Texas Power Outage: Millions without power as frigid Arctic air, deadly winter storm grips US | World NewsFebruary 17, 2021
Millions of people in the United States were without power early Tuesday after a deadly winter storm bulldozed its way across the southern and central parts of the country, in places where such perilously frigid conditions tend to arrive just once in a generation.
The massive storm was expected to bring snow, sleet and freezing rain to the Northeast, while the central part of the country braced for several more days of record low temperatures and continued power failures.
At least 4.5 million customers across the country were without electricity early Tuesday, according to PowerOutage.us, which aggregates live power data from utilities across the country. Most of the outages were in Texas, where power was interrupted Sunday and Monday because of storm damage or in rotating outages ordered by regulators. Many of the interruptions were fairly short, lasting between 15 and 45 minutes, but some customers lost power for hours and remained unsure when it would be back on.
The National Weather Service warned that millions of Americans from coast to coast would remain under some type of weather-related warning or advisory. Here are the forecasts for Tuesday for various parts of the country:
Freezing rain overnight in the New York City area was expected to transition to rain. An ice storm warning was in effect for parts of New York state and New Jersey until the midmorning, with expected accumulations of up to two tenths of an inch, the National Weather Service said. Icy conditions across the region could cause power outages and create hazardous travel conditions for morning commuters.
An ice storm warning was also in effect through 7 a.m. for parts of western Pennsylvania, the Weather Service said. Freezing rain with ice accumulations around a quarter of an inch were expected.
As the weather system reached north, a winter storm warning was in effect for Vermont and northern New York. The storm was forecast to bring up to 10 inches of snow, sleet and freezing rain to those areas.
The weather in most of the Southeast was forecast to be relatively calm, after parts of the region saw snow and ice on Monday, the weather service said.
Conditions in Nashville, Tennessee, where the airport reported many canceled flights and delays on Monday, were forecast to improve on Tuesday, with cloudy skies and temperatures reaching into the low 20s.
There were also reports of flurries and light snow in Georgia.
Midwest and Texas
A new storm is expected to develop on Tuesday, bringing up to 4 inches of snow across portions of Oklahoma, Missouri and the Ohio Valley, according to the Weather Service. Northern parts of Arkansas are expected to receive about 12 inches of snow.
In Texas, freezing rain was expected across the state, with ice accumulations of up to half an inch.
Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said on Monday that the state had deployed “maximum resources” to respond to the severe weather and to restore power to communities. Among those resources were National Guard troops, who were called up to conduct welfare checks and to help those in need move to one of the state’s 135 warming centers.
The power disruptions also forced Abilene, Texas, to shut off its three water treatment plants. It was unclear when service to the city of about 125,000 people would be restored, and officials asked residents to conserve electricity to ease the strain on the state’s power grid.
Various winter storm warnings and advisories were in effect for parts of the West.
Areas in Washington state were forecast to receive heavy snow, with accumulations reaching up to 25 inches. A winter storm warning was in effect for most of the day.
Snow totals for the Central and Southern Rockies could range from 8 to 12 inches, with 1 to 2 feet possible over the highest peaks on Tuesday, the weather service said.
In Oregon, where a winter weather advisory was in effect until midday and additional snow accumulations could reach seven inches, at least 200,000 customers were without power by Tuesday morning. “Utility outages are more widespread in the region than ever before, including during the September 2020 wildfires,” Gov. Kate Brown said on Twitter, noting that she had declared a state of emergency on Saturday to mobilize help.