The arctic blast is expected to hit the US state of Texas, bringing freezing temperatures that will last through Christmas.
In northern Texas, temperatures could fall to -6 degrees Celsius by Thursday afternoon, joined by 45-mph winds, the National Weather Service forecast.
In Houston, the largest city in the state, five warming centres will open to the needed from Thursday, according to the office of Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Each centre will offer chairs, blankets, water, meals-ready-to-eat, PPE, and comfort kits, the office said.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said the state’s power grid should withstand arctic weather without major outages despite the potential for the coldest temperatures since that disastrous 2021 winter storm.
The temperatures won’t stay as cold for as long, and ice isn’t a factor this time around, the agency’s CEO Pablo Vegas said during a board meeting on Tuesday.
“We expect that high demand period to occur on Friday morning,” he said.
“There’s a low probability scenario where there’s very high peak load and extreme outages of generation units and extremely low wind that shows that there could be a shortfall. But again, this is a very low probability scenario.
“So we continue to expect adequate supply with reserves for the approaching cold weather conditions,” Vegas said.
The winter storm in 2021 killed more than 200 people across the state and pushed the Texas grid to the brink of total failure.