Early Tuesday in Texas, a deadly winter storm pummeling the country’s south and midsection left millions without electricity and spawned a tornado that killed three people in North Carolina. Freezing weather is expected to come in the next few days.
On Tuesday, the county’s emergency services said the suspected tornado that struck North Carolina’s Brunswick County at about midnight tore homes from foundations, snapped trees in half, and wounded at least 10 people.
Houston Police say that two people and one child died in a car from carbon monoxide poisoning to stay warm.
According to poweroutage.us., more than 4.2 million people woke up in Texas without power; the regions around Galveston and Houston were hit the hardest.
The National Weather Service said that snow and freezing rain would continue, creating travel fears for parts of the eastern Great Lakes to New England. Frigid Arctic air and severe wind chills were expected through midweek in the Great Plains and Mississippi, Valley.
The storm dumped snow and ice from Arkansas to Indiana, bringing record low temperatures from Oklahoma City to the Iron Range of Minnesota, where, according to the National Weather Service, thermometers dipped to minus 38.
Texas officials called on residents to stay off the highways, preserve power, and seal up drafty windows and doors.
Since Thursday, at least 25 people have died from weather-related causes so far, most of them in Texas, as the storm covered vast portions of the state.
There were rumors of people trapped in North Carolina’s Brunswick County homes or feared missing as rescue efforts started after the potential tornado, emergency management officials said. An estimated 50 homes were affected, and a temporary shelter for the displaced was built. The Brunswick Electric Membership Company said that power lines had also been shut down, leaving thousands without electricity.
During a news conference, the county’s sheriff, John Ingram, said, “It’s something like I have never seen before. A lot of destruction,” adding that “It’s going to be a long recovery process.”
There were also fears of power outages and failures of backup generators at public health departments in Texas, where thousands of coronavirus vaccines are being kept in cold storage.
San Antonio International Airport canceled all flights elsewhere in the state Tuesday, and the Dallas Stars postponed a game against the Nashville Predators in the National Hockey League in an attempt to save electricity.
After their plant lost control at 2 a.m., the Houston Chronicle was forced to stop printing. The newspaper said in a message to readers that this did not happen when Hurricane Harvey hit the city in 2017.
As a result of power outages at all three of its water treatment plants, Abilene, a city of around 170,000 people, has shut down its water services.
Officials in Dallas said their skylines would go dark in an attempt to conserve power, and Kansas City, Missouri, did the same. Other cities spread across the U.S., including Tennessee and Iowa, Kansas City were threatened Monday with rolling power outages.
A weekend storm was hammering the Pacific Northwest. After heavy snow and ice brought down tree branches this weekend and blocked storm drains in Washington state and Idaho, hundreds of thousands of people in Oregon were still without power.
More snow and ice was projected late Tuesday and Wednesday along a cold front stretching from Texas to the Appalachian states in more unwelcome news for millions without electricity. The National Weather Service said Oklahoma is expected to be a probable epicenter for the heaviest accumulations through Tuesday night.
The trailing cold front of the storm is also expected to cause showers and thunderstorms over South Florida, where some possibility of flash flooding is present.