The bad weather caused at least 37 deaths across the country as one winter weather system replaced another over the past six days.
According to the National Weather Service, about 16 million people in the Southeast, including Atlanta and Raleigh, have been affected by flooding and rising water levels. The clock runs from Georgia to the Carolinas until Friday morning.
Outside this storm system, the harsh cold continues in Central and South America, putting pressure on electric utilities and leaving an estimated 2.5 million homes and businesses without power – including about 1.9 million in Texas, according to PowerOutage.US, an electric utility.
On Wednesday, there was good news: 8,000 megawatts were added to the Texas power grid, enough capacity for about 1.6 million customers, according to the Texas Electric Reliability Board.
AN UPDATE ON THE STORM
A Texas family travels 230 miles in the winter to stay warm.
Faced with a house without electricity and the prospect of having to drive more than 200 miles in snow and ice, Bryce Smith and his wife put the kids in the car and drove from Austin to Royce City, where his mother’s house had electricity.
But Smith had to get gas first, so he called up and drove 30 miles in the other direction to a gas station.
Then the usual two and a half hour trip became a five or six hour trip. He said the only thing that made the trip possible was that he was from Iowa and could drive in the snow.
There are no shifts here. There’s no help. You get here and there’s nothing but fresh snow and ice. He said there was no sand.
The lack of electricity at their home in Austin made a remote inspection impossible. He said he was concerned because pipes had burst all over the neighborhood. But at least they are safe with his mother now.
In Texas, authorities said strong demand and freezing temperatures since Sunday have disrupted power supplies to utilities, cutting off homes, cars and other means of keeping warm.
Precipitation decreases further
Freezing rain fell Wednesday in parts of Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, leaving roads and sidewalks covered in ice in some places and making travel difficult.
It is expected to rain 1 to 3 inches Wednesday night in the Carolinas and Georgia, and more in some areas.
The rain will fall on already saturated ground, which has increased by 3 to 6 inches over the past week.
The storm is expected to bring snow from the Mid-Atlantic to New England by Thursday. On Wednesday, a foot of snow was reported in parts of Arkansas.
President Joe Biden canceled his trip to Michigan Thursday, in part because of weather conditions in Washington.
Bad weather will cause significant delays in the delivery of Covid-19 vaccine to the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.
Spend the night in the machine to warm up
In Texas, many residents opted for alternative heating because electricity was permanently or intermittently shut off for several days.
In San Antonio, Jordan Orta and his two-year-old son slept in their car Tuesday night because it was so cold in their helpless home that the outside temperature had dropped to 20 degrees. His home was without power from Tuesday until early Wednesday due to previous blackouts.
The water supply was also unreliable. When she heard the service would be interrupted again, we filled jugs and tubs with water, she told CNN. I went to the store (on Tuesday) and there is no more water. So if we lose water, that’s all we have until who knows when.
We have a gas stove, so we could heat up leftovers and cook what we had, Orta said.
In Houston, Angelina Villarreal tried to stay warm in her freezing salon, where the electricity has been cut off since Monday and the outside temperature has reached near freezing.
Her room was flooded by a burst pipe, she told CNN.
Me, my mom, my sister and my pets are trying to stay warm and eat everything we have here that hasn’t gone bad, the 16-year-old Villarreal wrote on Twitter.
Flowlines and breaks in waterlines
In Kentucky, where several inches of snow fell Wednesday night, there were more than 70,000 power outages, due in part to ice storms and snow earlier in the week.
In Montgomery County in eastern Kentucky, James Mitchell’s home has been without power twice this week.
When we left (Tuesday) in the morning, it was 52 degrees in the house, so it was pretty cold, but it was still nice under the covers, he told CNN WLEX.
Some people in eastern Kentucky may still have no electricity by the end of the week, Andy Beshear said. That’s because crews still have a lot of work to do to repair power lines damaged by an ice storm earlier this week, said Michael Dossett, the state’s disaster management manager.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, more than 100 water and power line outages were reported Tuesday due to freezing temperatures, according to the Tulsa Water Outage Board on the City of Tulsa website.
Water line breaks in Tulsa are creating dangerous conditions. Tulsa police tweeted a photo of a parked patrol car that became stuck when a water line burst and water froze around the car’s wheels.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency before the weather froze over.
People should be prepared to stay home and have no power for a while, especially in northern, western and Piedmont counties, he said.
Meanwhile, as a result of a severe winter storm in the Northwest, more than 145,000 Oregon Electric Company customers have been without power since Wednesday morning. Portland General Electric said Tuesday that at least 8,493 transmission lines and at least four substations are out of service.
A series of historic storms have hit our communities, bringing with them three waves of snow, ice and wind. With each storm, more ice forms on trees and power lines, causing more trees and power lines to fall down, the company said.
According to FlightAware.com, travel conditions have also led to the cancellation of thousands of flights at at least one U.S. airport.
Covid-19 time delayed vaccination
Difficult weather conditions are delaying the delivery of Covid 19 vaccines in many parts of the country – and this, combined with poor weather conditions on site, is causing many vaccination sites to postpone their appointments.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he thinks his city will temporarily run out of cans on Thursday, at least in part due to weather-related delivery delays.
Across the country, transportation partners are working to deliver vaccines where possible … but the bad weather is expected to continue to affect FedEx shipments to Memphis, Tennessee, and UPS shipments to Louisville, Kentucky, which serve as centers for vaccine delivery in several states, CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said Wednesday.
Christina Zdanovich, Alisha Ebrahimji, Judson Jones, Dave Hennen, Michael Guy, Andy Rose, Artemis Moshtagian, Chris Boyett and Melissa Alonso of CNN contributed to this report.
frequently asked questions
What are the criteria for a winter warning?
A warning will be issued if one or more of the following is observed or likely to occur : Large hailstorms (2 cm or more in diameter) Devastating wind gusts (gusts of 90 km/h or more) Heavy rainfall (Alberta to southern Quebec: 50 mm or more per hour)
What are the weather conditions associated with winter storms?
A winter storm is a weather event in which precipitation consists primarily of snow, ice pellets, or freezing rain. Winter storms are often accompanied by high winds and low freezing temperatures, so they can be dangerous.
What are the 4 classifications of snowstorms?
The fundamentals of severe weather: Types of winter weather
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