Texas has suffered record cold temperatures this past week as it has faced snowy weather and icy roads that have shut down many cities throughout the area. Many Texans have been left stuck without power and water or a way to leave.
Since last Monday morning, Feb. 15, blackouts and power outages have left millions of Texans without power. The issue is that the state has a “Texas-only” grid that makes up 90 percent of the state area which is not connected to the rest of the nation, so Texas cannot receive power from somewhere else. Due to the cold weather, many residents have been cranking up their heat in hopes of staying warm but since the storm has reduced energy generation, the Texas grid cannot meet the demands of all its residents. Therefore, early Monday morning the Electric Reliability Council of Texas began executing rolling blackouts in affected areas. However, many Texans have been left with no power for days on end since Monday’s initial outage.
The record cold temperatures left Texas residents having to figure out different ways to stay warm. People have been able to take refuge in hotels and warming centers, while others have had to use anything they can get ahold of from generators to sleeping in running cars. This has led to a rise in carbon monoxide poisoning throughout the state. Since last Monday, Houston, Texas alone has had over 100 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The harsh weather has also had adverse effects on the Coronavirus pandemic. The snowstorm has harmed the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine as a couple of shipments have been delayed and vaccination appointments have been rescheduled. The state may see a rise in COVID-19 cases in the following weeks due to people’s need to take shelter in warming facilities where large groups of Texans are in close proximity of one another.
Government officials have urged Texans to stay off the roads, however, many residents have been unprepared for the freezing cold temperatures and do not have the proper supplies for this snowstorm. Texans have been struggling to stock up on supplies including food, water, flashlights, etc., and wait times at grocery stores have been almost one hour long just for residents to get in and find that all the bottled water was has been taken.
Many residents of Texas have also been experiencing water outages on top of the lack of electricity. Millions of people have had to tackle frozen and busted pipes and find different resources for water. Additionally, nearly half of Texas is on a boil-water notice due to the massive demand. Additionally, hospitals are requiring special water deliveries in order to keep functioning.
Although conditions have become better throughout the state with electricity restored to millions of Texas residents, many individuals are still suffering from the results of the storm. If you were wondering how you can help, please consider donating to an organization like The Salvation Army or The American Red Cross which can assist victims of the Texas snowstorm by providing them with necessary supplies.