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An arctic storm that swept through the state bringing low temperatures and high winds also affected roughly two-thirds of the country’s population, according to the National Weather Service, bringing the coldest Christmas in decades to parts of the country.
The Dallas Morning News reported around 190 million people across the United States were under some type of winter weather advisory starting last Thursday.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages nearly all the state’s electric grid, reported Friday that grid conditions were adequate to handle current demand for power. ERCOT is providing a dashboard that monitors supply and demand across the state. Texas is coming up on the second anniversary of Winter Storm Uri, which resulted in power outages throughout much of the state and at least 137 deaths. The storm resulted in several measures to improve the grid’s reliability.
Temperatures in the latest arctic storm were in single digits Friday throughout much of the state.
Drunk-driving prevention program underway
Through New Year’s Day, the Texas Department of Transportation is teaming up with law enforcement across the state to target motorists driving under the influence of alcohol. Nearly one-fourth of all traffic fatalities during last year’s monthlong holiday season involved drunk driving.
“With everything going on in the world these past few years, we want everyone to be able to celebrate this joyous time of year without the tragic consequences of drinking and driving,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “Get together with family and friends and have a great time, but please find an alternative way home if you choose to drink. You have many options available.”
The state has launched a series of public service announcements emphasizing its Drive Sober. No Regrets campaign.
Tips to prevent space heater fires
With the winter weather comes an increased risk of fires caused by space heaters, which have resulted in several fatalities in Texas during the last few years. The Texas Department of Insurance offers the following tips for keeping the household safe when using these popular heaters:
• Inspect the heaters before using, making sure there are no cracked or broken plugs or loose connections.
• Don’t place the heater too close to furniture, bedding or clothing, keeping at least 3 feet of space between the heater and anything that can burn.
• Always plug heaters directly into wall outlets, not into extension cords or power strips.
• Be aware that children or household pets can inadvertently knock over a heater or get too close and burn themselves. Keep heaters out of hallways and other spaces where either two-legged or four-legged critters pass by. Ideally, look for models that shut off automatically when tipped over.
• Never store flammable liquids in the same room as a heater, and always turn space heaters off before leaving the room or going to bed.