By Paul J. Weber and ACACIA Coronado, Associated Press
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – States surrounded by winter storms worked for millions of days without electricity, creating a crisis for others: broken water pipes brought to record-low temperatures, clean drinking. Lack of water, closure of airports and abandoned hospitals rush.
Texas Officials ordered 7 million people – a quarter of the country’s second-largest state’s population – to boil tap water before drinking because low water pressure could allow bacteria to leak into the system. One person died in an Abilene health care facility when medical treatment was impossible due to lack of water pressure.
In about 260,000 homes and businesses TennesseeThe largest counties, which include Memphis, were told to boil water due to water main bursts and problems at pumping stations. Memphis International Airport canceled all incoming and upcoming passenger flights on Friday due to water pressure issues.
And in Jackson, MississippiMost of the city was about 161,000 without water. Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumba said crews built water tanks to refill the city’s tanks but faced a shortage of chemicals for treatment as icy paths hit distributors.
“We are tackling an extreme challenge with getting more water through our distribution system,” Lumba said.
Toilets and drinking water were being provided in the city, but residents had to drive to determine where to take it – the elderly and those living on the icy paths.
Lisa Thomas said that her driveway located on a hill is a sheet of ice. Her husband, who is under a defibrillator and heart monitor, running out of his heart medication, is enough to get him through Sunday, as he has not been able to do it at the pharmacy to refill.
“It would be nice to have some sort of answer,” he said. “People need a lot here. We need immediate help. “
The water crisis was the latest misery for residents who were left without heat or electricity after snow and icy storms early in the week. Minnesota To reduce stressful power grids to implement rolling blackout in Texas
Texas grid operators said Friday that the system is back to normal for the first time after more than 4 million customers knocked out electricity. Small outages persist, but Bill Majenes, president of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, says the grid again has enough capacity to provide power to the entire system.
Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered an investigation into the failure in the US energy capital, while ERCOT officials have defended their preparedness and it has been decided to begin a forced outage from early Monday to reach the breaking point from the grid.
The extreme weather was blamed for the deaths of at least 59 people, with Tennessee farmers trying to rescue two calves that had apparently strayed into a frozen pond. A growing number of people have tried to keep warm.
Bob Fenton, executive administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the teams were in Texas with fuel, water, blankets and other supplies.
“What worries me most is that people stay warm,” Fenton said on “CBS This Morning”, urging people to go to a shelter or warming center without any heat.
In many areas, the water pressure dropped after the lines freeze and because people left the tap to prevent the pipes from crumbling, officials said.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than 1,000 of Texas’ public water systems and 177 of the state’s 254 counties had reported meteorological operational disruptions, affecting more than 14 million people, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Abbott urged Texas residents to shut off the water and keep the pressure of the municipal system in place to prevent more uprooted pipes.
Two of Houston Methodist’s community hospitals had no flowing water and still treat patients but canceled most non-emergency surgeries and procedures for Thursday and possibly Friday, spokeswoman Gayle Smith said.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said residents would have to boil tap water by Sunday or Monday in the fourth largest U.S. city.
Central Arkansas The water, which serves the Little Rock area, asked customers to conserve water to save the system as the ground heated and pipes began to melt.
Louisiana Village. John Bel Edwards said the worst of the state’s water was in the northern Louisiana and southwestern city of Charles, which was still struggling to recover from Hurricane Laura. He said bulk and bottled water on Friday was planned in the most difficult areas and would be focused on hospitals, nursing homes and dialysis centers.
Edwards said he is grateful that the warmer weather was forecast in Louisiana by Saturday.
“I hope that over the next several days, we will be able to fix the water system and get things working normally,” the governor said at a live event with the Washington Post.
Acacia Coronado is a core member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that puts journalists in local newspapers to report on undercover issues.
Journalist Andrew DeMillo of the Associated Press in Little Rock, Arkansas; Jake Bleiber in Dallas; Ken miller in Oklahoma Faridabad; Leah Willingham in Jackson, Mississippi; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Michael Warren in Atlanta; And in Tammy Weber Fenton, Michigan, has contributed.
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