At least six deaths have been linked to a dangerous winter storm system that threatens lives and breaks records across the country. Millions of businesses and homes in Texas are without power and heat as the electrical system struggles to meet demand.
Among the dead:
A person died in a highway in Kentucky when they lost control of their vehicle and were hit by a semi-truck, a state trooper confirmed to CBS News. A 50-year-old man in Louisiana also died after slipping on ice and hitting his head on the ground, officials said.
A 78-year-old man died in Texas after falling on his front lawn and being stuck in the cold for two hours, and a 10-year-old boy died in Tennessee after falling into a frozen pond, officials said. The boy’s 6-year-old sister, who also fell through the ice into the pond, was taken to hospital in critical condition.
The record cold snap has turned Texas into a tundra. Flurries fell in southern Texas and covered Galveston’s sandy beaches in white. Galveston’s mayor warned that infrastructure damage caused by the extreme temperatures could compete with the cost of a hurricane.
Frozen roads sent an 18-wheeler out of control near Austin. A man nearly lost his life and jumped out of the road just seconds before a car lost control and crashed into a police car.
“The ultra-low temperatures will last for several days, meaning what gets frozen stays frozen for a long time,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said.
The historic storm also created problems across the country.
Firefighters in Vermont rescued a young man from cold waters after he fell through the ice. Tennessee roads turned into ice rinks after frozen rainfall fell. In Little Rock, Arkansas, cars stood still on a slippery highway, catching nurses who had just come out of their shifts.
Temperatures in parts of Oklahoma plunged below 20 degrees for five days just for the third time ever. With another storm threatening, the crews worked to clear snow as quickly as possible.
In Louisiana, the cold caused a transformer to explode and tore a fireball through power lines.
The agency, which oversees the Texas power grid, has declared its highest level of emergency in over a decade. Texans sit in the dark Monday night after rolling blackouts were issued due to high power consumption.
The power outages also complicate the fight against the pandemic. After a medical facility that stored vaccines in Houston lost power, medical officials got looked up to use them before indulging.
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