New York | Cold and snow continued to wreak havoc in the southern and central United States, with massive power cuts and heavy human toll, as a storm hit the northeast.
• Read also: Polar cold still envelops the United States, electricity gradually restored
The disturbance that had caused massive snowfall in the south began to move towards the east coast, where snowflakes were expected Thursday from North Carolina to New England (northeast).
In New York, a new white layer was gradually added to the remains of the storm which had already deposited more than 40 centimeters of snow in early February. Up to 20 cm could fall by Friday on the metropolis.
According to the National Meteorological Service (NWS), an accumulation of ice in Carolina and Virginia (east) was likely to cause “many” power cuts and falling trees in the hours to come.
In South Texas, more than 500,000 homes were still without electricity, according to the Poweroutages.com site, and more than 300,000 in Louisiana and Mississippi.
The manager of the Texas power grid ERCOT, which is not connected to the national grid, was still deprived of several power plants, which could generate new cuts by the weekend, he warned.
Several people have frozen to death in this region where it hardly ever freezes, according to local media.
- Listen to the interview with Louis Conrad Migneault, from Houston, TX on QUB radio
On local channel ABC13, a woman from Galveston County, a suburb of Houston, Texas, said her 57-year-old brother, who she was with, died at home despite being wrapped in four blankets.
The county’s Forensic Institute called for a refrigerated truck to store 20 to 50 weather victims.
According to the American media, the national death toll is, for the moment, around thirty dead.
Some residents took refuge in their vehicles to face the freezing temperatures of the night, well below -10 ° C in parts of Texas.
David Hernandez, 38, spent the night in the shelter at Lakewood Church in Houston after his vehicle broke down. “I was trying to sleep in the car but it was just too cold. All liquids turned to ice cubes so it was like sleeping in a freezer, ”he said. “I had to come here, I had no choice. “
Expected cold records
The gigantic failure of the Texan energy system has sparked a wave of criticism, in particular from the former Texas candidate for the Democratic primary Beto O’Rourke, for whom this state “is not far from failing”, he said. he explained on MSNBC.
The anger was directed at Republican Governor Gregg Abbott, for his unpreparedness, but also at State Senator Ted Cruz.
The former candidate for the Republican primary and active supporter of Donald Trump was pilloried on social networks for having left Texas in the midst of the crisis, heading with his family to the Mexican resort of Cancun, in the tropics.
Many Texans are also deprived of water, including Madie Leon Riley, of Pflugerville, who told the Texas Tribune that he had melted snow to ensure his rear.
In addition to Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, Oregon (northwest), struck last weekend, still recorded Thursday more than 100,000 homes without electricity.
A return to milder temperatures was expected this weekend with the displacement of the cold air mass from the Arctic, but Thursday, it was still snowing heavily in the suburb of San Antonio, south Texas.
The NWS warned that “cold records” could be recorded in the south-central United States, with temperatures 11 to 16 ° C below seasonal norms.
The climatic conditions significantly disrupted the coronavirus vaccination campaign. In Louisiana, the Department of Health said the delivery of doses was slowed down by the weather and that some appointments should be postponed.
President Joe Biden, for his part, had to postpone a visit, scheduled for Thursday, to a Pfizer plant producing vaccines in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Friday.