Lights back on in Texas, but water woes rise in South

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Power has been restored to more Texans, with fewer than half a million homes still without electricity. But while the lights are on and the heat has returned for many, another crisis is developing - a water shortage. "These power cuts will likely last until the weather warms up in a couple of days to reduce demand and allow more gas to flow to our power plant fleet".

The National Weather Service said the storm was moving across several states on a 2,300-kilometer (1,430-mile) track to the Northeast, with 38 centimeters (15 inches) of snow on the ground in the state of Arkansas, which is northeast of Texas, heavy snow and ice farther north through the Appalachian Mountains and up to 20 centimeters (8 inches) of snow predicted Thursday and Friday in the NY metropolitan region.

"There's really no letup to some of the misery people are feeling across that area", said Bob Oravec, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service, referring to Texas.

Nationwide, more than 30 deaths have been blamed on the weather this week - some who died trying to stay warm in their homes. Two others in the city died of carbon monoxide poisoning when a family ran a auto in a garage in the hopes of keeping warm. A woman and her three grandchildren were killed in a fire that authorities said might have been caused by a fireplace they were using.

The Texas Electric Reliability Council, which plays the role of Texas power traffic officer directing energy from producers to distributors, predicted that the wind will generate about 7,070 megawatts at peak load times this winter.

Continued freezing temperatures throughout the state have taken a toll on plumbing and sewer infrastructure.

FEMA and the Department of Energy have also been talking with private energy companies to explore whether there's more that can be done to provide support to the affected regions, she said, noting that though power outages are being reduced, blackouts will continue.

The weather also disrupted water systems in several Southern cities, including in New Orleans and Shreveport, Louisiana, where city fire trucks delivered water to several hospitals, and bottled water was being brought in for patients and staff, Shreveport television station KSLA reported.

In Harris County, Texas - which includes Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city - more than 1 million people either had no water or were instructed to boil it before consuming it.

Water pressure fell after lines froze, and many people left faucets dripping to prevent pipes from icing over, said Toby Baker, executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott went on Sean Hannity to say, "this shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America".

"Because this is a state-wide emergency situation that is also impacting other hospitals within the Austin area, no one hospital now has the capacity to accept transport of a large number of patients", said David Huffstutler, CEO of St. David's South Austin Medical Center, in a statement.

Abbott urged residents to shut off water to prevent more burst pipes and preserve municipal system pressure.

Emergency rooms were crowded "due to patients being unable to meet their medical needs at home without electricity", Smith said. Almost 12 million Texas remain under a boil order, as cracked pipes and inoperable sanitation stations have contaminated the state's water supply.

The historic cold, coupled with a lack of power, has caused the sewer infrastructure throughout the state to crumble. The Associated Press reports that a Portland supermarket that had been without electricity tossed perishable food into dumpsters, leading to a clash between scavengers and police.

Utilities from Minnesota to Texas implemented rolling blackouts to ease strained power grids.

Sen. Ted Cruz and his family flew to Cancun, Mexico, as a winter disaster in his home state left millions without power or water, according to photos posted on social media and confirmed to CNN by a person familiar with the travel itinerary. A spokeswoman for the Sewerage and Water Board said on-site generators were used until electricity was restored.

And in Jackson, Mississippi, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said nearly the entire city of about 150,000 was without water Thursday night. "In the end, we were without 1/3 of our thermal power plant fleet", University of Texas at Austin Ph.D. The man walked onto the ice just off Belle Isle, Michigan, about 5 p.m. and began "jumping up and down", Lt. Jeremiah Schiessel said.

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