USA snow: Winter storm tightens grip in southern states

Brunilde Fioravanti
Febbraio 16, 2021

Responding to a request from Governor Greg Abbott, President Joe Biden granted a federal emergency declaration for all 254 counties in the state on Sunday, authorising U.S. agencies to coordinate disaster relief from severe weather in Texas.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said more than 150 million Americans were now under winter storm warnings.

A storm sweeping the Pacific Northwest produced heavy snow, ice accumulation and freezing rain over the weekend and left hundreds of thousands of people in OR and Washington without power as of Monday.

As such, over 320,000 power outages were reported across OR with Portland General Electric reporting the majority of power outages, affecting 280,000 customers as of Monday at noon and Pacific Power reporting the second highest number of outages with 40,000 affected customers.

Icy roads have led to a spate of traffic accidents. A pile-up on a major highway near Oklahoma City during a snowstorm on Sunday left several lorries on fire.

While northern Texas is no stranger to snowfall, the southern part of the state doesn't often get accumulation.

"Typically, we just don't have quite this much cold air in place that far south", he said.

President Joe Biden granted a federal emergency declaration for all 254 counties in the state on Sunday.

The spot price of electricity on the Texas power grid spiked more than 10,000 per cent on Monday, according to data on the grid operator's website.

"Severe wind and ice conditions caused extensive damage to the electric system, with utilities reporting thousands of downed power lines, as well as damage to transmission lines and substations", Brown said in a statement issued on Sunday.

Wind generation ranks as the second-largest source of energy in Texas, accounting for 23% of state power supplies past year, behind natural gas, which represented 45%, according to ERCOT figures.

A level three emergency notice was issued by the regulator, urging customers to limit power usage and prevent an uncontrolled system-wide outage.

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