Brutal cold hung over Texas and the central United States on Tuesday, after a huge winter storm swept the region.






Low temperatures

below 0°F

Lowest temperatures forecast

Sunday through Tuesday

Low temperatures

below 0°F

Lowest temperatures forecast

Sunday through Tuesday

Lowest temperatures forecast

Sunday through Tuesday

Low temperatures

below 0°F

Lowest temperatures forecast

Sunday through Tuesday

Low temperatures

below 0°F

Low temperatures

below 0°F

Lowest temperatures forecast

Sunday through Tuesday


The storm brought chaos to parts of the country not used to severe winter weather. At least 23 people died across four states, with icy roads creating treacherous conditions.

[For the latest updates, follow our live coverage of the storm.]


Tuesday’s Temperatures Were Far Colder Than Average





Temperatures

20-40°F

below average

Temperatures

40°F or more

below average

Degrees cooler than the

1979 to 2000 average

Temperatures

20-40°F

below average

Temperatures

40°F or more

below average

Degrees cooler than the 1979 to 2000 average

Degrees cooler than the 1979 to 2000 average

Temperatures

20-40°F

below average

Temperatures

40°F or more

below average

Degrees cooler than the 1979 to 2000 average

Temperatures

20-40°F

below average

Temperatures

40°F or more

below average

Temperatures

20-40°F

below average

Temperatures

40°F or more

below average

Degrees cooler than the

1979 to 2000 average


Sources: ClimateReanalyzer.org, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine | Note: The map shows the difference between the current day’s forecasted temperature and the 1979-2000 mean for the same day of the year.

Millions more are facing the freezing cold without heat, as grid operators have been forced to cut power on a rolling basis to avoid wider blackouts.

In Texas, the hardest-hit state, more than 3 million homes and businesses remained without electricity on Tuesday evening, according to PowerOutage.us, which aggregates live power data from utilities, down from 4.4 million earlier in the day. Hundreds of thousands of electricity customers in other states were also without power.


Texas Experienced Widespread Power Outages After the Storm





Percentage of customers without power

Percentage of customers without power

Percentage of customers without power

Percentage of customers without power


Source: PowerOutage.us | Data as of 5:15 p.m. Eastern time.

Controlled power outages began overnight on Sunday and into Monday in Texas, as the state’s grid operator sought to balance a surge in demand and a shortage of supply.

Just as electricity use soared — with Texans looking to beat back the cold by turning up their heaters — the state lost a portion of its generating capacity. Some natural gas and coal plants were knocked offline by the cold, and icy conditions stymied wind turbines too.

“This is certainly a freak anomaly storm,” said Thomas Overbye, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. “A lot of our thermal plants, our natural gas plants, are not set up to deal with this sort of cold.”

“How much the generation should be prepared for these sorts of temperatures is something I’m sure will be investigated very shortly,” Dr. Overbye said. But “the key right now is to get as much generation back online as possible.”



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