An inside look into the winter storm from a weather specialist

Weather

El Paso, TX (KTSM) — Thousands of emergency service calls, busted pipes, power outages and so much more affected Texas last week, all due to a storm we knew was coming.

“Well, believe it or not, before the freeze came in, the models were a whole 10 days ahead, predicting all of this and that wasn’t just the cold air for Texas, but for much of the country,” explained National Weather Service Meteorologist Jason Laney.

The system was so strong and worrisome, Laney had to make some last-minute changes to his winter vacation.

“It was quite obvious that sometime around Friday or Saturday, the cold air was going to find us, and we had already seen quite a bit of trouble around the Oklahoma City area,” Laney said. “And I actually got on a plane the next day and said, ‘I’ve got to get back before this storm hits so we can have all hands on deck.”

The system moved so fast that it led Laney to take an overnight shift at the NWS station.

“I had just completed the forecast — it was around 2 in the morning and, at that point, the cold air was still around Hueco Tanks,” said Laney.

It led meteorologists like Laney to think that the Borderland still had a few hours before it would arrive in the city of El Paso.

“In about 30 minutes, the temperature had dropped nearly 15 degrees at the airport and we had to rework the whole forecast before sending it out,” he said.

The snow fell a lot, but El Paso was much luckier than the rest of the state.

“I’m happy to say, as for El Paso, all the pieces of the puzzle were in place — all precautions had been taken and, as a result, El Paso weathered the storm fairly well,” Laney said.

However, that doesn’t mean the Borderland hasn’t experienced what the rest of the state has and it’s not the first time we have pushed through multiple hours of below-freezing temperatures.

“It would have been 10 years ago exactly to the date that would have been February 2011 freeze and, of course, we lost power and we had rolling blackouts,” said Laney.

As for now, according to the NWS, it’s looking clear for the rest of the season.

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