Power outages linger for millions as another icy storm looms

People wait in line to fill propane tanks Wednesday

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.

The winter storm left millions without power, bringing record-breaking cold weather, overwhelming power grids and immobilizing the Southern Plains.

"There's really no letup to some of the misery people are feeling across that area", said Bob Oravec, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service.

"The tiny piece of it that's true is that wind turbines, like every other major piece of the Texas power supply, produced less power than we expected it to under these arctic blast conditions", he said.

"We've never had this much cold".

Further inland, Chicago was expecting to see up to 14 inches of snow before the end of the cold snap.

Some 2.7 million Texas households were still without power, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (Ercot), a cooperative responsible for 90 percent of the state's electricity.

Power companies in Texas have implemented rolling blackouts to avoid grids being overloaded as residents crank up the heat.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott attributed his state's crisis to the 10% of power plants that are powered by renewables and even went as far as to describe the Green New Deal, a climate proposal by House Democrats, as "deadly" in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity on Tuesday.

Hundreds of thousands of residents of the Texas metropolis of Houston are suffering from both power outages and a loss of water pressure. "They're suffering", he said.

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Customers, whose homes are without electric power, wait in line to purchase food and snacks at a gas station in Pflugerville, Texas, Feb. 16, 2021.

Texas is the only state that has its own power grid.

Austin Energy, the local power company, said almost 200,000 area customers were without electricity.

"Customers should be prepared to not have power through Wednesday and possibly longer", it said. The unusual winter weather created a huge demand for electricity that caused the state's independently-run power system to fail, exposing issues with its structure.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the top official in the most populous county in Texas, on Wednesday said the storms were straining not only the local electric grid but triggering a cascade of effects, including lost water pressure, carbon monoxide poisoning and halted COVID-19 vaccinations.

"What we're encouraging governors and other partners to do is to extend hours once they're able to reopen". In the Houston area, one family succumbed to carbon monoxide from vehicle exhaust in their garage; another perished after flames spread from their fireplace.

A man in Louisiana died when he hit his head after slipping on ice, and a 10-year-old Tennessee boy perished after he and his six-year-old sister fell through the ice into a pond Sunday.

Four died in Monterrey, three of them homeless people who succumbed to exposure, and one person at home from carbon monoxide poisoning from a heater.

At least 20 people were dead as of late Tuesday after a winter storm swept across the U.S. Two agricultural workers also died in neighbouring Tamaulipas from hypothermia.

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