Cold wave in the United States: millions of people without electricity
Sylvie Claire / February 18, 2021
A cold spell affects part of the United States, including Texas. - 9 degrees on Monday in Houston is 25 degrees below seasonal temperatures. And there was- 18 degrees in some areas. Never seen in more than thirty years. These temperatures are causing major power outages. More than three million homes are without power. 42% of the energy is usually supplied by wind turbines. Some have frozen. In addition, the electricity network is obsolete and the companies organize voluntary power cuts to avoid overheating.
Millions of Americans were left without power on Wednesday as a result of an intense cold snap that spread across large parts of the United States and is expected to last through the weekend.
The U.S. weather service, the National Weather Service (NWS), said Wednesday that more than 100 million Americans in the Midwest are affected by winter storm warnings of varying severity. The cold air mass from the Arctic is beginning to clear, the NWS said, but freezing temperatures are expected to remain between 11 and 19.5 degrees Celsius below seasonal normals in the central part of the United States, the meteorologists wrote.
More than 30 winter weather-related deaths were reported across the country according to U.S. media reports, and authorities urged Americans to be cautious. The energy companies have made a series of partial shutdowns since this weekend to avoid overheating the entire system due to peaks in demand. According to the site Poweroutage.us, which lists the power cuts in the United States, more than 2.3 million homes and businesses in Texas were without electricity Wednesday night.
The shortage of electricity has been aggravated by the shutdown of several gas-fired power plants and wind turbines due to icy conditions. Outside of Texas, residents were also deprived of electricity through Oregon (northwest), Louisiana (south), Mississippi (south), Kentucky (east-central), Ohio (northeast), West Virginia (east) and Virginia (east).
Up to 73% of the United States, excluding Hawaii, Alaska and other non-land territories, was covered with snow during the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, according to the NWS. That's a record since these measurements began in 2003. The extreme conditions also led to several tornadoes, including one that struck the southeastern United States in North Carolina on Monday night, killing three people and injuring ten.