•   
  •   
  •   

US Bitter Texas freeze hits most vulnerable hardest

09:25  20 february  2021
09:25  20 february  2021 Source:   abcnews.go.com

Energy-rich Texas suffers energy nightmare with ongoing power outages

  Energy-rich Texas suffers energy nightmare with ongoing power outages Even mighty Texas, the energy powerhouse of America, is feeling the wrath of Mother Nature. © Matthew Busch/Bloomberg/Getty Images Pump jacks operate in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas, U.S, on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. The arctic freeze gripping the central U.S. is raising the specter of power outages in Texas and ratcheting up pressure on energy prices already trading at unprecedented levels. Photographer: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images A deep freeze this week in the Lone Star state, which relies on electricity to heat many homes, is causing power demand to skyrocket.

The winter weather across Texas has devastated the communities most vulnerable , as people grapple with the challenges of COVID-19 and historic freezing temperatures. "Nonetheless, the impact on your family, your home, therein is dependent on your social economic status." At least 40 people have died in states hit hard by the extreme cold temperatures, according to The Associated Press. With so many hunkered down in their homes, Turner said, the grim truth is that the full death toll may not be known until the bitter cold has abated.

Hard freeze warnings remain in effect for parts of the South as wind chills are expected to fall into the teens and 20s, from Texas to Mississippi, on Saturday morning. PHOTO: Vehicles are at a standstill southbound on Interstate Highway 35, Feb. Bitter Texas freeze hits most vulnerable hardest . Donna Sue Taylor didn't know the cold was coming. After living this way on and off for nearly 20 years, she figured the hand-spun yarn blankets she makes would offer enough warmth through Texas ' mostly mild winter.

Donna Sue Taylor didn't know the cold was coming. Her blue-gray tent, pitched in one of Houston's storm drainage bayous, has enough room for her three dogs: Gigi, Bella and Star. With no television or phone to alert her to an impending storm though, she relies on word of mouth for news.

After living this way on and off for nearly 20 years, she figured the hand-spun yarn blankets she makes would offer enough warmth through Texas' mostly mild winter.

Valentine's Day morning, her fingers started to freeze. And her toes. No matter how many layers she put on her thin frame, the freeze was creeping in. Gigi was shivering. She got a ride downtown, where she heard the George R. Brown Convention Center was taking people in.

Texas Pays the Price of the Culture War

  Texas Pays the Price of the Culture War Instead of focusing on governance, Republican politicians in the Lone Star State spent their time inflaming grievances.We were among the millions of Texans who lost power when a massive winter storm brought the temperature down to the single digits. In Houston, a woman and child accidentally suffocated themselves with carbon monoxide trying to stay warm in their car. Two people in Austin died in a fire that likely resulted from an attempt to stay warm. Here in San Antonio, a man in his 70s was found dead, apparently from exposure.

MORE : Iguanas are falling from trees in Florida due to cold weather. Once it looked like the region would have below- freezing temperatures, hundreds of volunteers came out with boats and nets to collect them. "Response is ingrained in the community," she said, adding that the majority of them did not 7h ago. Good Morning America. Bitter Texas freeze hits most vulnerable hardest . Donna Sue Taylor didn't know the cold was coming. After living this way on and off for nearly 20 years, she figured the hand-spun yarn blankets she makes would offer enough warmth through Texas ' mostly mild winter.

More than 1,100 public water supply systems reported weather-related disruptions in service on Friday morning, impacting over 14.4 million people, about half of the state's population. Many of those affected remain under a boil-water advisory due to concerns about potential contamination, according to a spokesperson for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. 6h ago. Good Morning America. Bitter Texas freeze hits most vulnerable hardest . Donna Sue Taylor didn't know the cold was coming.

"I've never been to a shelter before," Taylor, who is 60, told ABC News from her cot. "But I was worried about me and my animals. I didn't want to die."

a group of people that are standing in the snow: People wait in long lines at an H-E-B grocery store in Austin, Feb. 17, 2021. Millions of Texans are still without water and electric as winter storms continue. © Montinique Monroe/Getty Images People wait in long lines at an H-E-B grocery store in Austin, Feb. 17, 2021. Millions of Texans are still without water and electric as winter storms continue.

The ruthless cold sweeping through Texas hit hard, and has affected nearly everyone. Grocery shelves were stripped bare and millions were without power or water for days on end.

"If you have the means, you can pack up your family and go to a hotel," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told ABC News. "If your pipes burst, your home becomes in many ways, unbearable, and you don't have the luxury of packing up and going someplace else -- you're relegated to just deal with it where you are."

