Millions of people are without power as Texas faces one of the worst storms in history, Harris County judge Lina Hidalgo told CNBC’s The News with Shepard Smith.
“We’re basically seeing the winter version of Hurricane Harvey,” Hidalgo said. “It’s an incredibly tragic situation”
More than a dozen people in Texas have died from exposure to elements, and several have died from carbon monoxide poisoning, Hidalgo said. She said that due to power outages, people tried to keep their cars warm in their garages, which contributed to the more than 300 carbon monoxide poisoning calls in the county.
Reports indicate that more than four million Texas residents are deprived of electricity after a historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures. The freezing temperatures created increased demand for electricity which, along with the temperatures, collapsed the state’s power grid and caused widespread blackouts. Republican Governor Greg Abbott has already called for an investigation by the Texas Electric Reliability Council, which operates the state’s power grid.
Authorities are urging citizens to boil their water as potential widespread water outages are also expected. The state expects freezing temperatures to persist in the next few days.
The collapse sparked growing outrage and demands from Texan citizens. According to Hidalgo, the regional counties have not received replies from state officials as to when residents can count on power.
“The challenge is that I can’t tell my residents that power will come back anytime soon as the state agency doesn’t have a clear plan when exactly they will have this generation – this production,” Hidalgo said, referring to restoring the Power supply. “Much of this is a man-made disaster because of this government agency.”
Wintry weather conditions have caused several states, including Texas, to close vaccination centers.