A bomb cyclone of Arctic air is descending on the lower 48 states, bringing with it life-threatening extreme cold, heavy snow and rain, and blizzard conditions. The National Weather Service office in Buffalo, NY — no stranger to extreme winter weather — described it as a “once in a generation winter storm.” The coldest temperatures in decades will send wind chills as low as -70°F in eastern Wyoming and the Eastern Seaboard will likely see its coldest Christmas since Taylor Swift was born. The extreme cold will also likely, and tragically, illustrate the heavy toll of extreme weather on people experiencing homelessness.
In addition to driving methane gas prices even higher for families across the central U.S., the cold will also likely test the Texas electrical grid, which crashed catastrophically in 2021, mostly due to the failure of the methane gas system. More than 7,300 megawatts of new wind, solar, and energy storage capacity has been added to the Texas grid in the past year, and could help keep the grid stable. Research suggests the rapidly warming Arcitc appears to be playing a role in creating more opportunities for cold air to dive south. (Washington Post, AP, CNN, Axios, Reuters; Texas grid: Texas Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Axios, KXAN, Houston Chronicle, OilPrice; Climate Signals background: Arctic amplification)