The Texas Blackout is a Man-Made Disaster of Epic Proportions

David BrrearleyFebruary 22, 2021
Excerpted from pvmagazine
By David Brearley, TXSES Board Member

 

As my wife and I melted snow this past week to flush the toilets in our 100-year-old East Austin home, located a short walking distance from the Texas State Capitol, it occurred to me more than once that the slope from pride to hubris is slippery and treacherous, much like the steps out our front door and streets all across our frozen and paralyzed state.

Texas Capitol in the snow

Texas capitol. Image: David Brearley

For three days we had no heat or power as overnight lows fell to 5°F (-15°C). A week later, line crews were still restoring power to some homes and businesses.

Cruel metrics

Based on a cruel combination of metrics, the Arctic air that wobbled down from the North Pole and parked itself over Texas is a clear contender for the worst winter storm in a century.

  • In terms of severity, few winter storms over the past 100 years have notched colder freezing temperatures.
  • In terms of duration, few freeze events have lasted as long without breaking.
  • In terms of extent, for the first time ever all 254 counties in Texas—a state that is two time zones wide—were simultaneously subject to a winter storm warning. It was colder in Dallas, Texas, than in Anchorage, Alaska.

This was a record-breaking storm that likely inflicted record-insured losses. Many insurance industry experts and associations already project that this winter storm will constitute the largest insurance claim event in Texas history, both in terms of the cumulative number and the total value of claims.

Read the article in its entirety.