By: Kate Porcello
Across the country, news of the weather and power outages in Texas has been spreading rapidly. Throughout the week, many areas in Texas suffered from freezing weather and snow storms. Residents found themselves unprepared for the situation, as it is uncommon weather for the state.
From Sunday February 14th to Monday February 15th, a snow storm moved across northern Texas, accumulating anywhere from 2.5 to even 9 inches depending on the area. From Tuesday evening to Wednesday morning, more snow fell, adding to the layer that had not yet melted from the previous snowfall. Residents were shocked and unprepared for the weather, and unfortunately, 26 civilians died in Texas since the weather turned for the worse on February 11th. The temperature in Dallas, Texas reached a record breaking low of 5 degrees fahrenheit, which created life threatening situations for those without power. It is predicted that warmer temperatures will return in the coming weeks, reaching the mid 60s or 70s.
The state as a whole was greatly affected by the stormy weather and freezing temperatures. As millions of homes had no power, families were forced to sleep in their cars, huddle together around a fire, and find other ways to keep warm. Grocery stores were emptied as residents searched for food and necessary supplies. The frigid temperatures caused pipes to burst in many Texas households which led to problems with having access to clean drinking water. The snow also brought delays in COVID-19 vaccine shipments and shut down food banks that many people had relied on throughout the pandemic.
Over the past few days, power was restored to about 2 million residents, although 325,000 are still left without electricity because of downed power lines, trees, and other objects. Texas relies on its own electricity grid which was a big contributor to this disaster.
Amid the chaos and confusion in Texas, Senator Ted Cruz left the state to fly to Cancun, Mexico on February 18th. Cruz claimed that, “It was obviously a mistake. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it. I was trying to be a dad.”. Despite this statement, the Texas governor received harsh criticism and much backlash as residents struggled to stay warm in their dark homes. He returned home almost immediately and claimed that his home had lost power as well.
Alternatively, Representative Ocasio-Cortez helped to raise $4 million in an effort to grant relief and aid to Texans. Cortez flew to Texas on Saturday to help fill boxes at Houston Food Bank along with Representatives Sylvia Garcia and Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. The money and donations went to local organizations that gave food assistance, homelessness relief, and elder care to Texas residents. She stated, “When disaster strikes, this is not just an issue for Texans; this is an issue for our entire country… our whole country needs to come and rally together behind the needs of Texans all across this state.”.