Power Restored To Most In Texas After «Tragic Few Days».

Power Restored To Most In Texas After 'Tragic Few Days'

At present some 4,47,000 Texas households were without power, down from around 2.7 million on Wednesday

GALVESTON, Texas:

Hundreds of thousands of homes in Texas are coping without heat for a fourth day on Thursday after utilities made some progress restoring power, as the state's leaders came under mounting criticism for their response to the winter storm.

The crisis facing the country's second-largest state looked set to continue, with millions of people still without access to water, many struggling to find food, and freezing temperatures expected to last through Saturday.

Judge Lina Hidalgo, the top elected official in Harris County, which encompasses Houston, said the number of homes without power in her county had fallen to 33,000 from 1.4 million a few nights ago.

"It's definitely a big positive that the power is back on for most of the residents," Hidalgo said in an interview. "It's been a miserable few days, a really tragic few days."

Hidalgo warned that a "hard freeze" Thursday night could cause setbacks and encouraged donations to food banks with some residents struggling to secure food and water. She noted reports of senior centers and other vulnerable communities lacking basic supplies.

At present some 447,000 Texas households were without power, down from around 2.7 million on Wednesday, according to poweroutage.com, a website that tracks outages.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), a cooperative responsible for 90% of the state's electricity, said on Thursday it made "significant progress" in restoring power. It did not provide detailed figures.

Angry residents have trained much of their ire on ERCOT, which critics say did not heed warnings after a cold-weather meltdown in 2011 to ensure that Texas' energy infrastructure, which relies primarily on natural gas, was winterized.

Critics have also raised questions about the leadership of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has called for an investigation of ERCOT. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz too came under fire for flying to the Mexican resort city of Cancun with his family, despite the storm's fallout.

The Republican lawmaker cut his trip short after his travels were reported, saying he would return to Texas and "get to the bottom of what happened" in his state.

Gary Southern, a 68-year-old real estate broker from Mineral Wells, Texas, said his power was restored on Wednesday afternoon, enabling him to have his first solid night of sleep since he lost electricity in the early hours of Monday.

"It was one of the worst things we've ever had to go through," the lifelong Texan said, adding that he was frustrated at being told there would be rolling blackouts, only to go days without power at all. "I know a lot of people in our community still don't have it (power) and are frustrated."

Newsbeep


The lack of power has cut off water supplies for millions, further strained hospitals' ability to treat patients amid a pandemic, and isolated vulnerable communities with frozen roads still impassable in parts of the state.

As of Thursday morning, 154 of the 254 counties in Texas have reported disruptions in water service, affecting 13.2 million people, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Many of those affected have been told they need to boil their water.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said historically low temperatures were hindering efforts to inoculate people against COVID-19, with more than 2,000 vaccine sites in areas with power outages. In addition to aiding Texas, FEMA said on Thursday it would provide assistance to the neighboring state of Oklahoma due to the weather's impact on its power grid.

Nearly two dozen deaths have been attributed to the cold snap. Officials say they suspect many more people have died - but their bodies have not been discovered yet.

In Galveston on the Gulf Coast of Texas, a pop-up shelter with heat but no running water had allowed about three dozen people to huddle overnight before they were ushered back out into the cold on Thursday morning to let cleaning crews get it ready to do it all over again on Thursday night.

"When you go to the bathroom, grab a bucket of water to clear the toilet - we're going old school!" Cesar Garcia, director of Galveston's Parks and Recreation Department, called out as he oversaw scrubbing of the shelter set up in the McGuire-Dent Recreation Center.

Garcia said he was bracing for a potentially bigger crowd tonight, perhaps closer to the 100 who sought shelter on Monday night, sleeping on bleachers or a gymnasium floor with blankets and whatever they brought with them from home.

"Tonight being the coldest night, we don't know what to expect," Garcia said.

While the icy conditions should gradually improve, record low temperatures will likely persist in the South Central region of the United States through Saturday, according to the National Weather Service said, which said the storm was moving northeastward, dropping snow on a swath of states in its path.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV News

NDTV.com provides latest news from India and the world. Get today’s news headlines from Business, Technology, Bollywood, Cricket, videos, photos, live news coverage and exclusive breaking news from India.

https://www.ndtv.com/

Related news

US Murder Suspect Cooked Victim's Heart: Report

A man accused of a triple murder in the US state of Oklahoma sliced one victim's heart from her body and cooked it with potatoes to serve to other victims before attacking them, US media reported...

NDTV News

NBC Nightly News Broadcast (Full) - February 22nd, 2021 - NBC Nightly News.

NBC Nightly News Broadcast (Full) - February 22nd, 2021 - NBC Nightly News.

President Biden observes moment of silence for 500,000 U.S. lives lost to Covid, Democrats push for vote on Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan, and FAA orders inspections on Boeing 777s after engine failure. Watch “NBC Nightly News With Leste...

1 234

U.S. Crosses 500,000 Covid-19 Deaths. It Doesn’t Stack Up Well Versus Other Countries - NBC News NOW

U.S. Crosses 500,000 Covid-19 Deaths. It Doesn’t Stack Up Well Versus Other Countries - NBC News NOW

Covid-19 has now killed more Americans than World War II and Vietnam combined. So how does that compare to the death toll in other countries? NBC News Now correspondent Maura Barrett takes a look. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: N...

'Minari' star Steven Yeun on film gaining Oscar buzz.

'Minari' star Steven Yeun on film gaining Oscar buzz.

Steven Yeun, who could make history at the Academy Awards, speaks with CNN's Christiane Amanpour on the acclaimed drama about a Korean immigrant family. #CNN #News #CNNi

1 28

Live: Senate continues Merrick Garland's confirmation hearing - Day 2.

Live: Senate continues Merrick Garland's confirmation hearing - Day 2.

The Senate Judiciary Committee holds two-day confirmation hearing for Merrick Garland for the position of Attorney General. Republicans are expected to grill Garland on the topic of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Vid...

Hannity: Spending bill is a Dem 'wish list' masquerading as COVID relief.

Hannity: Spending bill is a Dem 'wish list' masquerading as COVID relief.

Sean Hannity rips COVID spending bill as a 'bailout' to states who backed Dems in 2020. #FoxNews #Hannity Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news serv...

U.S. coronavirus death toll surpasses 500,000

U.S. coronavirus death toll surpasses 500,000

The U.S. surpassed 500,000 coronavirus deaths on Monday. That’s the highest COVID-19 death toll of any country, and it’s higher than the death toll of bold world wars combined. Dr. Leo Nissola, a physician and immunotherapy scientist, joined CBSN ...