Almost 15Mln Texans Affected by Water System Disruptions Due to Weather

Elias Hubbard
February 20, 2021

Hundreds of thousands of homes in Texas faced a fourth day without heat on Thursday after utilities made some progress restoring power and the winter storm that crippled the electrical grid moved out of the state.

Compounding the problem was the fact that much of Texas was still experiencing cold weather and snowstorms Thursday, part of a havoc-inducing bout of winter weather that also prompted winter storm warnings in parts of New York, New Jersey and CT through Friday night.

Winter storms also left more than 330,000 from Virginia to Louisiana without power and about 71,000 in OR were still enduring a weeklong outage following a massive ice and snow storm.

In the Houston area, a family died from carbon monoxide as their vehicle idled in their garage. "But it only came on as a we weren't able to get any water or anything like that", said Aisha Wright, as she waited in her auto with her family.

Utilities from Minnesota to Texas used rolling blackouts to ease strained power grids.

Rotating outages for Texas could return if electricity demand rises as people get power and heating back, said Dan Woodfin, the council's senior director of system operations.

To add to the misery, the extreme cold caused water lines to freeze and damaged infrastructure and pipes, and many are without safe drinking water even after power returned.

But for numerous state's residents stuck at home, the emergency meant boiling the tap water that trickled through their faucets, scouring stores for bottled water, or boiling icicles and snow on their stoves.

Bitter cold weather and snow have paralyzed Texas since Sunday, shutting down much of the state's electricity grid and freezing pipes and waterways, leaving communities across the state either without water altogether or forced to boil it for safety.

U.S. president Joe Biden said he called Abbott yesterday evening and offered additional support from the federal government to state and local agencies.

Federal Emergency Management Agency acting administrator Bob Fenton said Friday that teams were in Texas with fuel, water, blankets and other supplies.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said residents will probably have to boil tap water in the fourth-largest US city until Sunday or Monday.

And in Jackson, Mississippi, mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said most of the city of about 150,000 was without water Thursday night. She warned of challenges ahead.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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