The chaos brought on by freezing temperatures has underlined how the power grid in Texas is much more fragile than anyone ever imagined. When the chillwave hit the state, demand for energy soared to unprecedented levels. But, on the other hand, nearly half of the wind turbines that the state relies upon completely froze, and the rest of the system simply wasn’t able to meet the enormous increase in demand. Approximately 15 million Texan homes were affected and hundreds of thousands of them remain without power right now. However, the situation could’ve been much worse if grid operators haven’t cut the power immediately after they realized something was going terribly wrong with the system.
Grid operators noticed the system was overwhelmed and could collapse at any moment, so they had to act quickly to cut the amount of power distributed. If operators had not promptly acted, Texas could have suffered blackouts that could have occurred for months, and left the state in an indeterminately long crisis. America is literally falling apart all around us, and as our population has grown and our infrastructure has aged, our performance has been decaying with each passing year. Just as problematic as the energy system, our water systems are also very fragile.
In Texas, the cold weather caused thousands of pipes to burst, and at least 13.5 million people are facing water disruptions, as 797 water systems throughout the state reported issues such as frozen or broken pipes. To make matters even worse, access to fresh drinking water is also becoming increasingly scarce in Texas, with roughly 725 systems under a boil water advisory, Baker revealed during a press conference Thursday. So people are having to make the desperate choice between going thirsty or facing possible illness.
Shortages of food and other essential supplies are also being reported in Texas, and the cold weather could potentially cause huge damages to the state’s agricultural sector. For that reason, officials warned that the storm could hamper food access for weeks to come. At the moment, extremely long lines have been forming at local supermarkets all over the state. Meanwhile, several county officials across Texas revealed to be coming up with strategies to feed and bring water to those devastated by the storm. The Harris county executive, Lina Hidalgo, said she’s tremendously worried about the lack of drinkable water in her community. “It’s not just a weather emergency,” Hidalgo said. “This is a multifaceted disaster.”
In short, the power shortage has broadened to the point it triggered food, water and health crises. When we take into account the amount of damage registered in just a few days, and the lack of preparation of our authorities to promptly mitigate the crisis, we wonder what would happen to us if a steep long-term national emergency disrupted food, water, and power systems for months. This time, all it took to spark so much turmoil and result in a domino effect of outages and shortages was a cold wave. Needless to say, eventually, much worse troubles will unfold in our nation, but it has become clear that we are not ready to handle our issues. So you should get prepared while you still can, because time is running out.
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