Winter storms spread power and water woes

James Marshall
February 19, 2021

Alabama and Louisiana also saw widespread electrical outages.

"We are dealing with an extreme challenge with getting more water through our distribution system", he said.

The president of the Texas power grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said he hoped many customers would see at least partial service restored by later Wednesday or Thursday. Gov. Greg Abbott urged residents to shut off water to their homes, if possible, to prevent more busted pipes and preserve pressure in municipal systems.

The utility also said it is seeing reduced reservoir levels at pumping stations and several water mains have burst.

According to St. David's HealthCare, the South Austin Medical Center's incident command team was distributing bottles and jugs of water to patients and employees for drinking and hand washing. Officials in Texas order millions of people to boil tap water before drinking it due to damaged pipes and infrastructure.

Power was cut to a New Orleans facility that pumps drinking water from the Mississippi River and generators were used until electricity was restored. The White House said on Thursday that FEMA was mobilizing to help assist the response to winter weather that has left hundreds of thousands without power in Texas. Another family died while using a fireplace to keep warm. Snow, ice and subfreezing weather continue to wreak havoc on the state's power grid and utilities.

The planned outages prevented potentially catastrophicdamage that "could take months or longer to rebuild" the powernetwork, said Bill Magness chief executive of ERCOT, the state'sgrid operator.

Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke said Texas was "nearing a failed state" and blamed GOP lawmakers as a deadly snowstorm left millions there without power or running water in freezing temperatures.

The storm has killed at least 21 people across four states, and the weather service predicted that temperatures would remain 20 to 35 degrees below average across parts of the central and southern United States for a few days.

"We shouldn't be having this problem for as long as it's gone on", said Larry Rios, a 48-year-old contractor on Wednesday, his voice rising in anger as he spoke. He added that several of the grid board memberslive out of state, "One of them lives in Germany".

"The cost associated with addressing climate change and improving our infrastructure's resilience is always going to be less than the cost of rebuilding or failing to act, " Carper said.

Asked about the cost and specifics of such projects, White House officials were unable to provide any detailed information.

The massive storm system has been blamed for at least 30 deaths in the US this week.

Houston police said a woman and a girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning after sitting in a auto in a garage with the engine running to keep warm.

Here's a look at videos that show just how much damage the storms have caused.

Neither Abbott nor other state officials replied to requestsfor comment.

The senator, in a statement released Thursday, acknowledged the suffering Texans were experiencing, noting, "Our homes are freezing and our lights are out".

As political rivals called for his resignation, Cruz justified the flight by saying his one-night stay was to drop his children off before he flew home. Many school systems delayed or canceled face-to-face classes.

"Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon", he said.

"They're stranded, they're isolated - people are in need of support right now", Fletcher said.

In the southwest Louisiana city of Lake Charles, Mayor Nic Hunter said Wednesday that water reserves remained low and local hospitals were faced with the possibility they might have to transfer patients to other areas. "And we expect that would be the focus of anyone in the state or surrounding states who was elected to represent them, but I don't have any update on his whereabouts".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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