If you are a resident in Texas, most likely you are very familiar with power outages. Because of its weather and land characteristics, outages occur fairly frequently. With climates ranging from humid to arid from east to west, Texas is a diverse state, and there is a lot of potential for natural disasters including storms that could cause a downtime in its power grid.
To ensure that you are aware of the various causes of power outages in Texas, we have compiled a list of the top causes.
Hurricane Ike caused billions of dollars in damages when it hit Galveston and Houston in 2008. These areas are predominantly vulnerable to hurricanes since it is near the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricanes are experienced on the coast of Texas about every 10 years, causing power outages and large-scale destruction when they do.
Winds that carry moisture from the Gulf of Mexico combined with the extreme heat in Texas make it very susceptible to thunderstorms, which can cause power outages on a large scale. Specific areas, typically those closest to the Gulf, are more prone to thunderstorms. No matter where it strikes, lighting brings with it a risk of outages.
Hurricanes and thunderstorms in the state can bring about flash floods, which can come with very little warning. The floodwaters and huge debris can disrupt the grid and take down powerlines, causing outages. The central part of the state has been dubbed as “Flash Flood Alley” since it is very prone to this kind of flooding.
Even though Texas is popularly known as a ‘hot’ state, it isn’t immune to sudden spells of cold weather. Specifically, the Texas Panhandle – composed of 26 countries in the state – tends to experience cold winters, however, some areas further south are vulnerable too. Cold snaps that lead to power outages can be hazardous since a lot of households in Texas do not have alternative sources of heat.
Tornadoes and high winds
Texas has a lot of flatlands throughout the state, which makes it prone to tornadoes and high-speed winds. This can cause widespread utility damage and power outages. The areas of Lubbock and Amarillo have been named “Tornado Alley.” They are located in the northern part of the state and are particularly vulnerable to tornadoes caused by the merging of prevailing spring winds.
Minor and isolated accidents
Not all outages are caused by changes in weather. There are minor issues like car crashes or fallen tree branches that cause outages as well.
Texas’ climate is ever-changing but when it comes to potential utility problems, there are geographical and annual trends that are worth staying aware of. If you call Texas your home, it is wise to make time to know the causes of power outages and prepare for them just in case the inevitable happens.
“Hurricane Ike Five Years Later: Photos Show Damage, and Recovery, in Houston and Galveston,” Weather.com, https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/hurricane-ike-five-years-later-photos-20130926
“Texas Panhandle,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Panhandle
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