A deadly winter storm has led to an unprecedented level of snowfall and record-breaking low temperatures that have paralyzed much of Texas. The unusual weather conditions were caused by changes in the jetstream that ushered in Arctic air across much of the United States. That saw temperatures in Dallas sink lower than in Anchorage, Alaska, with the city also receiving seven inches of the snow. It was the first time Dallas had more than one inch of the stuff in six years.
The extreme weather conditions caused chaos in the state’s power grid with wind turbines shut down due to ice and water necessary for keeping many coal and gas-fired power plants freezing, resulting in some of them going offline. One nuclear unit in southern Texas was also reportedly offline, as was America’s largest oil refinery which shut down on Monday. 60 percent of homes in Texas require electricity for heating and the excess demand led to millions of people experiencing power cuts.
Website PowerOutage.us tracks U.S. blackouts and its data shows that 4,325,000 customers in Texas were cut off when the situation reached its peak a 10:22:28 AM EST yesterday. The storm also impacted other states but as this infographic shows, the impact on electricity was not as severe. Texas also struggled as it operates its own independent power grid, meaning it did not have the ability to import extra energy to compensate for its losses. As of Tuesday evening, at least three million people in Texas were still in the dark.