How cold it gets in Texas

Extreme cold has got Texas under control, leaving millions of people without electricity

An extraordinary arctic cold weather front causes the thermometer to drop to minus 39 degrees in several American states. Texas, where the disaster was declared, is particularly hard hit.

The collapse of an Arctic cold front far into the south of the USA has led to catastrophic conditions. With temperatures down to minus 39 degrees and snowfall, there were massive problems with the power supply. As a result, millions of households in Texas are without electricity. The network agency of the member state has announced rotating shutdowns of parts of the network in order to prevent a complete breakdown of the supply. The southern state is not used to icy winter weather, so the snowstorm led to chaos in parts of the country.

Disaster declared

The Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared the disaster and said that the strength of the winter storm was "unprecedented" in the history of the state. In Washington, President Joe Biden has now created the conditions for additional federal aid by officially declaring an emergency for Texas. National Guard units have been activated in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas to rescue stuck motorists. In Texas, according to the governor's instructions, national guards are supposed to help bring freezing people from their homes to one of the 135 "warmth centers" that have been set up. There are also around 3,300 police officers, members of military units, all-wheel drive vehicles from the forest administration and several hundred snow plows.

In large parts of the state, residents have to deal with unusual masses of snow and ice. Media reported that some of the power outages were due to frozen wind turbines. Wind power is an important source of energy in Texas. Because of the harsh winter weather, the airport in the metropolis Houston had to close until Tuesday noon, at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport there were numerous cancellations, in Austin all flights were temporarily canceled.

The Texan authorities urged all citizens to stay in their houses and apartments because of snowy and icy roads. The Mayor of Houston asked all residents who still have electricity to turn down their heating in order to stabilize the grid. The prevailing cold even goes beyond extreme scenarios for which Texas has made provisions, said the operations manager of a network operator. The cold wave has claimed two lives so far. The two dead were found on streets in the Houston area. The cause of death is still unclear. However, the authorities assumed that they died because of the low temperatures.

Cold record in Minnesota with minus 39 degrees

The governor of Kansas, Laura Kelly, declared a disaster at temperatures of minus 34 degrees Celsius. In the state of Minnesota, a cold record was measured with minus 39 degrees, in Sioux Falls in South Dakota the thermometer sank to minus 26 degrees. Most authorities and schools were closed on Presidents ’Day, a public holiday, on Monday. However, numerous traffic accidents were reported, 75 in Louisiana alone that were attributed to weather conditions. The Kentucky governor warned its citizens about unnecessary journeys

The unusual weather situation with a cold weather front advancing far south is said to last at least the whole of Tuesday and also have an impact on states in the northeast of the USA. Even Mexico was affected: In the states of Nuevo León, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Durango and Zacatecas, almost five million households were temporarily without electricity on Monday, as the state electricity provider CFE explained. And even pipelines have frozen over, which is why the gas supply has been interrupted.