It’s been over a week since the winter storm Uri first began to make its mark on Texas. The winter storm raged over most of the Lone Star counties, bringing snow and ice that caused severe power outages, water disruptions, and other issues.
On Monday, nearly half of the continental U.S. states reached temperatures below zero degrees. All 254 counties in the state were under a winter storm warning.
Heavy snowfall, ice, and record low temperatures hit the state all throughout the week. Historic lows were reached in Dallas dropping to five degrees, the first time in over 30 years. Electric blackouts started to creep over the state, and several citizens went to extreme measures in hopes to stay warm.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which works on about 90% of the state’s electricity, struggled to keep up and return power to the over 3.4 million in Texas. A warning to boil water was also sent out.
Water pipes began to burst and freeze, just in time as the temperatures plunged once again as homes remained unheated. Grocery stores became empty and food that needs to be refrigerated quickly went bad.
At the tail end of the week on Saturday, President Biden gave approval for a major disaster declaration in Texas, allowing increased federal supplies to be sent in. Over 15 million people had been hit by water disruption issues as pipes continued to prove unreliable. Citizens melted snow to flush their toilets.
Now, in the week afterwards, Texas is still in the aftermath of the storm. The Texas Tribune reported that the cost of damage exceeds that from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Ike. Specifically, Hurricane Ike cost around $30 billion, Harvey cost around $125 billion, and winter storm Uri is projected to cost $200 billion.
The storm’s damage is spread all over the state, instead of mainly the coast with hurricanes. Water pipes are damaged, roads frozen over and cracked, and crops ruined for the year in advance. Power outages are still occurring in homes even after the peak of the storm has ceased.
Not to mention the several are still without clean drinking water. The storm has also slowed COVID-19 vaccination rates, with limited resources and hospitals taking in new priorities as thousands stream in with injuries and emergencies from storm-related accidents.
With all luck, storm recovery will proceed quickly through the whole state. Texas may not be off to a good start to 2021, but there are still many more months to go.