February 18, a historic winter blizzard has killed at least 21 people, cut off power for millions of Texas, and blown a deadly tornado into the southeastern United States on the 16th (local time).
The severe cold has swept through large areas of the United States, causing the closure of coronavirus vaccination centers and hindering the supply of vaccines. It is expected that the weather will not ease until the weekend.
Texas officials have been criticized for repeatedly failing the power grid in the state, which has caused waves of power outages, according to Lubbock, Texas, reported on February 16.
According to police and local media reports, at least 21 people were killed in Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky and Missouri, including four in a house fire in Shugland, Texas, where power was cut off.
The White House issued a statement saying that President Biden assured the governors of the severely affected states that the federal government was ready to provide the emergency resources needed.
Officials in southern Texas warned citizens not to use grills or propane heaters indoors.
Hospitals have admitted some patients with carbon monoxide poisoning who try to use these devices to keep warm in cold houses.
Houston’s vaccination center will remain closed Wednesday and likely to close on Thursday, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
The Texas Health Service said that the transportation of vaccines across the state will be delayed.
The severe cold also reportedly led to the closure of the Houston waterway and limited the production of the largest oil field in the United States, the Permian Basin in West Texas.
Several refineries are still in a state of shutdown.
In Lincoln, Nebraska, the temperature was minus 35 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, breaking the record of minus 27 degrees Celsius set in 1978.
In Dallas-Fort Worth, which is usually warm and comfortable, the lowest temperature is minus 17 degrees Celsius, breaking the record of minus 11 degrees Celsius set in 1903.
After a brief calm Tuesday, severe weather, including a possible tornado, is expected to reappear Wednesday through Thursday, said Jeremy Grams, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.
According to Taiwan’s “Central News Agency” Ocean Island Beach, North Carolina, USA, quoted the Associated Press on February 16, cold storms caused power overloading, traffic paralysis in the southern Great Plains of the United States, and brought heavy snow and frozen rain into New England and many southern states, producing painful low temperatures.
The wind chill warning was issued all the way from Canada to Mexico.
Air traffic was also affected.
As of noon local time on the 16th, 2,700 flights had been cancelled in the United States, more than 800 flights were cancelled at the most affected Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and more than 700 flights at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.