Iced storm barrels over the central United States, leaving millions without power

“This is the coldest thing it’s ever been in my life,” he said. “This is the third of three major disasters for us.”

Rural areas were particularly hard hit. Stafford Shurden, 47, a farmer and restaurant owner in the Mississippi Delta, has done everything he could to keep the well his family relies on from water freezing. But with temperatures expected to drop to individual digits Monday night, all he can do now is watch and wait.

“Where I am in the delta, there are no trees, so it’s like wide open tundra today,” he said. “It’s just the full force of the wind out there.”

In Austin, Diana Gomez said she and her boyfriend were going to sleep around two in the morning on Monday when the lights in their apartment flickered off.

More than 12 hours later, their apartment building and much of the surrounding neighborhood was still without power. Mrs Gomez said she and her boyfriend were worried about what would happen after evening as the apartment got darker and temperatures continued to drop.

“I’ve never been through a situation like this before,” said Mrs. Gomez, 31, as the temperature in her apartment hung around 55 degrees. “I feel very frustrated. I feel very confused. And cold. ”

David Montgomery reported from Austin, Texas, Campbell Robertson from Pittsburgh, Clifford Krauss from Houston and Marie Fazio from Jacksonville, Fla. Reporting was contributed by Ivan Penn of Los Angeles, Rick Rojas of Nashville, Winnie Hu and John Schwartz of New York, Sarah Fowler of Ridgeland, Miss., And Allyson Waller of Conroe, Texas.

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