Do You Remember Winter Storm Uri?

The high temperature in Houston, Texas one year ago today was 72 degrees. No one enjoying the splendid weather in the Deep South that day had any idea what was coming.

But then a major winter and ice storm swept into the South. And then raced east and north. Named "Winter Storm Uri" by the Weather Channel, it caused unprecedented damage.

Nearly 10 million people in the U.S and Mexico lost power during the February 13-17 extreme weather event. More than 170 million Americans were placed under a variety of winter weather alerts. They were issued by the National Weather Service.

America had not seen so many blackouts caused by one storm since 2003. It was the costliest winter storm on record ($195 billion in the U.S.). And it resulted in more deaths (at least 237) than any storm since 1993.

Bone-Chilling Cold

For many in Texas and other parts of the South, the record cold was crippling. And life-threatening. Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas experienced temperatures not seen in decades. Thanks to the southern migration of the polar vortex

On February 15, 2021, it was colder in Houston, Texas than in Houston, Alaska. And Oklahoma City experienced its coldest morning since 1899.

With no power to heat homes, water pipes froze and burst. Icicles hung from kitchen faucets in Houston. Ambulances in San Antonio were unable to meet the demand.

Galveston officials called for refrigerated trucks. Their purpose? To hold bodies they expected to find in homes without power.

Grid Was Minutes From Failing

On February 14, Texas established a winter peak demand record for electricity. Temperatures fell into the single digits. Or lower in some areas.

In Houston, warming centers were forced to close because they lost power. Walmart closed more than 350 stores in Texas and other states. The Texas grid simply was unable to provide needed power.

Temperature drops increased the demand for electricity. But cold and ice kept the supply of energy – especially natural gas – from being delivered.

U.S. Representative Marc Veasey of Texas said an industry executive told him this. The power grid was minutes from failing on February 15. Only rolling outages saved it.

Severe Cold = Power Outages

A record-low temperature of minus-2 degrees was recorded at the Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport.

Much of the power equipment in Texas was not winterized. So widespread power outages occurred.

Des Moines, Iowa recorded a temperature of 17 degrees below zero on February 16. It was 30 below in Hastings, Nebraska.

In Little Rock Arkansas, the temperature plummeted to minus-1 degree. That was the coldest day since 1989. It was 20 below in Fayetteville.

Storm Moved East

As the storm moved east, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama were hit hard as well. More than 109,000 lost power in Louisiana. Over 60,000 in Mississippi suffered blackouts.

Other states were also struck. People in Kansas were urged to conserve energy as a state of disaster emergency was declared.

The unprecedented demand for electricity strained Oklahoma's electrical grid. And its natural gas infrastructure.

The storm even caused damage and injuries in Georgia and Florida. Including from tornadoes spawned by the storm.

Overall, power outages were reported in 15 states. Including North Carolina, Kentucky and West Virginia. Plus Virginia, Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio.

Icy Roads Impassable

Not surprisingly, countless drivers were affected. Accidents and icy roads led to Interstate 10 being shut down. Between Baton Rouge and Lafayette, Louisiana.

Across seven Louisiana parishes, nearly every major road was closed in both directions. Due to icy roadways.

Prior to the closures, there were numerous accidents. Including a 14-vehicle pileup involving three jackknifed semi-tractor trailers.

In Mississippi, ice was reported on roads and bridges in 66 counties. Traffic was at a standstill in many places. Due to accidents and vehicles sliding off roads.

In northern Alabama, a 20-vehicle pileup blocked both directions on U.S. Highway 231. Houston police were trying to deal with 134 traffic crashes.

Snow Coverage Set Record

By February 16, nearly 75 percent of the lower 48 United States was blanketed in snow. That was the highest percentage since NOAA began tracking it in 2011.

Even in areas of the country where cold weather is the norm this time of year, roads and schools were closed. Flights and sporting events were canceled.

Many who experienced power losses shivered at home. Or tried to find open warming centers.

It was warm enough in part of the Southeast to avoid snow. But large hail, damaging winds and five tornadoes affected five states.

Are You Ready for Another Uri?

So, what's the point of rehashing this monumental weather event one year later? The point is to remind you that it could happen again. Anytime and anywhere.

Simply put, people who are prepared for extreme weather with backup power and other supplies are much better able to deal with an emergency.

We've already had considerable weather problems just in the last few weeks. Maybe there won't be another Winter Storm Uri this month. But maybe there will be. Are you prepared for it?

You will be with your Patriot Power Cells. Right now, you get dibs on a Buy 3, Get 1 FREE deal on these "pocket-sized power plants."

You'll be able to charge your phone and tablet to get critical news & updates, or stay in touch with loved ones or first responders in an emergency.

This Buy 3 Get 1 FREE deal ends on 2/13 at midnight CST, so don't wait.

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  • Cherie - February 20, 2022

    I totally agree with you on the green deal. You are correct in that the windmills froze up and were not providing any energy. I will continue to make myself more self-reliant as our govt is not moving toward anything that will truly be a source of dependable energy for us.

  • RUBEN VALDEZ - February 10, 2022

    If I’m not mistaken, correct me if I am, but when you mentioned the Texas power grid was failing in this article I did not see you mention about the windmills that froze thus also failing to give power to the grid. Aren’t the windmills part of the green new deal that the federal government wants all states to adopt? I think it will be a massive failure. If we have to have it why not also keep the fossil fuel energy as well just in case. Two systems are better to have in case of unexpected emergencies like this one. And also the government should also start implementing the hardening of our nations electrical grid and militarize it meaning hardening (protecting it) to the maximum capacity but I think you know a lot more about this than I would know. I only heard about this on Fox News which is the only major news outlet I watch. I consider the other news organizations to be fake news. The green new deal scares the hell out of me I think it will lead to disaster. Just my thoughts. I hate windmills, they make a lot of noise and kill many birds.

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