The Texas electrical grid survived last weekend’s cold snap without major blackouts mostly because the weather was milder than last year’s Winter Storm Uri, not because of any improvements made since, experts say. There were localized outages caused by down power lines across the state, but not a similar breakdown of the state’s gas system, which led to catastrophic blackouts that killed hundreds and left thousands huddled in the cold and even burning their furniture to survive a year ago. It is unclear to what extent efforts — if efforts were made at all — to winterize power generation infrastructure were actually effective.

“Just because I have a student pass an easy test,” said Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University, “doesn’t mean that I’m confident they can pass the toughest test that I give them.” (Texas Tribune, Dubious winterization efforts: New Yorker; Climate Signals background: February 2021 polar vortex breakdown)