'Disasters within the disaster': Deadly storm not over yet

Brianne Tolj
·3-min read

Millions of Americans have shivered through their third day without electricity and heat as they endure a deadly winter storm.

The storm, which has reportedly left more than 30 dead, rocked most of the US, including several states unaccustomed to such weather like Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Some areas in Oklahoma reported temperatures as low as -25 degrees and millions of people have been warned of frostbite. Many are also reporting frozen and exploding pipes.

The worst hit by outages so far has been Texas, where 2.7 million homes and businesses remained without power on Wednesday night (local time).

Snow covers the ground in Waco, Texas, on February 17, in front of homes with no power. Source: Getty
Millions of Americans have shivered through their third day without electricity and heat. Source: Getty

Officials have ordered seven million people – a quarter of the state’s population – to boil tap water before drinking it.

More than 12 million people across Texas have either have no drinking water on tap in their homes, or have drinking water available only intermittently.

Numerous people have taken to TikTok and other social media apps to show the extreme damage caused.

One upset woman posted a video of the ceiling collapsed in the bedroom, and water from the pipes rushing out.

Drivers make their way along a road during a winter storm in Oklahoma City. Source: AP
Some areas in Oklahoma reported temperatures as low as -25 degrees Celsius and millions of people have been warned of frostbite. Source: AP

“I don’t know what to do,” she cries.

Hospitals in Houston and Austin, the Texas capital, have reported they have no water or heat.

Large trees have begun to crack and fall in neighbourhoods.

Texas officials warned of “disasters within the disaster” of historic cold weather on Wednesday night (local time), telling residents to prepare for energy to not return until the weekend.

The Trinity River is mostly frozen after a snow storm Monday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Fort Worth, Texas. Source: AP
More than 12 million people across Texas either have no drinking water on tap in their homes or have drinking water available only intermittently. Source: AP

However, the storm’s wrath isn’t over yet and there will be another round of freezing rain and snow in the state in the next 24 hours.

“This is in many ways disasters within the disaster,” Judge Lina Hidalgo, the top elected official in Harris County, said.

“The cascading effects are not going to go away.”

Family dies trying to stay warm

Authorities have revealed a fire that killed three young children and their grandmother in Houston was likely caused by the fireplace they were using to keep warm.

In Oregon, authorities confirmed on Tuesday four people died in the Portland area of carbon monoxide poisoning while also trying to stay warm.

Laura Nowell, a 45-year-old mother of four in Waco, said her family has been without electricity since before dawn on Monday and has tried to keep warm by bundling up and sitting in their car for short stints.

Freezing temperatures are continuing to linger across the US. Source: Windy.com
The storm’s wrath isn’t over yet and there will be another round of freezing rain and snow in the next 24 hours. Source: Windy.com

“We’ve never had this much cold. There is ice everywhere,” Ms Nowell said.

The crisis has also produced stories of kindness.

Local publications have reported restaurants handing out free meals and businesses bringing homeless people inside and away from the cold.

With AP and Reuters

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