Exasperated Texans lined up for hours to get drinking water on Friday, after an unprecedented and deadly polar cold spell left millions of people without power and water for days.
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This extreme weather episode wreaked havoc across the southern and central United States this week, claiming the lives of at least 40 people, according to U.S. media.
Across Texas, one of the hardest-hit states, power has been restored in places, but many residents still lack clean water.
Houston resident Percy McGee rated his frustration level at “10” as he waited his turn at the city’s Delmar Stadium, which has become a site for massive bottled water.
“I am very frustrated. I am diabetic. I host a 94 year old who is diabetic. We did not have any medication. Nothing … ”he said.
Erica Granado, another Houston resident, said she rushed to the site after seeing it on the news.
“I hurried because I thought everyone – yes, everyone would want water,” she says.
The polar cold and snowstorms that have hit the United States for several days are expected to gradually subside as the weekend approaches, especially in the south of the country, according to the United States Meteorological Services (NWS).
The unusually cold week in the southern plains will end this weekend as a low brings warmer air, ”the NWS said Friday.
Meanwhile, the cold snap still enveloped the country on Friday, from Dallas to New York, with snowstorms forecast on the east coast, especially in the New England (northeast) region, and heavy rain on South Carolina and North Carolina.
More accustomed to heat waves than to snow, southern states, such as Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, still experience sub-zero temperatures. The mercury should, however, rise again on Saturday, the cities of Houston and Austin, Texas, returning to temperatures around 10 ° C.
More than 115,000 homes were still without power in the “Lone Star State” on Friday night, as authorities strive to restore power, according to the poweroutage.us site, as more than 110,000 in Louisiana and in Mississippi.
Residents of Texas are also struggling with broken pipes due to freezing.
“I woke up and heard water running. I turned around and saw that it was coming from the ceiling, ”says 19-year-old Zane Solbak.
“I immediately said to myself that I had to grab everything I could and go all at once. I went out, I turned off the water. And when I came back, the ceiling had already collapsed, ”he says.
Because of these water supply problems, some seven million Texans have been advised to boil water before consuming it or using it for cooking.
Joe Biden spoke with the acting director of the federal agency for emergencies, Bob Fenton, on Friday and is due to sign a new declaration of emergency for Texas.
Mr. Biden also said he had planned to travel to the Mexican border state, but did not want his visit to be “another burden”. The exact date of his trip will be specified at the beginning of next week.