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VERIFY: Texas winter storm power outages, food safety and Farmers' Almanac claims

From which power sources were the main culprits in the widespread outages to whether it's safe to keep food outside, here are some fact-checked claims.

Farmers’ Almanac predicted snow for Texas, but missed its severity and timing

The person in this TikTok video says the Farmers’ Almanac predicted cold temperatures and heavy snow in Texas between Feb. 15 and Feb. 23. That sounds pretty accurate, but it’s a slightly misleading presentation of the Farmer’s Almanac’s forecast.

The almanac predicted heavy snow in Texas but said it would occur just a few days later than when the storm actually hit. The almanac also made no mention of the severity of the storm and temperatures. To present the snow forecast as a prediction for “February 15-23” is misleading since the snow was only supposed to fall on the last few days of that timeframe.  

RELATED: VERIFY: Did the Farmers' Almanac predict this week's winter storms?

Wind and solar power are not the main causes of Texas’ power outage

In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said turbines and solar power, making up 10% of the power grid, “thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis.” 

However, in an interview with WFAA in Dallas before his appearance on Fox, Abbott explained that the state wasn’t generating enough power because of problems with the natural gas supply.  “It’s frozen in the pipeline. It's frozen at the rig. It’s frozen at the transmission line. … The natural gas providers are incapable of providing the natural gas that feeds into the generators that send power to people’s residences.” 

This was confirmed later by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which also clarified that power outages were from other compromised energy sources, not exclusively gas.  

In a February 17 virtual media call, ERCOT said 46,000 MW (megawatts) of generation has been forced off the system in Texas. Of that, 28,000 MW is from thermal sources such as coal, natural gas and nuclear energy and 18,000 MW is from renewable sources such as wind and solar. A press release from ERCOT has reiterated those same numbers.

So of the 46,000 MW that the state lost, 61% was from thermal sources and 39% from renewable sources.

RELATED: VERIFY: How much are coal, natural gas sources to blame for Texas power woes?

Storing your food outside when it’s freezing may not be the best idea

The U.S. government’s food safety website says a refrigerator will keep food cold for four hours when the power goes out if the door stays closed and a full freezer will keep food cold for 48 hours.

Keeping your food outside is risky because variations in temperature, sometimes caused by direct sunlight, could warm the food. Also, storing food outside can present unsanitary conditions and raises the chances of animals getting into it.

The best idea, the USDA says, is to use your freezer and refrigerator like ice boxes or coolers by placing ice inside them or, for that matter, simply using a cooler. Consider putting a tray beneath the meat and poultry to prevent thawing juices from contaminating other food items. 

RELATED: VERIFY: Can you safely keep your food outside if the weather is freezing?

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