imagined that the southern state of Texas, known for its simmering heat in the summer, would experience a winter storm of this proportion. The failure of the state’s power grid, water supply, and gas lines is very telling of how climate change could easily cripple modern society.

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A citizen collects snow to boil and melt for water to flush his toilets
Photo from NY Times

And apparently, this kind of weather (and the consequences) won’t let up.

As years go by, we should expect more polar vortexes in areas that shouldn’t be experiencing them, as well as intense heat, flooding, droughts among other extreme weather patterns.


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