Criminal Charges Could Be Filed Against Texas Utility Companies Over Winter Storm Deaths

  Criminal Charges Could Be Filed Against Texas Utility Companies Over Winter Storm Deaths Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar warned CPS Energy and ERCOT could be held accountable, but it is still far too early to point fingers.Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said the team is looking into 15 deaths and following up around 150 calls for welfare checks as the state continues to deal with freezing temperatures and power outages.

Good Morning America. Bitter Texas freeze hits most vulnerable hardest . Donna Sue Taylor didn't know the cold was coming. After living this way on and off for nearly 20 years, she figured the hand-spun yarn blankets she makes would offer enough warmth through Texas ' mostly mild winter. "I've never been to a shelter before," Taylor told ABC News from her cot. 5h ago. Good Morning America.

MORE : Houston issues boil water advisory amid winter storm: How to keep your water safe. The Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council covers 187 hospitals and 25 counties in the state and helps coordinate between providers, responders and health care partners. Bitter Texas freeze hits most vulnerable hardest . Donna Sue Taylor didn't know the cold was coming. After living this way on and off for nearly 20 years, she figured the hand-spun yarn blankets she makes would offer enough warmth through Texas ' mostly mild winter.

a group of people that are standing in the snow © Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

Taylor waited in line outside the convention center for six hours Sunday. The center accepted about 800 people -- a fraction of its regular capacity during emergencies.

During Hurricane Harvey, evacuees streamed in by the busload to fill the same Houston convention center with 10,000 people.

But the coronavirus pandemic's grip preempted that option; now, there’s “Covid capacity.”

MORE: Major exodus among public health officials during pandemic

"Dealing with the virus, in a storm like this, means our normal emergency shelters cannot take in new people," Mike Nichols, CEO and president of Coalition for the Homeless of Houston and Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties.

a group of people sitting in chairs: Sid Snow, 72, stays overnight at the Salvation Army facility after winter weather caused electricity blackouts in Plano, Texas, Feb. 18, 2021. © Shelby Tauber/Reuters Sid Snow, 72, stays overnight at the Salvation Army facility after winter weather caused electricity blackouts in Plano, Texas, Feb. 18, 2021.

"Normal operating capacity has been cut in half because of social distancing," said Mark Eichenbaum, special assistant to the mayor for Homeless Initiatives in Houston. "Our response plan to really handle a surge of increased shelter need were virtually offline because of COVID."

Texas and California built different power grids, but neither stood up to climate change

  Texas and California built different power grids, but neither stood up to climate change The winter storm that crippled Texas this week and heat wave the hit California last summer show much more needs to be done to protect power supplies from extreme weather.The two sprawling, politically potent states have devoted massive sums to their power networks over the past two decades — California to produce huge amounts of wind and solar energy, Texas to create an efficient, go-it-alone electricity market built on gas, coal, nuclear and wind. But neither could keep the lights on in the face of the type of brutal weather that scientists call a taste of a changing climate.

Good Morning America. Bitter Texas freeze hits most vulnerable hardest . Donna Sue Taylor didn't know the cold was coming. After living this way on and off for nearly 20 years, she figured the hand-spun yarn blankets she makes would offer enough warmth through Texas ' mostly mild winter. "I've never been to a shelter before," Taylor told ABC News from her cot. 4h ago. Good Morning America.

MORE : Biden administration to pause most ICE deportations, among other immigration policy shifts. The new guidelines do not change asylum policies, and applicants will still have the same opportunities to make their cases. Still, the Biden administration has kept in place a Trump-era "expulsion" policy that has 6h ago. Good Morning America. Bitter Texas freeze hits most vulnerable hardest . Donna Sue Taylor didn't know the cold was coming. After living this way on and off for nearly 20 years, she figured the hand-spun yarn blankets she makes would offer enough warmth through Texas ' mostly mild winter.

Some shelters had to stop taking people in -- either when they hit capacity or their own power failed and pipes burst.

"These are compounding, cascading problems that impact marginalized low-income and communities of color across Houston. And that's what we're saying, it's more than no power," Robert Bullard, a distinguished professor at Texas Southern University and leading expert on environmental justice, told ABC News.

Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale's kindness during Hurricane Harvey went viral after he turned his Gallery Furniture showrooms into evacuation shelters. The storm prompted him to step up again.

MORE: 'Mattress Mack' opens stores for Houstonians amid dangerous winter storm: 'We're here for them'

He set aside 10,000 gallons of diesel in prep for the generator at their Houston store, where they estimated a couple hundred people could find a bed. His Richmond store, however, had to close due to a power outage, where pipes burst "like a fire hydrant full steam."

a group of people standing in front of a store: A water bottle shelf is bare as people stock up on necessities at the H-E-B grocery store on Feb. 18, 2021, in Austin, Texas. © Joe Raedle/Getty Images A water bottle shelf is bare as people stock up on necessities at the H-E-B grocery store on Feb. 18, 2021, in Austin, Texas.

