Texas Standard for Dec. 20, 2022: Looming freeze has Texans eyeing power grid

A blast of bitterly cold arctic air will send temperatures plummeting across the Lone Star State on Thursday, evoking memories of the 2021 winter storm that left Texans in the dark for days. But with precipitation not expected, what are meteorologists watching out for this go-around?

By Texas StandardDecember 20, 2022 8:47 am,

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022:

What to watch for as temperatures plummet Thursday 

A gentle dusting of snow for the holidays? That’d be one thing. But it’s not precipitation that Texas meteorologists are focused on right now: rather, it’s the danger of deeply plummeting temperatures across the state, and the potential for strain to the power grid.

Tom Bradshaw, meteorologist in charge for the National Weather Service, offers an update.  

Meanwhile, Texans across the state are keeping an eye on grid conditions with the ERCOT dashboard.  

Texas stands to lose out on billions in broadband upgrades  

Billions of dollars are up for grabs to expand broadband availability across the U.S. But the Texas comptroller says maps that will determine where the money goes are inaccurate, since service providers have overinflated their service areas. Meanwhile, the Texas office charged with challenging those broadband maps doesn’t plan on doing so – meaning hundreds of millions of dollars could get left on the table. Texas Public Radio’s Paul Flahive reports. 

A big bovine bounty

2022 saw a record in the cattle world. The priciest Texas Longhorn ever sold at auction went for $700,000. Michael Marks has the story on the big payday.

The tradeoff in tax breaks for affordable housing  

Last week, the Houston Housing Authority voted to approve the acquisition and construction of 13 properties for affordable housing. The projects were approved as “public facility corporations;” in exchange for making some units affordable, developers receive a 100% property tax break. 

Affordable housing expert and University of Texas Law School professor Heather Way joins us to talk about the increasing popularity of these arrangements. 

Strike at Fort Worth Star-Telegram could be almost over 

After a fourweeklong strike, reporters and photographers at the Fort Worth StarTelegram could be on the precipice of their first union contract. Staff at the paper formed a union two years ago and have been bargaining over contract language with the paper’s parent company, McClatchy, ever since. Kaley Johnson, StarTelegram reporter and chair of the paper’s guild, joins us with an update. 

The ATX Television Festival’s top TV picks of 2022 

End-of-the-year lists are everywhere right now, and the ATX Television Festival has put together its own top 10 TV picks from 2022. To sort through them, the Standard turns to ATX TV festival co-founder and co-executive director Caitlin McFarland and programming director Jennifer Morgan. 

What Mexico going GMO-free means for U.S. corn producers 

Mexican officials are considering banning genetically modified corn from entering the country, as well as any corn that’s been sprayed with certain pesticides. That policy would be a big loss for U.S. corn producers.  

For more on just how big, the Standard welcomes Diego Marroquín, an expert in trade between the U.S. and Mexico.  

All this, plus the Texas Newsroom’s state roundup and Wells Dunbar with the Talk of Texas.

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