Abbott Activates State Operations Center Ahead Of Winter Weather In Texas

Governor Greg Abbott
Photo office of Governor

State Readies For Winter Weather

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today ordered the Texas Division of Emergency Management to increase the readiness of the State Operations Center (SOC). Abbott is staying ahead of winter weather that is expected to impact large portions of Texas beginning Thursday morning and into the weekend. Representatives from state agencies that are members of the Emergency Management Council will report to the SOC beginning Thursday, January 20 at 8:00 AM CT to assist in the state’s winter weather response.

Light snow is expected in the Panhandle and portions of West Texas tonight into Thursday morning. Wintry mix is anticipated in portions of Central and South Texas beginning Thursday into Friday. In addition, parts of Southeast Texas could see light wintry mix with minor travel impacts. Extremely cold wind chill temperatures will be experienced nearly state wide on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings. Caution is urged on roads that may become difficult to drive. Texans are urged to visit throughout the weekend to be aware of the latest road conditions across the state.

“The State of Texas is prepared to address severe winter weather in the coming days and will provide all necessary resources needed to respond,” said Governor Abbott. “As we continue to monitor weather conditions, Texans are encouraged to heed the guidance of local officials and stay mindful of changing weather conditions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.”

The following agencies will report to the SOC:

Public Utility Commission of Texas

Electric Reliability Council of Texas

Railroad Commission of Texas

Department of Public Safety

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Department of Transportation

Texas Military Department

Texas A&M Forest Service

Department of State Health Services

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Health and Human Services Commission

On Wednesday morning, agency representatives participated in a situational awareness weather briefing led by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM). Those in attendance discussed preparation measures already underway.

ERCOT Says They Are Prepared

With winter weather comes the bitter cold memories of last year’s historic winter storm that left Texans without power for days and weeks.

Yesterday, Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) filed its final winter weatherization readiness report of the season with the Public Utility Commission of Texas. According to the report, 321 out of 324 electric generation units and transmission facilities fully passed inspection for new winterization regulations from the Commission.

“The Texas electric grid is more prepared for winter operations than ever before,” said Interim ERCOT CEO Brad Jones.

ERCOT conducted onsite inspections at 302 electric generation units during December, representing 85 percent of the megawatt hours lost during Winter Storm Uri due to outages and 22 transmission station facilities. Three resources have been identified for further review but remain operational. They represent approximately 0.4 percent of the total ERCOT generation fleet.

“We are confident these 321 inspected facilities either meet or go beyond the new requirements from the Commission and we will continue to work with the other 3 facilities to ensure they correct remaining deficiencies,” said Woody Rickerson, ERCOT Vice President of System Planning and Weatherization. “Our teams spent thousands of hours preparing for and conducting these 324 on-site inspections to ensure the electric grid is prepared for winter.”