Understanding the Disparate Impacts of the 2021 Texas Winter Storm and Power Outages Through Mobile Phone Location Data and Nighttime Light Images

25 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2023

See all articles by Ryan Zhenqi Zhou

Ryan Zhenqi Zhou

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Yingjie Hu

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Lei Zou

Texas A&M University

Heng Cai

Texas A&M University

Bing Zhou

Texas A&M University

Abstract

Winter Storm Uri slammed Texas between February 13-17, 2021, and caused widespread power outages. Understanding the impacts of this catastrophic event on local communities has important meaning. In this study, we examine the impacts of this winter storm and its impact disparities on different population groups over three stages of this disaster: the initial-hit stage, power-outage stage, and recovery stage. The study focuses on Harris County, Texas which was severely affected by the winter storm. We leverage home-dwelling time information from anonymized mobile phone location data to study the constrained mobility of people due to the winter storm as a way to quantify its impacts on local communities. Considering that mobile phone location data may be affected by the power outages, we further integrate nighttime light (NTL) images into our analyses to assess the impacts during the power-outage stage, and use home-dwelling time to assess the impacts during the other two stages (i.e., the initial-hit stage and recovery stage). The results reveal the disparate impacts of this winter storm on local communities in the three stages of this disaster. We also find impact disparities on population groups with different socioeconomic and demographic backgrounds, especially during the initial-hit stage. These results help us better understand the impacts of this catastrophic event, and help inform future response and mitigation efforts in identifying vulnerable communities, allocating resources, and curtailing negative impacts of similar future disasters.

Keywords: Winter Storm Uri, disaster, disparate impact, mobile phone location data, nighttime light image, power outage.

Suggested Citation

Zhou, Ryan Zhenqi and Hu, Yingjie and Zou, Lei and Cai, Heng and Zhou, Bing, Understanding the Disparate Impacts of the 2021 Texas Winter Storm and Power Outages Through Mobile Phone Location Data and Nighttime Light Images. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4631641 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4631641

Ryan Zhenqi Zhou

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Yingjie Hu (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Lei Zou

Texas A&M University ( email )

Heng Cai

Texas A&M University ( email )

Bing Zhou

Texas A&M University ( email )

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
53
Abstract Views
183
Rank
688,310
PlumX Metrics