Health and Science

Let it Snow

Fifteen to thirty inches. This is the average amount of snowfall Texas gets annually. This past winter, however, Texas has been experiencing this much snowfall within a few days! Snowstorms have struck Texas with great ferocity, and have been overwhelming the state with massive amounts of snow! Texans are not used to getting more than 20 inches of snow all year, and now they are experiencing more than this in a matter of days. The people of Texas and individuals across the nation are wondering how this is possible. The answer to their question is actually quite simple. It is all because of the “Arctic Outbreak.” 

So what is this “Artic Outbreak”? Essentially, it is just unanticipated storms caused by the spontaneous movement of pressure systems. In order to understand pressure systems and the way that they work, one must associate low pressure with warm weather, and high pressure with cold air. High-pressure systems typically circulate around the poles. This frigid air is contained by the low-pressure systems that flow around the high-pressure. However, once in a while the low-pressure systems don’t do their job of containing the high pressure. This is when an “Arctic Outbreak” occurs. Texas is experiencing an “Arctic Outbreak” currently, and it is causing blizzards in a state that doesn’t normally get much snow. Members of BBC News have recently stated that, “Cold air outbreaks such as these are normally kept in the Arctic by a series of low-pressure systems. However, this one moved through Canada and spilled out into the US last week.” This demonstrates why Texas is getting substantial amounts of snow. While it is clear that the “Arctic Outbreak” is the culprit of Texas’ winter wonderland, it is not so obvious as to what causes the “Arctic Outbreak.” Scientists suggest that the failure of low-pressure systems to contain the cold is a result of climate change. The reason why global temperatures increasing causes more blizzards is because of the way it impacts the polar vortex. According to USA.gov, “a polar vortex is a low-pressure area that is parked in polar regions.” The warming of the earth disrupts the polar vortex, causing the cold air to escape and spread to other locations, such as Texas. While scientists are not 100% certain if climate change correlates with the disruption of the polar vortex, evidence strongly suggests it. Scientists also state that “the average surface temperature of the planet has risen about 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, warming at a rate nearly 10 times faster than the planet did after the Ice Age. Despite warmer temperatures, the NOAA reports that the U.S. was hit by nearly twice the amount of extreme winter storms during the later half of the 20th century than the first.” This just further proves that there is a connection between climate change and the random blizzard Texas is undergoing.

Texas is not used to snow, and people across the country were taken aback by this strange occurrence. The snow has proved to be quite a problem for unprepared Texans, and according to members of the New York Times, “Hospitals in Texas are losing resources and gaining patients, many Texans are now without drinking water, winter weather has disrupted hundreds of thousands of U.S. vaccinations, and Texans are also struggling for food.” In addition to this, 111 people as of now have tragically died as a result of the storm, and a massive power outage has surged throughout the state. While many Texans did not know how to react, the state as a whole has been attempting to deal with the snow. In order to combat power outages, Texans have been utilizing generators. This allows the people to have some electricity for their houses and promotes function in general. They have to adapt to their environment no matter how abnormal it is. While the people of Texas are doing their best to get through these hard times, there isn’t much they can do aside from stay inside and wait out the snow. 

Although this is a difficult time for Texas, these cold days will come to an end soon. This phenomenon happens very rarely, so Texans will be capable of returning back to their normal life fairly soon. While many are suffering at the hands of this unexpected storm, the people are doing their best to adapt. Texans are combatting the blizzard with patience, because direct contact can be deadly. People across the world can learn from this experience and recognize that anything is possible, which is why it is essential to expect the unexpected so it doesn’t take you by surprise.

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