NASA satellite shows Texas in darkness as state braces for 5th day without power in freezing temperatures
Extreme winter conditions, worsened by storm Uri, have left millions across the country without heat or electricity this week
Texans are set to endure a fifth day without power as state officials face backlash for their handling of the killer freeze that has shut down essential operations. That said, the state-wide blackout was also captured by satellites in photographs.
Extreme winter conditions, worsened by storm Uri, have left millions across the country without heat or electricity this week. Approximately 3.4 million across the nation were without power on Wednesday, February 17, with some without functioning water amenities. Thousands of homes and businesses suffered in the cold without power as frozen wind turbines coupled with a high demand for electricity led to rolling power blackouts in Texas. State officials urged millions of people to boil tap water before drinking, The Sun reported.
The impact of the chilling weather conditions on Texas was glaringly apparent in satellite images shared by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Wednesday.
According to NASA, the nighttime light emissions were captured by the NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The space agency shared two photos showing Texas on the night of February 7, from before the freezing temperatures, and on February 16. Another map based on data obtained from the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model in February showed "the extreme cold associated with the arctic air mass."
It also showed how some areas in flyover country had recorded temperatures as low as -31 degrees Fahrenheit. At some point, parts of Texas were colder than Alaska, Maine, and Iceland. Meanwhile, Houston’s Intercontinental Airport recorded the coldest temperature in 32 years at 17 degrees Fahrenheit, according to The Sun.
At least 30 people have lost their lives as a result of no power and a drop in temperatures. Furthermore, Texas oil producers and refiners have remained closed for over five days.
In light of the power crisis, Governor Greg Abbott wrote to the Texas Railroad Commission: "I hereby mandate that all sourced natural gas be made available for sale to local power generation opportunities before leaving the state of Texas, effective through February 21, 2021. I ask that you immediately take all reasonable and necessary steps to ensure that this mandate is carried out."
The governor ordered rolling power blackouts as all of Texas remained under a winter storm warning. President Joe Biden declared an emergency in the state due to the circumstances.
Governor Abbott said: "Due to the severe weather and freezing temperatures across our state, many power companies have been unable to generate power, whether it's from coal, natural gas, or wind power. The ultra-low temperatures will last for several days, meaning that what becomes frozen will remain frozen for a long period of time."
State officials have requested 60 generators from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and will be prioritizing nursing homes and hospitals. "That will also increase the power that's going to be produced and sent to homes here in Texas," Abbott said at a press conference on February 17. As reported by the Associated Press, the statewide shutdown also elicited a response from officials in Mexico, which relies on imports via pipeline from Texas. More than 40 percent of US natural gas exports come from the Lone Star State, per the news agency.