Hundreds of thousands of residents of Houston, Dallas, and other cities in Texas are suffering from both power and water outages amid winter storms, as well as heavy damage to their homes, with burst pipes, collapsed roofs and flooded floors. The harsh climate in an area little prepared to face it has already left more than 30 deaths.
“In areas with these devastating ice accumulations, residents can expect dangerous travel conditions, numerous power outages and extensive damage to trees,” said the Weather Service, which anticipates further storms.
Texas power companies implemented regulated blackouts to prevent grid overload when residents turned on the heat. According to PowerOutage, more than 2.7 million customers were without power by Wednesday afternoon in Texas, the only one of the nation’s 48 continental states to have its own independent power grid.
“The water pressure is too low,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted. “Please don’t leave the tap running to prevent the pipes from bursting.” His own pipes also burst after freezing.
David Hernandez, 38, spent the night in a Houston church with other people who fled their homes.
“My car got stranded and I was trying to sleep in the car, but it was too cold,” Hernandez said. “The fluids in my car were turning to ice, so it was like sleeping in an ice box. I had to come here, ”he said. “I had no choice.”
Derrick Maxwell arrived at the church with his partner Ariel Edward, their baby and other family members. “It was too cold to be home without food or water,” Maxwell said. “We couldn’t cook, that’s why we came here.”
Beto O’Rourke, a former Democratic presidential candidate from Texas, told MSNBC that the situation is “worse than it is hearing.”
“People have spent days without electricity, they are suffering (…) The energy capital of North America is unable to provide the energy needed to heat and power the homes of the people living in this great stateO’Rourke added. “We are close to being a failed state in Texas.”
(With information from AFP)