Millions in Texas were without power early Wednesday amid winter weather, bitter cold and the looming threat of more ice for a swath of the state and
“All leaders in the state of Texas are working around the clock to get that power restored,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth on Tuesday, the same day he called for an investigation into the outages.
In the Houston region Tuesday, about 1.3 million customers were without power, and a “large segment” of them had been without power since Monday morning, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
He called on the state, the body that oversees the state electric grid, and providers and distributors to act with speed, especially for seniors or those with children.
“They need their power restored — quite frankly, yesterday,” Turner said. “No one imagined that more than 24 hours people would still be without power. At the coldest point in 30 years, no one would have imagined.”
Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees about 90 percent of Texas’ energy production, said on Tuesday evening that it was working on restoring power as soon as possible. ERCOT’s CEO Bill Magness described the amount of time people in Texas have had to be without electricity during the extreme cold as “terrible” and “unacceptable” in a Tuesday press conference.
As of 4:30 a.m. E.T., nearly 3 million customers in Texas remained without electricity, according to tracking site poweroutage.us, and winter weather advisories, warnings or watches stretched from Texas to Virginia.
In Galveston, below freezing temperatures over the last two days caused water line breaks in homes and businesses throughout the city, prompting authorities to urge residents to limit their water use.
Southeast Texas could see more freezing rain, and light snow was reported in Dallas late Tuesday. Louisiana transportation officials were urging people to avoid unnecessary travel and warned of more weather that would create slick conditions.
Late Tuesday, winter weather advisories or warnings covered most of Texas and Oklahoma, all of Arkansas, and most of Louisiana and Mississippi. Watches extended farther northeast.
It was -20 degrees in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service said. It was only 20 degrees in Baton Rogue, Louisiana. In Memphis, it measured 1 degree shortly before 7 a.m. Tuesday.
The service said bitterly cold air will remain entrenched across a large swath of the U.S., with another round of snow and ice expected to hit the Southern Plains, mid-south, mid-Atlantic and northeast this week.
Oklahoma and Arkansas could get between 3 to 6 inches of snow, and between one-tenth and a quarter-inch of freezing rain could be in store for eastern Texas, northern Louisiana and western Mississippi, according to the weather service.
Severe winter weather across large parts of the country has prompted a warning from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention late Tuesday of “widespread delays” in Covid-19 vaccine shipments over the next few days, especially out of the FedEx facility in Memphis and UPS facility in Louisville, which serve as vaccine shipping hubs for multiple states.
Since Thursday, winter weather has played a role in at least 30 deaths across the country, officials said. Many of those deaths have been in Texas.
Six people were killed in a pileup on an icy Fort Worth highway Thursday, and a woman and child died of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in Houston on Tuesday. Officials said it appeared a car was running in an attached garage for heat because the power was out. Four died of carbon monoxide poisoning in Clackamas County, Oregon over the holiday weekend, according to the sheriff’s office, as the state also experienced power outages.
Officials pleaded with the public to be careful using gas-powered generators, remind them to never use them inside and to avoid using ranges or ovens to keep warm or idling cars inside garages for heat even if the door is open.
“It doesn’t take much, and a little bit can begin to be lethal,” Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena said.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Nbcnews.com