Is Texas Facing A Humanitarian Crisis?
Up to 15 million Texans remain without heat and electricity as temperatures across the state are well below freezing. Another round of winter weather is battering parts of the state Wednesday morning, as many Texans have been without electricity since Sunday are desperately scrambling to find shelters. Weather-related deaths have already been reported as one of the nation’s wealthiest states can barely supply electricity to its residents. And some of those residents have written to us to share their painful realities…
…my house is now resembling a refugee camp. yeah these are all my friends but crazy cause they all have young kids…
hence i’m escaping the chaos…
what’s insane is that big swathes of population in surrounding areas are without power and *water supply*
… bottled water flying off shelves & stores bout to run out.
… so much for Green New Deal shit… all our turbines and solar don’t work now in freeze, LOL
i live in an area behind a major hospital so i’m thinking that’s why my grid has been up and running this whole time.
The unprecedented polar vortex split, dumping Arctic air down to the Gulf of Mexico, resulted in frozen wellheads that impeded the flow of natgas to power stations, triggering electric shortages as demand overwhelmed the grid. Considering ERCOT, which manages 90% of the state’s electric load, has a high percentage of electrical generation produced via natgas, power has yet to be restored to millions of folks. Still on Wednesday, the power grid operator warned 40% of generation capacity remains offline.
The cascading effect of blackouts and controlled power outages has resulted in some critical infrastructure such as cellular networks and water treatment plants going offline.
As we attempt to show below, the speed at which one of the nation’s wealthiest states transforms into a third-world country is simply stunning.
Jared Tennant, a drone pilot in central Texas, captured stunning images of how downtown Austin has been lit up during the power grid collapse while surrounding and more impoverished communities on the outskirts of town have had their power cut.
Tennant “showed images of downtown Austin Tuesday night. Municipal buildings, empty office buildings, and even empty parking garages fully lit throughout the night,” said PJ Media.
Office buildings in downtown Austin were lit up during the blackouts.
Austin’s convention center had power while neighborhoods across I-35 were dark.
Downtown offices were lit while tens of thousands of thousands of people in the surrounding community froze.
One reader wrote that central Texas looks like a “refugee situation of sorts,” offering some anecdotal accounts of what he’s seeing on the ground which is nothing short of a disaster in the making.
Central Texas looking like a refugee situation of sorts… suburbs with power have homes with 10 to 15 or 20 people piled into living rooms with sleeping bags.
Increasingly whole zip codes are being hit with not just power outage, but water system going down too either thru frozen or electrically damaged processing facilities or key pipes bursting.
Anyone without power/water (now going on 2 to 3 days) is begging any friends or family in area still with power to take them in.
Often multiple families are camped out in living rooms of those who still have power.
Families are dropping off young children in residences & with neighbors that still have heat.
Basically whole neighborhoods on other side of highway with no power are “moving in” to neighbors’ homes on other side where power still exists.
I’m getting phone calls from friends and elderly people in the community asking desperately for firewood. People are now running out of firewood and the couple grocery stores actually open for a few hours a day are constantly out.
People are braving the iced-over roads to go looking for anyone with firewood.
Any home that still has water is filling up jugs & bathtubs in expectation of water supply cut at any moment.
The water situation is getting alarming.. especially many elderly now trapped in homes with no heat OR WATER.
Local stores (the 2 or 3 that actually open) are limiting customers to 2 gallons of water each–it’s flying off the shelves
Individuals with 4-wheel drive and/or jeeps have been seen picking up stranded strangers on side of road… often people are having to hike miles to an open corner store to raid the shelves for any canned food/or still available items.
As vehicles get stuck and/or become inoperable due to extreme freeze… people have been seen hiking out of suburban neighborhoods to reach “civilization” (or any area still with power and water)
People are also now living in their work offices and/or teachers bringing their family to school classroom to live if school/office still has power/water.
In many cases schools or some churches are not yet officially “warming centers”–yet people are basically squatting–entering any public place/room they can find that’s warm.
