White House says severe winter storm likely due to climate change

Brunilde Fioravanti
Febbraio 19, 2021

With many people still without electricity or safe drinking water, Tim Boyd, a now-former mayor of a West Texas town, came under fire for his Facebook post lashing out against freezing residents for complaining.

About 325,000 homes and businesses remained without power in Texas yesterday, down from about three million a day earlier, though utility officials said limited rolling blackouts are still possible.

The NWS said the storm would bring ice, sleet and heavy snow to parts of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and MS as it tracks to the northeast, causing power outages, tree damage and making driving hazardous.

Meanwhile, heavy snow and ice were expected on Thursday in the Appalachians, northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania, with the wintry weather moving into the Northeast by nightfall.

In the Houston area, one family succumbed to carbon monoxide from vehicle exhaust in their garage. A woman and her three grandchildren were killed in a fire that authorities said might have been caused by a fireplace they were using.

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

A resident of Waco, Texas, clears snow from his driveway alongside his dog as severe winter weather conditions over the last few days have forced road closures and power outages across the state.

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

White House homeland security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall said 1 million or more people are still experiencing power outages as a result of the storm that has engulfed Texas and other areas of the United States.

Adding to the misery, the snowy weather has jeopardised drinking water systems throughout the state.

Water pressure dropped after lines froze, with many people leaving taps dripping to prevent pipes from icing up, said Toby Baker, executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

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

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he expects that residents in the nation's fourth-largest city will have to boil tap water before drinking it until Sunday or Monday.

Federal emergency officials sent generators to support water treatment plants, hospitals and nursing homes in Texas, along with thousands of blankets and ready-to-eat meals, officials said. The Texas Restaurant Association was coordinating food donations to hospitals.

About 260,000 homes and businesses in Tennessee's largest county, which includes Memphis, were told to boil water after cold temperatures led to water main ruptures and problems at pumping stations.

And in Jackson, Mississippi, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said most of the city of about 150,000 was without water Thursday night.

In the southwest Louisiana city of Lake Charles, Mayor Nic Hunter said on Wednesday that water reserves remained low and local hospitals were faced with the possibility they might have to transfer patients to other areas.

Weathersby went outside collecting buckets of ice to melt it so she could flush her toilet and said "my back's hurting now".

As the storms marched east, 12 people had to be rescued Wednesday night from boats after a dock weighed down by snow and ice collapsed on Tennessee's Cumberland River, the Nashville Fire Department said.

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