An unusually harsh winter storm in Texas has left more than 2 million customers without power in the state amid dangerously low temperatures.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Saturday that Texas “is facing a very dangerous winter storm” over the coming days that will “make movement virtually impossible.”
He called the storm “unprecedented” in the state’s history.
HISTORIC WINTER STORM SLAMS TEXAS WITH RECORD COLD, ICY ROADS
Rotating power outages were initiated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, early Monday morning, meaning thousands went without electricity for short periods as temperatures fell into the teens near Dallas and 20s (about minus 5 degrees Celsius) around Houston.
Kent and Brazos counties, on opposite sides of the state, were hardest hit with nearly all customers losing power, according to an online power outage tracker.
“The electricity grid continues to lose generation,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told residents on Twitter. “If you are without power, you may be without power throughout the day. Please do your best to stay warm safely. Check on our seniors.”
Temperatures fell below 0 in some Texas towns on Monday. Amarillo reported a temperature of -8, while Midland reported a temperature of 0, and Lubbock reported a temperature of 1, according to WeatherWX.com.
President Biden also declared an emergency in Texas in a statement Sunday night. The declaration is intended to add federal aid to state and local response efforts.
More than 760 flights were canceled at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and at Dallas Love Field most of the nearly 200 flights for Southwest Airlines, the airport’s main carrier, were canceled on Sunday.
American Airlines said about 345 of its flights were canceled at DFW Airport, its hub, by early Sunday afternoon. The airline said the storm was also affecting its flights across the region, with operations reduced and canceled at airports across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The current storm system formed Friday night, stretching across much of the Ohio Valley and Appalachians into the Northeast. Texas issued a winter storm warning for the entire weekend and the early part of the week.
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“Maximum cold weather preparations MUST be completed today,” Jeff Lindner, a Harris County Flood Control District meteorologist, tweeted Sunday morning. “Time is running out and conditions will quickly deteriorate late this afternoon and evening.”
Road safety will be a top priority after Fort Worth saw a pileup last week involving over 130 vehicles, including 18-wheelers and passenger cars, which resulted in six deaths and dozens of injuries.
In El Paso, a 15-car pileup on Sunday morning served as a warning to anyone wanting to travel, but fortunately no deaths were reported as of Sunday, KFOX14 reported.
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Fox News’ Peter Aitken and the Associated Press contributed to this report.