In Frigid Texas, Desperate Families Take Risks to Stay Warm
The children played in front of four lighted gas burners in East Austin on Tuesday night as their family tried to warm up during days of subfreezing temperatures, no power, and no relief on the horizon.
One-year-old Alex Johnson Jr. toddled, his brother Gabriel Brewster, 3, played with a toy and their cousin Desiah Fisher, 6, hugged them close, as eight other family members huddled around the light of a single candle. Charlene Brewster, the mother of the boys and a 4-month-old daughter, said she knows how dangerous it is to try to heat an apartment with a gas stove. She had no option but to try it for a little while, she said.
“I know carbon monoxide poisoning, but what else can we do?” said Ms. Brewster, a city of Austin crossing guard. “Is anyone going to help us? I have a baby in here.”
It was a level of desperation many others in Texas had reached, days into a power grid shutdown during one of the coldest weeks in a generation. Like others across the state, Ms. Brewster’s family lost electricity—and heat—late Sunday night, before a snowstorm closed most of the city and temperatures plunged to single digits. As of midday Wednesday, officials had no estimate of when power might return.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the power grid in the state, ordered blackouts to prevent damage to the electricity system after frozen power plants and a shortfall of natural gas required to run the plants limited power production.
In the public-housing complex where Ms. Brewster lives, help seemed far away. Those who risked driving were likely to meet blocked roadways or iced-over hills that many drivers couldn’t traverse. Those who called the city’s help line for transportation to an emergency warming shelter met only busy phone lines, they said. Many said they had no water or had run out of food. Most businesses had been closed all week.
Utility Company Says Texas Residents May Face Prolonged Power Outages as Water Issues Emerge
Texas utility company Austin Energy announced on Wednesday that its tens of thousands of customers may be forced to go without electricity for an extended period of time, as officials work to bring service back online.
In a series of tweets, the company told customers that they “should be prepared to not have power through Wednesday and possibly longer,” as severe weather conditions may hinder efforts to bring the shuttered power grid fully back into service.
“Customers who have sustained outages should expect outages to continue until the situation improves,” reads one of the company’s tweets. “Be careful of downed tree limbs and downed power lines.”
‘Only the strong will survive’: Texas city mayor resigns for lashing out at residents asking for help during deadly storm
The now former mayor of Colorado City, Texas, Tim Boyd, has resigned after two Facebook posts telling people needing help and without electricity that they are on their own.
“No one owes you are your family anything; nor is it the local government’s responsibility to support you during trying times like this! Sink of swim it’s your choice!” Boyd said in the now deleted post, which was riddled with grammatical errors.
Unusually cold weather conditions in the state of Texas have left millions without power and over 20 people dead.
For those without electricity, Boyd encouraged them to “step up and come up with a game plan to keep your family warm and safe.”
No water? The mayor told his constituents to “deal without and think outside the box.”
“If you are sitting at home in the cold because you have no power and are sitting there waiting for someone to come rescue you because your lazy is direct result of your raising,” he wrote.
Boyd said only the “strong will survive” the storm, the “weak will parish,” by which he apparently meant “perish.”
Texas side of Stateline Road is covered in snow while Arkansas boasts a plowed strip as Lone Star State is hit by another storm, 3.4M are still without power and 33 die across the South amid freezing weather
Texas is even struggling to clear its roads of snow in comparison to neighboring Arkansas as yet another blast of icy weather sowed more chaos in a state where 3.4 million were still without power Wednesday.
Footage taken by professional storm chaser Charles Peek shows cars on the Texas side of Stateline Road dealing with icy driving conditions while those on the Arkansas side drive on a cleared roadway.
Sharing the image Peek tweeted: ‘Big difference in #Arkansas and #Texas snow removal in #Texarkana’, a city that straddles both states.
His colleague Mike Seidel also posted the footage from earlier this week, writing: ‘Can you guess what state has snow plows? It’s the AR side of State Line Ave. that’s clear. The TX side is #snow covered.’
Meanwhile, it’s not just snowplows that are an issue: The race is on to restore power to millions of Texans facing subzero temperatures as stunning infrared images taken from space show just how far the blackouts have stretched.
More than 3million people in the state were left without power for the fourth day in a row – and for the vast majority, it is because of forced blackouts by energy agency ERCOT.