Record Cold in Texas - Millions Without Electricity
A rare deep freeze in Texas that raised demand for power forced the U.S. state’s electric grid operator on Monday to impose rotating blackouts that left nearly 3 million customers without electricity.
President Joe Biden declared an emergency on Monday, unlocking federal assistance to Texas, where temperatures on Monday ranged from minus 2 to minus 22 Celsius.
Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport said it would remain closed until 1 p.m. CST (1900 GMT) while the city’s Hobby Airport will cease operations until at least Tuesday due to the inclement weather.
The freeze also took a toll on the energy industry in Texas, by far the country’s largest crude producer, shutting oil refineries and forcing restrictions from natural gas pipeline operators.
Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, who declared a state of emergency on Sunday, urged "all Texans to remain vigilant against the extremely harsh weather".
Rotating power cuts were initiated by the state's power grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (Ercot), early on Monday, to reduce demand on the electricity system. Over two million homes and businesses have been affected.
The National Weather Service said an Arctic air mass had spread southwards, well beyond areas accustomed to freezing weather, with winter storm warnings posted for most of the Gulf Coast region, Oklahoma and Missouri.
In Louisiana, where freezing temperatures also prompted power outages and road closures, some parishes imposed curfews to keep residents off the road.
The deep freeze sweeping Texas reached the northern part of neighboring Mexico as well, where authorities said they were working to fix power outages that affected 400,000 users.
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