Damages tied to the ‘life-threatening crisis’ caused by the winter storm in Texas could approach $50 billion

Texas freeze
Icicles hang off the State Highway 195 sign in Killeen, Texas. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The damages from the devastating winter storm in and around Texas could near $US50 ($64) billion, according to AccuWeather

The estimate, provided earlier this week by AccuWeather CEO Joel Myers, accounts for lost wages, damages to businesses and homes, and cleanup costs across the region. 

AccuWeather’s Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter said that the estimate “denotes the historic magnitude and just how much of a life-threatening crisis this has been for people in the Southern Plains, the Southeast and especially Texas.”

“It’s it’s yet another setback for businesses that don’t need it in a very challenging year,” Porter continued.

The forecasting-technology company reported serious damage to homes and businesses after freezing cold temperatures caused water pipes to burst and other issues in the state, which was resoundingly unprepared for such a major cold snap.

According to reporting by Insider, as of Friday, the majority of Texans affected by the blackout had their power restored. At its peak, the blackout affected over 3 million people. Winter storms pummeled the state’s energy grid and forced shutoffs to power and heat. Porter said that he week’s weather pattern was the worst cold front in Texas since December of 1989. 

Since Texas effectively operates on its own power grid, it is difficult for the state to draw power from other areas that are not experiencing blackouts, Insider reported

The Verge reported that individual consumers heating their homes after the blackouts will face staggering energy costs. And wholesale electricity customers are similarly in the hole: The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said that on February 15, wholesale electricity prices surged to over $US9,000 ($11,451) per megawatt-hour, up from $US50 ($64).

Politicians have had mixed responses to the blackouts. Amid the economic devastation, Texas Senator Ted Cruz faced criticism over his decision to travel to Cancún. He said on Thursday that the decision to leave the state was a “mistake.” 

Beto O’Rourke, who ran against Cruz for the Texas Senate seat, organized a phone bank to help older Texans, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ran a donation drive that raised over $US1 ($1) million, Insider reported Friday