A winter storm that left millions of users without power amid historically low temperatures claimed seven more lives in the US. In total, 15 deaths have been reported in the North American country. Traffic accidents and carbon monoxide poisoning are among the causes of deaths.
Three people were found dead after a tornado struck a coastal town in North Carolina. In addition, four members of a family died in a fire at a residence in the greater Houston area while using a campfire to warm themselves.
The storm that disabled power grids and paralyzed activities in the southern plains left heavy snowfall and freezing rain from New England to the southeastern United States, where it caused extremely low temperatures. Freeze factor alerts were issued from Mexico to Canada.
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The weather also affected vaccination efforts against COVID-19 in the country. The Administration of US President Joe Biden said that there may be delays in the movement and delivery of vaccines.
Brunswick County, North Carolina, did not pay enough attention to dangerous weather and a tornado watch was not issued until the storm had already made ground.
The National Meteorological Service was “very surprised by how quickly the storm intensified … and at night hours when most of the people are already lying down at home, a very dangerous situation is created,” explained Director of Emergency Services, Ed Conrow.
In Chicago, snowfalls that reached 18 inches forced public schools to cancel face-to-face classes. Hours earlier, along the generally warm Gulf of Mexico, skier Sam Fagg encountered snow on the beach in Galveston, Texas.
The worst blackouts in the United States were in Texas, where it affected more than four million homes and businesses. More than 250,000 people were also without power in parts of the Appalachians, and a similar number were affected by an ice storm in northwestern Oregon, according to poweroutage.us, a website that tracks utility reports. At least five airports suspended their operations in the North American country due to heavy snowfall.
In Mexico, around four million people in four states bordering the United States were left without electricity. Previously, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) restored 80% of the service in the Latin American country.