By Paul J. Webber and Jake Bleiberg | Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas A cold winter weather blast across the U.S. plunged Texas into an extremely icy emergency Monday that knocked out power to more than 2 million people, closed dangerous and sleek snow roads and put them on hand. delivery of new shipments of COVID-19 vaccines.
Temperatures plummeted as far south as San Antonio, and homes that had already been without electricity for hours were unsure when the lights and heat would turn on, as the state’s overloaded grid went into a rotating outage that are usually only seen in summer 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius).
The storm was part of a massive system that brought snow, rain, and freezing rain to the Southern Plains and was spreading across the Ohio Valley and northeast.
Video: Winter storms hammer Texas leaving millions without power
“We are living through a truly historic event that is happening now,” said Jason Furtado, a professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, pointing all of Texas under a warning of winter storm and freezing temperatures.
In Houston, where county leaders had warned that deteriorating conditions could create problems in the scale of massive hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast, an electricity provider said electricity could not be restored to some homes until Tuesday.
“This weather event is truly unparalleled. We all live here know this, ”said Dan Woodfin, senior director of system operations at the Texas Electrical Credibility Council. He defended the preparations made by the network operators and described the request to the system as a record setting.
“This event was beyond the design parameters for a typical, or even extreme, Texas winter that you would normally plan. And so it really is the result we are seeing, ”Woodfin said.
The largest grocery chain in Texas, HEB, closed locations around Austin and San Antonio, cities that are not accustomed to snow and have few resources to clear roads.
State health officials said Texas, which expected to receive more than 400,000 additional doses of vaccine this week, now does not expect births to occur until at least Wednesday. “Vaccination will resume as soon as it is safe,” said Douglas Loveday, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Health Services.
Lauren Schneider, a 24-year-old lab technician, was walking to a grocery store in Dallas near her home Monday morning, wearing a coat, hat and face mask. Schneider said she did not feel comfortable driving on snow-covered roads and ice. She said she had not seen a serious snowfall in Dallas since her childhood and was caught without enough food.
“I really did not think it would be so serious,” Schneider said.
Several cities in the US saw record reductions as Artificial air remained over the central part of the country. In Minnesota, the Hibbing / Chisholm weather station recorded minus 38 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 39 degrees Celsius), while Sioux Falls, South Dakota fell to minus 26 Fahrenheit (minus 26 degrees Celsius).
In Kansas, where wind gusts dropped to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 34 degrees Celsius) in some areas, Governor Laura Kelly declared a state of disaster.
Most government offices and schools were closed for Presidents Day, and authorities begged residents to stay home. Louisiana State Police reported they had investigated nearly 75 weather-related collisions caused by a mixture of snow, frozen rain and frozen rain in the past 24 hours.
“We already have some accidents on our roads,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear told a news conference this morning. “The lichen is excellent and it is dangerous.”
Air travel was also affected. By mid-morning, 3,000 flights had been canceled nationwide, about 1,600 at Dallas / Fort Worth International and Bush Intercontinental airports in Texas. In the DFW, the temperature was 4 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 degrees Celsius) 3 degrees (-16 degrees) colder than Moscow.
The storm arrived during a three-day holiday weekend that has seen most U.S. air travel since the period around New Year. More than 1 million people passed through security checkpoints at the airport on Thursday and Friday. However, that was still less than half the traffic of a year ago, before the pandemic hit with full force.
The southern plains were prepared for the winter weather for the best part of the weekend. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster statement for all 254 counties in the state. Abbott, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson each activated National Guard units to assist state agencies with tasks including rescuing stranded drivers.
President Joe Biden also declared a state of emergency in Texas in a statement Sunday evening. The statement is intended to increase federal state aid and local response efforts.
Associated Press reporters David Koenig in Dallas, Rebecca Reynolds Yonker in Louisville, Ky., Kate Brumback in Atlanta, Margaret Stafford in Liberty, Mo., and Amy Forlit in Minneapolis contributed to this report.
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