2021 Winter Storm

2021 Winter Storm

A historic cold wave brought several winter storms and an estimated $25.2 billion dollars in damages to various regions of the U.S. Extreme temperatures, alongside snow and ice, resulting in power outages, burst pipes, and even death across multiple states. Texas was most notably impacted with an estimated 210 fatalities and millions left without power (NOAA). Intense winter temperatures, snow, and ice nationwide led to electricity failures across a variety of energy supply modes with Texas bearing the most significant losses, partially as a result of low grid flexibility and minimal energy storage (Yale Climate Connections).

Regional impacts were as follows:

Northeast Region

  • Average temperature was 24.9 degrees F (-3.9 degrees C)
  • Received 2.98 inches (75.69 mm) of precipitation
  • Flooding, rockslides, power outages, and auto accidents were reported

Midwest Region

  • Average temperature was 17.9 degrees F (-7.8 C)
  • Received 1.42 inches (36 mm) of precipitation
  • Flooding was reported

Southeast Region

  • Near-average to above-average temperatures were recorded across much of the region
  • Some precipitation totals were 150 to more than 200 percent of normal
  • Tornados, strong winds, farmland damage, and power outages were reported

High Plains Region

  • Temperatures ranged from 6.0-15.0 degrees F (3.3-8.3 degrees C) below normal
  • A mix of wet and dry conditions with snowstorms and droughts hitting the region
  • Weather conditions led to increases in avalanches and fires as well as rolling blackouts and disruptions in water supply

Southern Region

  • Temperatures were below normal for most of the region
  • A mix of wet and dry conditions
  • Droughts, hail, strong winds, and power outages were reported

Western Region

  • Areas East of the Rockies experienced much colder than normal (6–15°F; 3.3–8.3°C) temperatures
  • A mix of wet and dry conditions
  • Avalanches, strong winds, and flash flood watches were reported

Date of event: February 2021


  • 262 deaths
  • $25.2 billion dollars in damages

Related Resources:

HSDL Featured Topics: Climate Change | Energy Security
HSDL Search: Winter Storms | Disaster Response | Critical Energy Infrastructure


Photo Credit: NOAA/National Weather Service

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