consecutive hours below freezing
colder than average in some areas
United States of America
people without electricity, infrastructure damaged / frozen
As a result, when yet another winter storm hit in 2021, Texas found itself hardly better prepared than before. A number of power facilities went offline due to the freezing temperatures; in fact, at one time 48 per cent of power generation capacity was offline. With record cold temperatures and poorly insulated homes, there was also a surge in demand for electricity. Since the Texas electric grid is isolated from the rest of the country, power could not come from anywhere else other than within Texas. Because demand soon exceeded supply, the electric companies had to rely on rolling blackouts, which effectively cut power for around 3.5 million Texans. Without power to heat their homes, 210 people died, mostly from hypothermia.
The same cold wave events also disrupted the delivery of electricity in Texas in 1989 and 2011, while jet stream disruptions in January/February 2021 caused energy crises in the European Union, China and Japan as Arctic temperatures moved south.
Emerging issues of critical infrastructure being caught unprepared for climate extremes.
Overall, the course of events was largely preventable: had power companies built in more resilience, most of the effects could have been prevented. But on a larger scale this is also a story of supply and demand.