As a native west Texan, one thing is for sure: the weather is unpredictable. For a first-year student, the winter weather may not seem as dangerous, however, Lubbock is notorious for its black ice on the road. 

Every year it causes multiple crashes reaching a higher number than the previous year. Last year alone there were 94 total wrecks between midnight and noon on February 10th, according to a KCBD report.

Power outages were scattered throughout Texas and the region. More than 600 Lubbock Power & Light customers and approximately 100 South Plains Electric Cooperative customers experienced outages.  

During the Texas winter storm in February of 2021, the ERCOT grid failed, leaving more than 5 million Texans without power. It is unclear if we will have the ability to flow electricity to nearly 30 million Texas residents this upcoming winter as the power grids do not have a definite fix. 

“Everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas,” Abbott said.

Despite the issue claiming to be "fixed", I cannot take Abbott's word for it and neither should you.  

It is better to be prepared for another outage than to be completely blindsided, again. Senate bills 2 and 3 that were signed on June 8th are a slap on the wrist for gas suppliers, bank investors and power generators that collectively made billions of dollars by selling energy when the prices skyrocketed during the winter storm.  

The bills require power plants to upgrade for more extreme weather. Failure to weatherize may result in penalties of up to $1 million. Let’s not forget companies such as ERCOT can afford it.  

With nearly four months away from the winter outage anniversary, there needs to be a concrete solution rather than a small penalty. This is something every voter in Texas should consider when casting their ballot.  

The Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed 246 deaths over 77 counties as winter storm-related using a combination of death records, disaster-related mortality surveillance forms and information from death scene investigation records. Over 93.9% were west Texas residents. It is a major responsibility to make sure Lubbock is prepared as harsh winters are around the corner. 

To better prepare yourself, it is important to keep up-to-date with all weather notifications from Tech weather notice and Tech Alert.  

Although there is no set requirement for the cancellation of classes, the Texas Tech Police Department shift supervisor will send the road condition report to the Chief of Police (CFO) and the Managing Director of Emergency Management.  

In collaboration, they will consider the severity of the weather and form a recommendation sent to the CFO. During hazardous weather conditions, every effort will be made to send the recommendation to the CFO before 5:30 a.m.  

As winter approaches, the president, provosts, vice presidents and deans are to ensure the administrators in the organization are designated as essential personnel. It is also important to reach out to professors who may cancel classes due to weather conditions even though the university may not deem it as hazardous.  

Safety should always be a priority especially when traveling in icy weather. 

Students are encouraged to seek out resources such as Raider Relief that can connect them to essential resources such as food, housing, basic living supplies and financial education.  

Raider Red’s Food Pantry will provide students with short-term access to supplemental food. In case of a power outage in the future, residents and students should call Warming Centers in Texas at 2-1-1 and they will provide anyone in need of warmth, these warming stations are available across the state of Texas. Salvation Army provides emergency shelters, public showers and hygiene kits. 

Winter is around the corner and one thing we can do is make sure we are prepared for the worst. 

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