With the hope of a thaw on the horizon, millions of Americans in the south-central United States were grappling with the aftermath of Saturday’s deadly winter explosion.
Electricity was slowly returning to residents affected by the storm, but many still lacked potable water. Experts warn that people of color and low-income communities that have been disproportionately affected by power outages and burst pipes may now face the most difficult path to recovery.
More than 275,000 people in nine states were without power as of Saturday morning, including more than 79,000 in Texas, up from 4 million earlier in the week, according to PowerOutage.us. More than 15.1 million people in Texas had disruptions to their water service on Saturday, leading local agencies to issue boil water advisories, said Gary Rasp, a spokesperson. from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to USA TODAY.
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President Joe Biden said on Friday he plans to visit Texas next week, but will not leave until he determines his presence will not be a “burden.”
“The answer is yes,” Biden said of a visit to Texas, adding that his plan was originally to go in the middle of next week. “But I don’t want to be a burden. When the president lands in a city in America, he has a long tail.”
Last week saw some of the worst winter weather conditions in decades, if ever, the National Weather Service said on Friday, and the conditions were blamed on the deaths of more than 57 people. More than 3,000 daily record cold temperatures were reported from February 12 to 17, and 79 of those records were all-time cold records, the NWS said.
The National Weather Service predicted on Friday that much of the United States is expected to experience below freezing temperatures for several days to come. But “the heat is on,” the service said. “It might even look tropical early next week,” according to the NWS mentionned on Twitter.
“A major thaw is forecast for the recently winter-bombed south-central United States,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. “While temperature fluctuations will not be as dramatic in the Midwest and East, AccuWeather meteorologists say the extreme winter conditions of late are expected to ease in intensity through the end of February. “