Arctic Air Brings Dangerous Cold to U.S., Could Test Texas Grid

A graphical forecast released by the National Weather Service
A graphical forecast released by the National Weather Service on Dec. 21, 2022. NOAA
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A bomb cyclone of Arctic air is descending on the lower 48 states, bringing with it life-threatening extreme cold, heavy snow and rain, and blizzard conditions.

The National Weather Service office in Buffalo, NY — no stranger to extreme winter weather — described it as a “once in a generation winter storm.” The coldest temperatures in decades will send wind chills as low as -70°F in eastern Wyoming and the Eastern Seaboard will likely see its coldest Christmas since Taylor Swift was born.

The extreme cold will also likely, and tragically, illustrate the heavy toll of extreme weather on people experiencing homelessness.

In addition to driving methane gas prices even higher for families across the central U.S., the cold will also likely test the Texas electrical grid, which crashed catastrophically in 2021, mostly due to failure of the methane gas system. More than 7,300 megawatts of new wind, solar, and energy storage capacity has been added to the Texas grid in the past year, and could help keep the grid stable.

Research suggests the rapidly warming Arctic appears to be playing a role in creating more opportunities for cold air to dive south.

For a deeper dive:

The Washington Post, AP, CNN, Axios, Reuters; Texas grid: The Texas Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, OilPrice; Climate Signals background: Arctic amplification

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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