As it happenedended1613496621

Texas weather: Record-breaking winter storm Uri sparks power crisis for millions and leaves 25 dead

Over four million customers suffering outages in Lone Star state on Tuesday

Louise Hall
Tuesday 16 February 2021 17:30
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2.5 million without power in Texas as snow and ice blanket southern Plains

More than four and a half million customers across America continue to suffer with power outages as a brutal winter storm that has barrelled through much of the country heads Northeast on Tuesday.

An overwhelming proportion of those power outages were seen in Texas, which remains under a federal emergency declaration as the state bears the brunt of severe weather and freezing temperatures.

The storm, which has seen about 200 million be placed under some kind of weather-related alert, has brought extreme conditions to a number of states that are not acclimatised to harsh conditions.

Twenty-five people are reported to have died in weather-related accidents since the frigid temperatures gripped the country, including a pile-up in Fort Worth, Texas, that left six people dead.

Seven cities across the central US and southern plains experienced their coldest mornings in decades, with morning lows dropping below zero in some hard-hit areas.

Parts of the Chicago area were also blanketed with up to a foot and a half of snow forcing school closures as officials urged residents to stay off the snow-filled roads.

Elsewhere, residents in Brunswick County, North Carolina, are still reeling from a tornado that touched down overnight, killing at least three people injuring many others.

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Good morning and welcome toThe Independent’s rolling coverage of the snowstorms currently battering large parts of the US.

Louise Hall16 February 2021 12:10
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Four million customers still without power in Texas

More than four and a half million customers across the US continue to be left without power as of Tuesday morning as harsh weather conditions continue to sweep large portions of the country.

Over four million of those outages are seen in Texas, which remains under a winter storm warning following record lows in the state on Monday.

“To those who have lost power, I know you are frustrated, I know you’re miserable, I know you’re uncomfortable,” Lina Hidalgo, the top public executive of Harris County, Texas, said on Monday.

The official added that “things will likely get worse before they get better” before the harsh conditions let up across the state in the coming days.

Louise Hall16 February 2021 12:26
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Wind turbines are freezing in Texas amid ‘unprecedented’ storm

Frozen wind turbines have caused almost half of Texas’s wind generation capacity to go offline in the midst of an ‘unprecedented storm’.

Texas wind farms typically generate a total of 25,100 megawatts of energy but on Sunday turbines accounting for 12,000 megawatts had iced over.

James Crump reports:

Wind turbines are freezing in Texas amid ‘unprecedented’ storm

Wind turbines accounted for almost a quarter of Texas’s energy in 2020, making it the second-largest power source after natural gas

Louise Hall16 February 2021 12:31
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Freezing weather sparks oil price surge as storm pushes demand

Freezing weather in regions across the US has sparked a burst in energy prices as the winter storm pushes demand and poses risks to production, a report has said.

According to CNBC, West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 62 cents, or 1%, to $60.09 a barrel Monday while Brent crude, the international benchmark, climbed 1.4% to $63.33.

“Winter storm and arctic blast of cold weather that is making its way south to Houston may have some severe impacts on the oil industry,” oil analyst Andy Lipow wrote over the weekend.

“Frigid weather means that many oil wells may be shut in. Water is produced along with oil, that water can freeze up equipment,” he added. “The cold air affects oil production in Canada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and elsewhere.”

Louise Hall16 February 2021 12:49
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Harsh weather makes ‘beeline’ for eastern Canada as new storm emerges in Southern Plains

The major winter storm responsible for producing snow and ice conditions in central and eastern parts of the country is making a “beeline” for eastern Canada, the National Weather Service (NWS) has said.

However, the agency warned that this will not be before the harsh weather causes heavy snow and freezing rain in parts of the eastern Great Lakes and New England.

“Several more inches of snow are possible in the eastern Great Lakes and northern New England while ice totals up to a quarter inch are possible in central New England,” the NWS said.

Showers and thunderstorms could be expected over South Florida, where Marginal Risks for both severe weather and flash flooding are in place.

Elsewhere, the service noted that a new winter storm emerging in the Southern Plains on Tuesday will be heading for the Mid-South on Wednesday.

Snowfall accumulations over six inches are expected in Oklahoma which will become “the epicenter for the heaviest accumulations through Tuesday night” before accumulations over 6 inches extend into Arkansas on Wednesday.

Louise Hall16 February 2021 13:11
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Electrical sparks fly across power lines after transformer blow in Louisiana

Massive electrical sparks were recorded flying across power lines in Louisiana following a reported transformer blow as brutal weather swept the state on Monday.

The state’s governor has urged residents to “stay off the roads, heat your homes safely and heed the warnings of your local news and officials.”

Louise Hall16 February 2021 13:27
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At least 15 people dead in weather-related accidents over past week

At least 15 people are reported to have died in weather-related accidents since frigid temperatures gripped the country over the last week, CNN reported.

In Texas alone, nine people died on Thursday in a speight of crashes across the state, the broadcaster said. A massive crash on the other side of the Interstate 35 highway in Fort Worth left six people dead.

According to the broadcaster, one person died in Oklahoma on Sunday, while three people were killed in Kentucky, including two in separate traffic accidents Monday.

Authorities in Tennessee attributed two deaths Monday to the storm but released no details of the deaths, reports said.

Louisianna reported its first death related to the winter storm on Monday after a 50-year-old man died after slipping on ice and hitting his head on the ground.

LA State Police warned that troopers had investigated over 75 weather-related crashes and asked people to stay off the roads.

On average, weather-related vehicle crashes kill 6,253 people nationwide and injure more than 480,000 people each year, according to the National Weather Service.

Louise Hall16 February 2021 13:58
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Twenty five people killed in weather related fatalities, report says

At least 25 people have died in weather-related fatalities so far since Thursday, a report by NBC News has said.

According to the broadcaster, most of the deaths were reported in Texas, which remains under a federal emergency declaration as over four million customers in the state suffer power outages.

The Associated Press reports that law enforcement reported two men were found dead along roadways in the Houston-area, which has been hit particularly hard by the cold.

One adult and one child also died from carbon monoxide poisoning after a car was used to generate power for heat, Houston Police said.

Louise Hall16 February 2021 14:28
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Winter storm and power outages upend US Covid vaccination plan

The country’s coronavirus vaccination rollout is being disturbed by winter storm Uri as clinics are forced to close and vaccine deliveries are stalled.

Vaccine appointments in some of the worst affected states including Kentucky, Texas, and Alabama have been cancelled or rescheduled as officials brace for further snowfall.

Amid the storm and power outages on Monday, health officials in Harris County, Texas, rushed to administer 5,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines before they expired.

James Crump reports:

Winter storm and power outages upend US Covid vaccination

Weather conditions hampering country’s ability to continue vaccinating residents

Louise Hall16 February 2021 14:37
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Record cold maximum and minimum temperatures are expected to hit the US today, the National Weather Service has said.

The agency noted that the bulk of the record-breaking temperatures would occur in the South Central US “where daily anomalies range between 35 to 45 degrees below normal.”

In a post on social media, the service said: “It’s so cold in the Central US even our satellite imagery has icicles!,” before warning Americans to stay warm.

Wind Chill Warnings and Advisories span a “massive area” from the US-Canada border to the US-Mexico border on Tuesday.

Louise Hall16 February 2021 14:52

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