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The Big Freeze. The Arctic Blast. The Winter Storm. Whatever you call it, there’s no doubt you remember the cold, wintry weather that crippled San Antonio and Texas in February 2021. In the newest episode of the Whatever the Weather podcast, KSAT meteorologists Kaiti Blake and Sarah Spivey look back at the historic event as the anniversary approaches. Here’s a preview of what’s covered in the episode:
1. The Timeline
KSAT meteorologists had an understanding a week before the historic storm that we were going to get some kind of cold, wintry precipitation around Valentine’s Day. However, it wasn’t until Thursday, Feb. 11, that we had a clear understanding that South Central Texas would spend several days below freezing.
After the first round of snow fell around San Antonio on Sunday night, CPS Energy started issuing “rolling blackouts” by early Monday morning. Later, all Texans would discover that the ERCOT power grid failed.
After a final round of snowfall on Thursday, Feb. 18, San Antonio finally started thawing out Friday with sunshine and a high in the 40s. Find a full timeline here.
San Antonio first dipped below freezing on Friday night, Feb. 12. The temperature wouldn’t get above freezing until Wednesday, Feb. 17, so in total, we spent 107.5 hours below freezing during the event. The coldest air temperature recorded in San Antonio was 9 degrees on Monday, Feb. 15. That was one of five record low temperatures set during the Big Freeze.
What’s more, the wind chill in San Antonio got as low as -8 degrees at one point -- the second coldest wind chill on record for the city.
During the winter weather event, there were four days in which San Antonio received measurable snowfall at the airport -- a first for the city! Regardless, in terms of total snowfall, the winter of 2021 wound up being the third-snowiest winter since records have been kept. See photos here.
It’s believed that the Winter Storm resulted in at least 210 deaths across Texas, according to a study by the University of Houston. The same study also states that most fatalities could be attributed to hypothermia, vehicle crashes, carbon monoxide poisoning and chronic medical conditions complicated by the weather.
On top of the loss of human life, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service reports that there was nearly $608 million in agriculture losses, including livestock and crops.
About the podcast
Whatever the weather, Meteorologists Kaiti Blake and Sarah Spivey have it covered on the local news – for about three minutes, in between commercial breaks.
Rarely, though, do they have time to explain weather phenomena in depth. On “Whatever the Weather,” Kaiti and Sarah dig deeper and tell you all you want to know about Mother Nature – from tornadoes, to freezing rain, to climate change. They also chat about what it’s like to be broadcast meteorologists and the challenges they sometimes face in day-to-day TV life.
So put on your nerdiest glasses, pop on your best headphones, and enjoy...Whatever the Weather!
How to stream, listen
You can find the Whatever the Weather video podcast the following ways:
- On your favorite podcast platforms including Spotify, Apple and more
Have a question for Sarah and Kaiti? Ask in the form below and you could get your answer on the next episode!