Texas to Face Extreme Heat in New Test for Its Power Grid: Weather Watch

Temperatures will soar across Texas this week, increasing demand for energy as people switch on air conditioning to cool down.

The heat will also spread across the Midwest and Northeast, with the potential for record warm overnight low temperatures from Philadelphia to Boston.

Both the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator warned their grids will face heat and extreme weather risks as the situation unfolds across the US.

Southern parts of Texas will experience temperatures above 100F (38C), and when combined with humidity it will feel closer to 110F or more in many places, the National Weather Service said. Temperatures will push deeper into the 90s by this weekend in Houston, where close to 70,000 homes are still without power after last week’s windstorm, according to PowerOutage.us.

Bob Oravec, a senior branch forecaster with the US Weather Prediction Center, said the heat in Texas will build through the week and likely last into June. “It actually gets hotter with time,” he said. “There is nothing to change the weather pattern, it looks like it is going to be prolonged heat.”

Meanwhile in Mexico, blistering conditions have been spreading there as well with northern and eastern parts of the country recording temperatures 104F or more, according to the country’s weather service.

In addition to the heat, more than 10 million people in parts of Texas, including Dallas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana are bracing for storms, with enhanced risk of high winds, hail, downpours and tornadoes on Wednesday. A larger area from Texas to the Great Lakes and western New York has a slight risk of experiencing these conditons.

Wild weather could break out all along that frontal boundary, Oravec said.

A pattern of extreme weather has been pounding the central US for weeks, including a type of windstorm known as a derecho that battered Houston and spread damages as far east as Florida. On Tuesday, there were 20 reported tornadoes, 244 high wind reports and 86 instances of hail across the US, the Storm Prediction Center said, with most of them in upper Midwest.

Top photo: Power lines in Austin, Texas, US, on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. Texas is in the midst of its worst power crisis since a deadly winter storm more than two years ago, with utilities urging customers to unplug electric vehicles and pool filters to conserve power.