The meteorologists are telling us to remain “weather aware.” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is telling us to have a plan and supplies. The Texas Department of Transportation is telling us to stay home if we can.
It’s been almost a year since days of severe winter weather hit the state, revealing that our state’s power grid is stuck together with chewing gum and paper clips. No wonder, then, that people are eyeing this week’s forecast—lows in the teens and twenties, with good chances of rain and sleet between Wednesday night and Friday morning—with more dread than we usually see amid crummy weather in February.
The National Weather Service in Fort Worth is forecasting that an “arctic cold front” will arrive late Wednesday. Rain, which could turn into a wintry mix, will proceed west across the region and “remains possible” through Thursday. If that’s the case, roads will be in rough shape through Friday morning. The high Thursday won’t get above 28 degrees, with lows in the teens. Friday, we should see some sun and a high of 35.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas says electric demand Friday morning could rival what the state saw, and could not handle, last February. Although you’d be forgiven for taking anything ERCOT says with an enormous snowball-sized grain of salt, agency officials are also making their rounds to offer assurances that many power plants have been “winterized” to hold up under freezing conditions. And this week’s weather doesn’t look as though it will be as bad, or last as long, as last year’s winter storm. It also won’t blanket the entire state, as we saw last February.
So you know the drill. Drip your faucets. Have some supplies ready to get through a power outage, just in case. Avoid driving if you can help it and drive very, very carefully if you can’t. (TxDOT is already pretreating roads in anticipation of icy conditions.) Continue to check the forecast. Be safe.