Texas: The Southern Snow Target
Since the start of 2021, snowstorms, weather alerts and below freezing temperatures have taken over the United States, even the South. In early February, Texas had an unprecedented winter storm, leaving millions without power. So why are southern states like Texas getting so much snow?
Jet streams are narrow bands of air currents that generally control the route of storms across the globe. Usually, a strong jet stream restricts Arctic air to the north and causes a large difference in temperatures between low and high latitudes. In the United States, the jet stream usually runs from California across to Washington, D.C. According to Slate.com, the jet stream ran all the way from the U.S. Canadian border to the U.S. Mexican border during the recent winter storm.
Recently, Dallas was colder than Anchorage, with temperatures around -2℉. Unprecedented snowfall and cold temperatures consumed warm, sunny Texas. According to The Economist, regular temperatures in Texas rarely drop below 41℉ (5℃) during the winter. This past week Texas’s temperatures were down to -0.4℉ (-18℃). The brutal winter storm caused power outages across the Southern states. Over four million Texans were without power, meaning no heat. Texas has an electric grid unique from all other states, so it cannot import energy from neighboring states and is completely isolated. The recent snowstorm greatly impacted Texans’ daily lives. A change in the jet stream completely shifted the country’s usual storm route.