For most part there’s almost zero snow plow/de-icing equipment particularly in mid- to small-sized towns and rural areas… last night’s layer of ice storm means many people now trapped in their powerless/waterless homes even if they want to leave for a warming center
There’s no recourse, no answers… Oncor will not answer calls or give answers for days running. Civic services not responding… also local police departments are angrily demanding answers from the large energy companies
Growing number of carbon monoxide poisonings in area and the state…people are lighting charcoal grills indoors, also running vehicles in garages
Another Texas resident exclaimed:
So I honestly don’t really know if there’s anyway to mitigate this at all, or if there is any point trying to kick and scream and raise awareness about this since it seems like such an unstoppable avalanche, but with all of the pipes bursting as well as water treatment plants now going offline – next week when this shit thaws out, all of that sewage is going to coat the entire fucking state.
Which is gross, but the worst part of it is that fucking Covid can transmit through sewage, not all that well and it probably needs to be aerosolized, but with apartment buildings and the fact it will be EVERYWHERE and everything else… Texas is about to become a science experiment in herd immunity.
When those pipes start to thaw I bet they’ll be gushing and spurting too – how long is it gonna take to seal everything off, there’s just no way.
I hope I’m wrong, but I think Texas might be on its way to becoming a Third World country.
… and there’s more.
Houston Chronicle’s Brett Coomer reports dozens of people lined up to fill their propane tanks – many of whom have been without power for days.
More Texans are standing in freezing weather waiting for propane fillups.
People are running out of food. Huge lines were seen at a grocery store in Houston’s suburb on Wednesday.
— Marci Rosenberg (@360couture) February 17, 2021
More people are starving in Texas; a drone captures a massive line at another grocery store.
line up at a grocery store in texas pic.twitter.com/FSFdQ8B01E
— blank (@your2ndgirl) February 17, 2021
Lines at gas stations.
“The line to get into HEB an hour before they open. I expect it to wrap around the building within the hour. Why? No power and most stores are closed. Why? Texas insulated and privatized the grid and failed to winterize it. Time to expropriate. It starts here!,” one Twitter user said.
As predicted. pic.twitter.com/5hE3Qj7NSW
— 💥 The real @pfunk1978 🏴 (@pfunk1978) February 17, 2021
Users are reporting grocery stores are now placing limits on food to avoid shortages.
Line of people outside a grocery store in Austin, Texas.
Only 15 items allowed at the checkout. pic.twitter.com/7uMJUy0cL9
— UncleRandom (@Random_Uncle_UK) February 17, 2021
“This is the line outside to get to the lines inside the only grocery store our roads are safe to get to in Canyon Lake Texas. We have been out of power and water since last Sunday it is now Wednesday. Friends brought us firewood. It’s 26 degrees outside,” another Twitter user said.
… and while people rush to stores for propane and food, others are facing some grim realities at home with busted pipes.
Dallas resident records ice frozen fan.
THIS IS WILD! 🥶😱 A resident in Dallas, Texas shared this photo after pipes burst in his apartment. Temperatures reached -2° Tuesday morning. Thousands of Texans don’t have power, heat, water or food. 📸: @ThomasBlackGG pic.twitter.com/uoCALV4czt
— News4JAX (@wjxt4) February 17, 2021
More busted pipes – some homes in Texas are not winterized.
Small businesses that are suffering from covid losses, still recovering from and fighting insurance claims from harvey, are dealing with things like this. I think “busted pipes” is being said without people realizing how serious it is so just demonstrating 🙂 #texas pic.twitter.com/nnhFl8sc4I
— Tay Griffin (@taywgriffin) February 17, 2021
The Hilton hotel in downtown Forth Worth is flooded after pipes broke.
The Hilton- downtown Fort Worth. pic.twitter.com/bCt8nmleOG
— Clay10® 🔎🏡 (@djordxc) February 17, 2021
Water gushing from an apartment deck.
A Camden Property in the Victory Park/Uptown Dallas area. People aren’t just “crying” about snowfall. Pipes are literally bursting in residential buildings around the metroplex, causing property damage to hundreds of residents! pic.twitter.com/FUOptPZGnW
— Clay10® 🔎🏡 (@djordxc) February 16, 2021
“Burst pipe has been running for 9 hours at an apartment in Austin,” said one user.
Burst pipe has been running for 9 hours at apartment in Austin, TX pic.twitter.com/RBd3Z1gM6y
— blank (@your2ndgirl) February 17, 2021
This certainly doesn’t look good.
Homes across Texas have been devastated by bursting pipes all day.
*This story is developing as the power grid collapse morphs into a humanitarian crisis that is far from over.
Wed, 02/17/2021 – 12:15