You may have heard the old Texas weather cliche, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.”
From droughts that can trigger wildfires in Central Texas, to tropical storms that often wreak havoc on the Gulf Coast, Texas weather can be unpredictable.
But how has this weather affected the deregulated electricity grid and how quickly have Texans recovered from such a wide range of weather patterns?
We take a walk back in time to remember some of the most notable weather events in the last several years and how Texas overcame the power outages or electrical challenges each time.
Texas Weather Events in 2020
Texas Weather Events in 2019
Texas Weather Events in 2018
“Saturday, April 13th brought one of the biggest severe weather days the area has experienced in decades. Six tornadoes were confirmed by the National Weather Service across Robertson, Leon, and Houston Counties. One of those tornadoes was the EF-3 that passed through the south side of Franklin.
The tornadoes that occurred that day are as follows:
Hwy 79 / Franklin: EF-3
Leon County (between Marquez & Jewett): EF-1
Lovelady (Houston County): EF-2
Weches (Houston County): EF-3
Tadmor (Houston County): EF-1” - KBTX3
“September 17-19, 2019 - Imelda was a short-lived tropical storm that moved inland over Texas just after it developed. The storm and its remnants meandered inland for a couple of days after landfall and produced historic rainfall totals and devastating flooding over portions of southeastern Texas.” - National Weather Service
Imelda left nearly 40,000 electricity customers without power during the peak of the storm. Almost all power had been fully restored two days after the storm had passed.
“Jan. 8, 2011: Heavy Snow. North Texas. Between 3–7 inches of snow fell across Northeast Texas, causing hundreds of vehicle accidents. Total damage, $1 million.” - Texas Almanac
The winter storm of January 2018 set the record for peak electric demand of 65,915 MW. While there were no power outages reported, Texans used more energy to heat their homes than ever before.
“The first round of severe thunderstorms developed Sunday, May 13th across the eastern Texas Panhandle and far northern Rolling Plains. Parts of Hall and Childress Counties were most favored, as thunderstorms continued to redevelop and track over this same region much of the evening.
In addition to dumping torrential rainfall, the most intense storms produced giant hail and damaging wind gusts. Locations in and around Estelline were particularly hard hit, receiving several rounds of severe hail. Unfortunately, this hail was also driven by winds measured as high as 68 mph at the nearby West Texas Mesonet site.
The combination of the wind and hail caused considerable damage to vehicles and buildings in and around the Estelline area Sunday evening.
The next day (Monday, 14 May) brought another round of severe weather during the afternoon and evening hours”. - National Weather Service
Downed power lines and power outages were reported during the course of this weather event. Electricity providers had power returned to the affected regions very quickly.
“June 7, 2018: Severe Weather. High Plains and Low Rolling Plains. A late-spring storm produced heavy rains and destructive winds in West Texas. Estimated winds during this event reached hurricane force, peaking near 115 mph. One family in Scurry County reported an overturned manufactured home that resulted in one injury. Total damages by flash flooding and strong winds were estimated at over $600,000.” - Texas Almanac
Power outage and downed power lines were reported during this weather event, however, power was quickly restored to the affected areas.
“The Great June 2018 Flood of the Rio Grande Valley will be remembered for a long time to come, not just for its damage which is likely to run at least $250 million, with the potential for $500 million or more - but also for the challenges faced by the region for potentially much more rainfall from an organized tropical cyclone that decides to sit and spin over the region for a few days - perhaps worse than Beulah, but in a region with five times the population and exponential infrastructure growth.” - National Weather Service
Widespread power outages were reported in the areas affected by the flooding. It’s common for flash flooding to cause downed power lines and disruptions to the electrical grid in Texas.
“The first event took place Oct. 9 when heavy rain hit the Hill Country. Mason County received over +10″ of rain and Lake Travis reported a 3-foot rise. Flooding occurred in the town of Junction, claiming the lives of 3 people.
With the ground already saturated, a second stalled front led to disaster, triggering 3″-6″ of rain across portions of the Hill Country in the morning with 3-day totals adding up to 7″-12″.
Many lakeside homes along Lake Marble Falls and Lake LBJ were flooded, massive amounts of debris were washed downstream including personal docks, boats, and watercrafts.” - kxan
“Lake Travis, one of the six Highland Lakes formed by dams along the lower Colorado River west of Austin, topped 704 feet Friday for only the fifth time on record and the first time since the July 1997 flood.” - The Weather Channel.
Approximately 45,000 electricity customers were without power during the peak of the storm.
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