Beginning on Valentine’s Day, winter storm Uri bombarded Texas. Storms like these are known as generational events, meaning that they usually occur once in a lifetime. Texans were completely unprepared for the disaster that unfurled.
Various communities, rich and poor, were impacted by the snowstorm. They were stranded at home because their cars weren’t equipped with four-wheel drive. They had to huddle in front of their fireplace, if they had one, wrapped in blankets for warmth because their heating system was non-functional. They had to collect snow and boil it for clean drinking water. Some people rationed their food because there was nothing available at the grocery store. There were no snow plows or road salt to make the roads safe to drive on.
Thankfully, materials and machinery to help clean up the snow were shipped to Texas, and charities collected money to donate to Texans in need. As the weather warms and emergency supplies arrive, Texas is slowly bouncing back!
Texans take pride in their independence, which includes being disconnected from the national power grid. They rarely have to worry about winter storms, because they are so far south. A downside of being connected to the national power grid is taxes. Texas would have to pay a large sum of federal taxes to be connected to the power grid because it’s a large state. Check out this article by Martin Heintzelman to learn more about the Texas power grid and the role it played in this situation.
Cities in Texas are given a certain annual budget, which they need to spend on public works programs like roads, sanitation, and education. A major portion of the budget goes to preparing for floods; Texas is hit by hurricanes and floods in the late summer and autumn annually. If they dedicate this money to a winter storm that might not even happen, Texas could be unprepared for its yearly, devastating floods, which are of much more concern.
Texas needs to be prepared for winter storms in the future. Global warming is the primary cause of severe winter storms like Uri, which means these conditions will only get worse. Soon, Texas may be allotting larger parts of its budget to salt for icy roads rather than sandbags for hurricane floods.
Texas will bounce back from this disaster, but it will have to face some difficult financial choices in the future because of global warming. Winter storm Uri was a life-changing event for many Texans.
— Vienna Gurev