Eleven deaths were linked to a dangerous winter storm system that broke records across the country. About 4 million Texas homes and businesses were cut off as the electrical system struggled to meet demand.
Among the dead was a woman and a girl, who were in a garage attached to Houston where a car was running because the lack of power meant there was no heating in the house.
KHOU-TV. Authorities said they had been poisoned by carbon monoxide. So did a man and a boy from the same family who were taken to hospital. There was no news of their condition.
At Fort Worth, two people were in critical condition and the other in critical condition from what was believed to be carbon monoxide poison.
A child was also among those who had been overcome but was said to be in good shape.
Also in Texas, a 78-year-old man died after falling into his front lawn and stuck in the cold for two hours.
A hurricane caused by the same storm system struck southeastern North Carolina early Tuesday, killing at least three.
Authorities said two people died in Tennessee, two in Kentucky and one in Louisiana.
Abilene, Texas tweeted that it had “cut off the water supply from both power sources at all three (city) water treatment plants.” It was not known when the service would be restored.
The record cold wave turned Texas into a tundra. The rain fell in southern Texas, and the sandy beaches of Galveston were blanketed white. The Galveston city manager has warned that damage to infrastructure due to extreme temperatures may rival the cost of a hurricane.
Frozen roads knocked 18 wheels out of control near Austin. A man nearly lost his life, jumping off the road only seconds before the car lost control and collided with a police cruiser.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said: “Very low temperatures will last for several days, which means that what freezes will remain frozen for a long period of time.”
He tweeted that the National Guard “has been deployed throughout the state to help relocate vulnerable Texans to warm shelters.”
The historic storm also caused problems across the country.
Firefighters in Vermont rescued a young man from freezing waters after he fell across the ice. Tennessee roads turned into ice rinks after freezing rain. In Little Rock, Arkansas, cars were parked on a slippery highway, trapping the nurses who had just got off their shift.
The temperature in parts of Oklahoma has fallen below 20 degrees for five days in a row for the third time ever. As another storm approached, the crews worked to clear the ice as quickly as possible.
In Louisiana, a cold caused a transformer to explode, ripping a fireball across power lines.
The agency overseeing the Texas electricity grid has declared its highest level of emergency in more than a decade.
Blackouts are also complicating the fight against the epidemic. After a medical vaccine storage facility in Houston lost its power, medical officials scrambled to use it before they spoiled.