At his Houston site, pipes froze on Wednesday. His team filled 55 gallon trash cans with water to prime the toilet pumps. Finding meat to keep feeding his sheltered wasn't easy, as grocery store stocks got bought out, or closed early. But with his means, McIngvale sought to bridge the gap for those with less financial cushion, citing a "responsibility for the wellbeing of the community."

Judge extends restraining order against Biden's deportation freeze

  Judge extends restraining order against Biden's deportation freeze A federal judge on Tuesday extended by two weeks a temporary restraining order against the Biden administration's 100-day deportation freeze in one of the earliest legal battles over the new president's policy agenda.Judge Drew Tipton of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas said in a decision that he found it necessary to extend his order while the case continues to be litigated, citing potentially "irreparable" harm toJudge Drew Tipton of the U.S.

"For those of you who don't have the means, it's not as easy to go into a grocery store and purchase the water that you need," Turner said. He announced the city would host a mass bottled water distribution site Friday.

MORE: Ted Cruz back in Texas after facing backlash for flying to Cancun amid brutal weather

Turner said the city is focused on underserved populations, including people experiencing homelessness and those who have less access to services that can help.

"We certainly need to focus on these communities that have been underserved for decades to bring them up," Turner said. "Going without power for example, in the city, in the [United] States, for this long, is something that's unacceptable to be quite candid with you. And so we need to make sure that we get it right."

a person on the sidewalk talking on a cell phone: Michelle DeFord bundles up in a blanket to stay warm outside the warming shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center, where she is staying during the frigid cold weather, Feb. 16, 2021, in Houston. © Brett Coomer/AP Michelle DeFord bundles up in a blanket to stay warm outside the warming shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center, where she is staying during the frigid cold weather, Feb. 16, 2021, in Houston.

With the deep freeze casting stark relief on the haves and have nots -- Turner expressed concern about how the added challenges will impact people who might be struggling with homes not well insulated from the cold and difficulty accessing supplies,

"This storm has no respect of person, it has no eyes," Turner said. "Nonetheless, the impact on your family, your home, therein is dependent on your social economic status."

What Matters: Two lifelines for America

  What Matters: Two lifelines for America Two different Americas are waiting on lifelines. © CNN Biden town hall For part of the country, it's a literal shot in the arm -- the vaccine. For the other it's a metaphorical shot -- the new stimulus package that will help keep them going while we're stuck in the Covid economy. Tuesday's CNN town hall was President Joe Biden's moment to move on from the impeachment trial that wrapped up over the weekend. Here are 6 of Biden's top priorities On vaccines: CNN reached out to all 50 states about what their health departments would like to see from the Biden administration.

At least 40 people have died in states hit hard by the extreme cold temperatures, according to The Associated Press.

With so many hunkered down in their homes, Turner said, the grim truth is that the full death toll may not be known until the bitter cold has abated.

"We have been working very hard to try to keep that number down," he said. "Whether it's a hurricane, whether it's the coronavirus, and now it's this winter storm, and it's back to back to back -- at some point they began to say, you know -- how much more can I bear? How much more must I endure?"

a sign on the side of a building: A sign states that a Fiesta Mart is closed because of a power outage in Austin, Texas on Feb. 17, 2021. © Montinique Monroe/Getty Images A sign states that a Fiesta Mart is closed because of a power outage in Austin, Texas on Feb. 17, 2021.

Consumers will end up paying for the utility services' lack of preparedness, said Leah Stokes, an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

"Those are going to be really significant household costs that have been basically pushed on everyday people," Stokes said.

Even after the power comes back on, Bullard expressed concern for households struggling to pay high electric bills or for burst water pipes.

"If you're working at two minimum wage jobs, that $200 can be a substantial part of your budget," he said. "Let's not minimize the pain and suffering that's occurring across Texas."

When the cold abates, Taylor plans on returning to her tent in the bayou, she said. Meanwhile, outreach teams at the convention center are working with her to find more stable housing.

"Just because you're homeless doesn't mean you're not human -- what, because you just can't afford it?" Taylor said. "This [storm] makes me wish that I was rich so I could help people."

The Texas deep freeze could force this energy company out of business .
Electricity and gas provider Just Energy warned that the financial impact of the Texas winter storms could force it out of business. © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 21: A view of high voltage transmission towers on February 21, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Millions of Texans lost power when winter storm Uri hit the state and knocked out coal, natural gas and nuclear plants that were unprepared for the freezing temperatures brought on by the storm. Wind turbines that provide an estimated 24 percent of energy to the state became inoperable when they froze.

usr: 3
This is interesting!