Millions of people are without power as Texas faces one of the worst storms in its history, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith.”
“We’re seeing, basically, the winter version of Hurricane Harvey,” Hidalgo said. “It’s an incredibly tragic situation”
More than a dozen people in Texas have died due to exposure to elements and several have died due to carbon monoxide poisoning, Hidalgo said. She said that due to power outages, people have tried to run heat from their cars in their garages, which she said has contributed to the more than 300 calls about carbon monoxide poisoning the county received.
More than four million Texas residents don’t have power after a historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures, according to reports. The freezing temperatures created increased demand for electricity that, along with temperatures, collapsed the state’s power grid and caused widespread blackouts. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has already called for an investigation of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state’s power grid.
Authorities are telling citizens to boil their water as potential widespread water outages are also expected to come. The state expects to face continued freezing temperatures in the next couple of days.
The breakdown sparked growing outrage and demands from Texas citizens. Hidalgo said regional counties haven’t received answers from state officials about when residents can expect power.
“The challenge is I can’t tell my residents that the power is going to come back anytime soon because the state agency does not have any clear plan as to when exactly they will have that generation — that production,” Hidalgo said, referring to power restoration. “A lot of this is a man-made disaster because of that state agency.”
Winter weather conditions has caused several states, including Texas, to close down vaccine sites.