USA: There are already cold deaths! Millions of people in Texas without electricity

Unusual cold weather and massive snowfall have wreaked havoc in Texas. Millions of people have neither electricity nor heating. Streets have been cleared, airports are closed. Other US states and parts of Mexico are also affected by the cold spell.

Houston – Unusually freezing winter weather has led to massive power outages in the southern US state of Texas. According to the website, the number of households without electricity rose to just under 4.4 million by Monday evening (local time).

The state network agency (Ercot) had previously announced rotating shutdowns of parts of the network in order to prevent a complete breakdown of the supply. It should affect around two million households, as it was initially said.

Trucks are stuck in a traffic jam, the traffic is also frozen in placesPhoto: Montinique Monroe / AFP

Local electricity supplier Oncor warned customers that the widespread power outages are likely to continue until Tuesday. Governor Greg Abbott said the National Guard was on duty to help move freezing people from their homes to one of 135 thermal centers.

According to the authorities, at least two people have already died because of the cold – they froze to death.

There are around 3,300 state police officers, almost 600 members of the military, all-wheel drive vehicles from the forest administration and 700 snow plows in use. A state of emergency was declared for the state on the border with Mexico, which is almost twice the size of Germany in terms of area. US President Joe Biden also approved support from the civil protection agency Fema.

Freezing cold also in Pasadena's Bowling Green district: A woman crosses a street when it is snowing

Freezing cold also in Pasadena’s Bowling Green district: A woman crosses a street when it is snowingPhoto: Jd Pooley / dpa

The airport in the metropolis of Houston had to close until Tuesday lunchtime due to the winter weather, at Dallas Fort Worth Airport there were numerous cancellations, in Austin all flights were canceled on Monday. The authorities asked all citizens to stay in their houses and apartments because of snowy and icy roads. The Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, urged all residents who still have electricity to turn down their heating to stabilize the grid. The local electricity supplier CenterPoint Energy spoke of around 1.2 million customers without electricity.

Sledging with a difference: a picture from Tuesday from Houston

Sledging with a difference: a picture from Tuesday from HoustonPhoto: MARK FELIX / AFP

In much of the state, residents had to cope with snow and ice. The New York Times and local media reported that some of the blackouts were due to frozen wind turbines. Wind power is an important source of energy in the state. Mayor Turner called on the state leadership to take responsibility for “the magnitude of these blackouts” and to provide a statement.

The Trinity River near Dallas is partially frozen

The Trinity River near Dallas is partially frozenPhoto: Yffy Yossifor / AP

The unusual cold weather front should continue until at least Tuesday and also affect states as far as the northeast of the country. On Monday there were icy weather conditions in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Kentucky, among others. Local media reported numerous traffic accidents. According to the National Weather Service, there was “cold arctic air” in the center of the country. For the city of Lincoln in Nebraska, for example, temperatures should fall below minus 30 degrees overnight, according to forecasts.

A skier in Galveston town

A skier in Galveston townPhoto: Jennifer Reynolds / AP

In Mexico, too, in the states of Nuevo León, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Durango and Zacatecas, almost five million households were temporarily without electricity on Monday, as the state electricity provider CFE said. The supply has now been restored to around two thirds of the connections, it said. The freezing of pipelines led to an interruption in the gas supply, it said.


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