Health Care

2.7 million households without power as Texans wake up to cold

2.7 million households without power as Texans wake up to cold”

Millions of people were still without power on Wednesday in Texas, the oil and gas capital of the U.S., and facing water shortages as an unusual winter storm pummeled the southeastern part of the country.

During winter months, the "vast majority" of energy in Texas, more than two-thirds, is supplied by fuel, coal and nuclear sources, Cohan said. In the Houston area, one family succumbed to carbon monoxide from vehicle exhaust in their garage; another perished after flames spread from their fireplace.

At least 20 people have died, some while struggling to find warmth inside their homes. Weather scientists blame the polar vortex creeping south for the brutally cold conditions. Climate change caused by humans is at least partly responsible.

Utilities from Minnesota to Texas and MS have implemented rolling blackouts to ease the burden on power grids straining to meet extreme demand for heat and electricity as record low temperatures were reported in city after city.

But the weather service warned that the historically low temperatures that have crippled Texas and caused some power outages in the nearby states of Louisiana and MS would likely continue, and that a low responsible for the snow and freezing rain enveloping the region was moving east.

"There's really no letup to some of the misery people are feeling across that area", said Bob Oravec, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the top official in the most populous county in Texas, on Wednesday said the storms were straining not only the local electric grid but triggering a cascade of effects, including lost water pressure, carbon monoxide poisoning and halted COVID-19 vaccinations.

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Millions of people in Texas in the US awoke on Wednesday without heat again following a historic winter storm that has killed 21 people so far, as icy conditions threatened to plague the country's largest state and surrounding region for days. President Joe Biden's administration said delays in vaccine shipments and deliveries were likely. The state opened 35 shelters to more than 1,000 occupants, the agency said.

"Our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10% of our power grid, and that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis", he said. Entergy started rolling blackouts Tuesday night in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and southeast Texas under instructions from its grid manager.

The Southwest Power Pool, a group of utilities covering 14 states, said the blackouts were "a last resort to preserve the reliability of the electric system as a whole".

Travel remains ill-advised in much of the United States, with roadways treacherous and thousands of flights cancelled.

Across the southern border, Mexican officials said six people died after temperatures plunged. Many school systems delayed or canceled face-to-face classes.

"The energy capital of North America can not provide the energy needed to warm and power people's homes in this great state". Four family members also perished in a Houston-area house fire while using a fireplace to stay warm.

It said an Arctic air mass was beginning to lose its grip on an area of the country not used to such extreme cold but the frigid temperatures were expected to continue.

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