Unexpected Weather Conditions

Hina Sheikh and Anastasia Gordivsky, Staff Writers

Recent weather conditions in the U.S. have left many families unprepared to cope with the crazy weather. Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, etc. were affected by a recent winter storm that occurred unexpectedly. Freezing rain/snow hit some places of the country, causing power outages and a shortage of water. Many residents of the affected states are used to warm weather and were unprepared for the cold weather that struck.

Without electricity, many couldn’t use common kitchen appliances, such as the microwave, oven, stove, fridge, toaster, etc. A lot of others were cut down on food due to stores closing down and refrigerators not working. Water is an essential resource, and since there was a shortage of it, some people restore to melting down the snow outside. Another big problem was the lack of heat. Some people didn’t have warm clothes packed as the weather is mainly warm. This made it a lot harder for people to deal with the long cold nights.

While winter storms may seem normal to Northerners, many others of the affected states found this quite unusual.

Meerab Arif, a Texas resident, shared her experience of the winter storm. “Since it was really cold outside, it was really cold inside the house, so we had to wear 3 layers of clothing. We had water for the first 2 days, and then after that, we had to go outside to use the restrooms because the stores around us had water.” School for them was canceled, and since there was no WiFi, there wasn’t much to do. 

Mrs. McGinnis, 8th grade Mint Science teacher, talks about hearing this unanticipated news. “My first reaction was just noticing how much more challenging it was for those communities to manage that weather. And, it just makes you realize how important things like infrastructure and preparation are for managing extreme weather.” Scientists have stated that increasing weather events, like hurricanes, heat waves, and floods, caused the crazy weather in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, etc. We gathered insight from Mrs. McGinnis on how those events can cause the affected states to undergo winter conditions. “If you look at a map of Texas and Louisiana, you could see how far the Northern winds came down. And, it’s not that they never come down that far, it was just the length of time. A lot of people think about global warming, and they say ‘why was it so cold in Texas?’ when really what we’re looking at is changes in patterns. We can look at how human behavior like releasing carbon dioxide; how that affects our atmosphere and how that changes the temperature. And, a lot of this happens not near us. So, you really have to think about how every part of our weather and climate, our water cycle interacts because they’re all connected.”

Mr. Murphy, 8th grade Ivy Science teacher, shares his reactions and thoughts about the weather situation that happened recently in those places and gives us some insight about weather and climate change: “I was really surprised and shocked because it was so unexpected. The answer to that [how weather events can suddenly cause places that are usually warm to undergo cold weather conditions] is that climate change is something very complex…Climate change is about disruptions and to our pattern of where it normally is warm and suddenly becomes cold, and the more that we have experiencing climate change, the more we can expect these real different transitions, so places like Florida might have more freezes… It’s just the world that we’re having to live in right now. So, climate change is due to many different moving parts that take weather and take it off what its average really should be and make it very extreme.

“I think the storm came because of a change in what’s called a jet stream. And the jet stream can be thought of like a river of air moving across the United States. And instead of the jet stream moving sort of flat from east to west, it can sometimes take on these dips and bring the weather south and it brought this really cold air mass south over Texas…We were saddened at first, but also saw some good stories. We saw that there were some cities in Texas that had a similar event in 2011, and they had taken some recommended precautions, and since they did that, they fared more positively, so my hope would be now moving forward that other localities would make those same improvements to look out for future climate change so people may not have as bad suffering,” he added.

In conclusion, the winter storm has affected a lot of states in bad ways and caused a lot of people to go to certain extents to try to survive the cold winter storm. Climate change is a big world-wide problem. However, after what happened during the week of February break, we have realized that now climate change is starting to impact people. After this unexpected occurrence, we have learned that even in normal circumstances, we need to be prepared for any improbable event. Being prepared with the right materials for any situation could drastically help people in large future problems. Let’s remember this important lesson in order to change the world so people will become more resilient to harsh weather conditions.