More than half a million people are starting their day in Texas without power for the fourth day, while more than 100 million people in the US are under warnings about treacherous winter weather as massive storms hit a large part of the country. .
So far, more than 30 deaths in the US have been attributed to this week’s storms, and the climate crisis and destabilization of the Arctic region are strongly suspected as factors bringing more common conditions at the North Pole to Texas.
Hospitals in Texas are running out of water while under pressure as patients arrive with carbon monoxide poisoning and fears of a further spread of the coronavirus mount as people move in with friends and report to shelters. to avoid a life-threatening cold.
Many are on alert for possible tornadoes Thursday in Alabama, parts of northern Florida, Georgia and into the Carolinas, with heavy snow and ice expected in the Appalachians, northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania.
Winter storms, including ice storms, are expected to move into the northeastern United States at dusk.
Austin, Texas city officials “are just trying to keep people alive and safe” for the next few days, Mayor Steve Adler said.
He told CNN’s “New Day” that the situation in Austin is “quite dire” as water shortages and temperatures in the Arctic are turning into a disaster.
“It’s too much to ask of anyone,” he said, about what residents are enduring, noting the lingering impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and dangers as people seek warmth in shelters or friends’ houses. “People are angry, confused and frustrated and so am I.”
The mayor, a Democrat, asked the Republican Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, and other state officials to provide “a better explanation” of what happened, as the catastrophe struck without warning.
Further east, in Little Rock, Arkansas, 15 inches of snow fell to the ground Thursday after consecutive storms, tying a snow depth record set in 1918, the National Weather Service said.
More than 320,000 homes and businesses were without power in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama after a wave of storms dumped up to 4 inches of snow and ice across the region.
In Tennessee, 12 people were rescued from boats after a snow and ice-overwhelmed pier collapsed into the Cumberland River Wednesday night, the Nashville Fire Department said.
This week’s extreme weather has been blamed for dozens of deaths. In the Houston area, a family died from carbon monoxide from car exhaust in their garage. A grandmother and three children were killed when flames escaped from the fireplace they used to keep warm.
In Texas, about 560,000 homes and businesses were still without power Thursday morning, up from 3 million the day before. But the Texas grid administrator, criticized for its response to the winter storm, warned that outages could fluctuate during peak power demand hours.
In the Northwest, weather-related outages have been particularly persistent in Oregon, where some customers have been without power for nearly a week.
A Portland supermarket without power dumped perishable food in trash cans, sparking a clash between scavengers and police.
The damage to the electrical system was the worst in 40 years, said Maria Pope, CEO of Portland General Electric.
At the peak of the storm, more than 350,000 customers in the Portland area were in the dark. More than 100,000 customers were without power Thursday in Oregon.
“These are the most dangerous conditions we’ve seen in the history of PGE,” said Dale Goodman, director of utility operations.
Utilities from Minnesota to Texas have implemented continual blackouts to ease the load on stressed electrical grids.
Southwest Power Pool, a utility group covering 14 states, said the blackouts were “a last resort to preserve the reliability of the electrical system as a whole.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism