Power Outage and Snow Storm Damage in Texas
It’s fair to say that the weather recently has been nothing like many of us have experienced before. There is one simple answer that can explain these intense low temperatures, and that is the polar vortex.
The polar vortex is a large area of cold air 15 to 30 miles high in the atmosphere and normally spins above the North Pole. It is usually held in place by a jet stream of winds, consisting of high and low pressure weather.
From time to time, something will slam against the top, weakening the system, which causes the cold air to escape from its Arctic home and send it south.
According to AP News, “It’s been happening more often, and scientists are still not completely sure why, but they suggest it’s a mix of natural random weather and human-caused climate change.”
Due to this extreme weather, there have been several deaths and power outages for about five million people across the country.
Texans have experienced as little as 0.1 inches to 9 inches of snowfall because of the disrupted polar vortex. The cold weather conditions are so bad in some areas that people have to sit in their cars to warm up as a result of the power outages. Many have resorted to barbecue grills and gasoline generators to stay warm as well.
They are also battling a water crisis as millions of homes and businesses are dealing with burst pipes and needing to boil water in order for it to be drinkable.
According to The New York Times, about 13 million Texans are being told to boil water for their safety as a result of burst pipes and broken water mains.
Due to the frozen pipes bursting, homes across Dallas and other cities are being destroyed by flooding. Ceilings are caving in and stairwells in apartment complexes are flooding, making them unlivable.
Slowly but surely, Texans are getting their power back on bit by bit as temperatures begin to rise.
Here are some ways to help winter storm relief in Texas.
The Austin Disaster Relief Network is accepting donations as well. Donations will go towards providing people with emergency housing, gift cards, and supplies.
Based in Austin, the area Urban League has started the #LoveThyNeighborTX campaign to raise money for hotel rooms, food, water, clothing and other basic needs.
Austin Pets Alive! Is working to keep pets across Texas warm and safe during these dangerously low temperatures. They are accepting monetary donations as well as supplies such as heating pads, styrofoam coolers, dog beds, and heat lamps.
The Houston Food Bank is collecting donations to help feed people. The organization says a total of 150 meals can be provided with a $50 donation.
In Lewisville, the Salvation Army is looking for food and supplies, including soap, towels, moisturizer, and gloves.