Americans burn furniture for heating as power outages rock Texas

Thursday, 18 Feb, 2021

Carlos Mandez is in line to fill his propane tanks on Wednesday, in Houston.

And more severe weather is ahead for numerous same areas already hit hardest, with 100 million people in the path of the latest storm forecast to bring freezing rain and snow from the Plains to the East Coast on Thursday.

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. Forecasts call for single-digit temperatures to stay Wednesday across a wide part of Texas, Arkansas and parts of the Lower Mississippi Valley.

Heavy snow and ice is expected Thursday in the Appalachians, northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania, the National Weather Service said.

The weather has been blamed for at least 30 deaths in the United States this week. In 2020, while eyes around the world were trained on COVID-19, the US experienced 22 weather and climate events that each cost more than $1 billion, eclipsing the previous record of 16 in one year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Better forecasting - both short-term and long-term - would help avoid catastrophic failures such as the current outages in Texas and other states, as would large-scale storage systems that can supply electricity when demand spikes and a greater diversity of power sources, Eftekharnejad and other experts said. Electric-grid planners calculate extensively to ensure that electricity supply can always match demand, but extreme weather events have made that effort increasingly complicated.

POWER CUTS IN Texas fell below one million on Thursday morning for the first time in four days, but many people remained without electricity or safe drinking water after winter storms wreaked havoc on the state's power grid and utilities.

"More Misery Ahead", was the front page headline in the San Antonio Express-News. "This shows a disastrous level of underpreparation", says Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University in Houston, speaking to TIME shortly after he had lost water pressure.

Beto O'Rourke, a former Democratic presidential candidate from Texas, said it was at risk of becoming "a failed state".

"Folks have gone days now without electricity". And guess what, they didn't choose that option", Lemon said, later adding, "The governor is making this massive and very risky and deadly outage all about politics.

"So much of this was avoidable", O'Rourke added. Biden has pledged to update the US power grid to be carbon-pollution free by 2035 as well as weatherize buildings, fix roads and build electric vehicle charging stations.

The disaster in Texas and other states "is a reminder that our nation's critical infrastructure is vulnerable to extreme weather events and we can no longer turn a blind eye to the resiliency investments needed to protect it", said Sen.

On top of the ongoing power outages and water disruptions, many Texans are beginning to run out of food as grocery stores with increasingly empty shelves have been forced to shut their doors to customers due to continued blackouts. The 1280 MWe (net) unit has since restarted and had reached 14% power by the afternoon of 17 February, the NRC said via social media.

The energy company published the locations of "warming centres" set up in local schools. Its two liquefied natural gas export terminals consumed about 4 billion cubic feet a day of gas before the polar blast.

"There's certain parts of the country, Texas being one of them, where vaccination sites are understandably closed", Zients said. Sometimes they'll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer.

The winter storm has spawned at least four tornadoes, according to Atlanta-based weather.com, including one in North Carolina on Monday that killed at least three people and injured 10.

Across the southern border, Mexican officials said six people died after temperatures plunged.

"They're stranded, they're isolated - people are in need of support right now", Fletcher said. Two agricultural workers also died in neighboring Tamaulipas from hypothermia.