In the latest fallout from a crippling winter storm, more than 14 million Texans had to endure disrupted water service, leaving many longing for a hot shower just as the state's power grid jerked back to life after five days of blackouts.
All the state's power plants were functioning again, although more than 195,000 homes remained without electricity on Friday morning, and residents of 160 of Texas' 254 counties had water service disruptions, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Nearly two dozen deaths have been attributed to the cold snap. Officials say they suspect many more have died but the bodies have not been discovered.
A warming trend is expected to relieve some of the pressure on the region on Saturday.
"One more night of below freezing temperatures at some areas, then a warm-up is expected into the weekend," the weather service's Houston office wrote on Twitter on Friday.
Bitter cold weather and snow have paralysed Texas since Sunday, shutting down much of the state's electricity grid and freezing pipes and waterways, leaving communities across the state either without water altogether or forced to boil it for safety.
Monday was the third-coldest day since records began, according to Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon, with a statewide average temperature of -8.5C, citing records dating to 1899.
That same day, temperatures in the state capital Austin dropped below those in parts of Alaska.
In parts of the state, frozen roads remained impassable. Ice-downed lines and other issues had utility workers scrambling to reconnect homes to power.
Hospitals in some hard-hit areas ran out of water and transferred patients elsewhere. Millions of people were ordered to boil their drinking water after water-treatment plants lost power, which could allow harmful bacteria to proliferate.
In Houston, a mass distribution of bottled water opened at Delmar Stadium on Friday.
Lina Hidalgo, the top elected official in Harris County, which encompasses Houston, said she was pleased with progress but warned residents to brace for more hardship.
"The grid is still fragile," she said, noting cold weather would persist for a few days, which would "put pressure on these power plants that have just come back on".
President Joe Biden said he would accelerate federal emergency assistance for Texas and had directed his administration to identify other resources to help the state.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott confirmed all power-generating plants were online as of Thursday afternoon. He urged lawmakers to pass legislation to ensure the grid was prepared for cold weather in the future.
"What happened this week to our fellow Texans is absolutely unacceptable and can never be replicated again," Abbott told reporters.
The governor lashed out at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), a co-operative responsible for 90 per cent of the state's electricity, which he said had told officials before the storm that the grid was prepared.