The Texas Winter storm and Power Outage: How and Why it Happened

Exactly three weeks ago today, the media was agog with the shocking and alarming news of a terrible winter storm in Texas. This catastrophe claimed 70 lives and put that of nearly half a million others at risk, as people struggled to stay warm and get enough food and clean water to survive amidst the state-wide blackout and freezing temperatures. Today, we'll be discussing what really went down in Texas last month. 

Snowfall isn't a strange event in the U.S. no doubt, but this particular event was strange because of the extreme degrees the snowstorm came with, not to mention that Texas is usually one of the hottest regions over there. Now, some suggested that it was a good development, to see cold in a location experiencing global warming, but in fact, the opposite is the case. 

This is because a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, thereby increasing the risk of heavy precipitation of various storm types, including snowstorms. This means that the warmer a place is in summer, the colder it will be in winter, with much more devastating effects. It is a case of extremes simply birthing more extremes, nothing less. 

The root cause of this problem are the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere daily, which lead to global warming as they trap heat in the atmosphere. This causes rapid and disproportionate warming of the Arctic region, a phenomenon known as Arctic Amplification, resulting in the disruption of the polar vortex, which in turn leads to severe winter weather in mid-latitude regions. 

This was practically what happened in Texas. It may surprise you to know that this exact event happened before in Texas in February, 2011. It took exactly a decade to resurface, the only difference now is that it may become more frequent going forward. That is, of course, if we don't find solutions to the problem. 

Now, let's bring the discussion home shall we? While Texas was having its share of the weather changes, we, here in Nigeria, were not left out of the party. It was so strange experiencing heatwaves one day and harmattan the next day, just like that. How did harmattan come back in February? This is what we'll talk about next week. Until then, stay safe and jiggy. 

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