Winter storm: Texas officials say power will stay on as residents brace for impact

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Winter storm: Texas officials say power will stay on as residents brace for impact

Texas residents are bracing for ice and below-freezing temperatures from a large and dangerous winter storm. This week, nearly a year after a deadl

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Texas residents are bracing for ice and below-freezing temperatures from a large and dangerous winter storm. 

This week, nearly a year after a deadly freeze buckled the state’s power grid in one of the worst blackouts in U.S. history, Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters that the state would be ready. 

“No one can guarantee that there won’t be any” outages caused by demand on the power grid, the governor said Tuesday. “But what we will work to achieve, and what we’re prepared to achieve is that power is going to stay on across the entire state.”

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Abbott had previously told Austin’s KTBC that “the lights will stay on” for the winter and warned that thousands of miles of roads would become “extraordinarily dangerous” over the coming days. 

The governor said the highest demand for power would be on Friday morning but that “at least 99%, if not more, of the power generators in Texas have passed inspection or are fully operational,” according to the station.

On Twitter, he urged residents to “closely monitor weather conditions & heed guidance from state & local officials over the next few days.”

“We are ready for this storm. We’ll be prepared for this,” Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) interim president and CEO Brad Jones assured, echoing comments made in the organization’s final winterization report on Jan. 18 and noting that the grid manager has been working for the last year to ensure the grid is more reliable than ever before.

Energy experts told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the forecast should not pose a challenge for the Texas grid.

No large-scale power outages were reported Wednesday morning in Texas, according to tracker PowerOutage.US.

While the forecast does not call for the same prolonged and frigid temperatures as the February 2021 freeze, the oncoming storm has sparked concerns.

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On the same day, airlines canceled hundreds of flights and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport said Wednesday that flights there could be delayed. 

“AUS is monitoring forecasts to prepare for icy conditions on Thursday,” it said. 

Flight tracker FlightAware showed more than 700 delays and 1,500 cancellations within, into or out of the U.S. on Wednesday.

Additionally, there were multiple reports of school district closures in northern and central Texas.

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The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) has a winter weather webpage on tdem.texas.gov and is hosting daily statewide weather briefings. The governor’s office said TDEM Mass Care would be stationing water and meals ready to eat at resource staging areas across the state.

According to Fox Weather, the nearly 3,000-mile storm – extending from Texas and the Plains to the Midwest and Northeast – will impact more than 100 million Americans, who are under warnings, watches and advisories, through Friday.

Ice accumulations from freezing rain are possible over an expansive area from Texas to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, the Ohio Valley and the interior Northeast.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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