This winter storm is affection more than 100 million Americans, but has Texas especially caught in its clutches.
The tentacles from this monster continue adding to the misery in the Southwest, as a new danger emerged late this week: a lack of clean water.
While the power is returning, there are now 13 million Texans facing the challenge of finding clean water, and “boil your water” warnings are in effect for about half the Lone Star State, according to Executive Director for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Toby Baker.
The water supply itself is dangerously low because of damage caused by the cold weather with than 700 water supply systems affected.
The water supply in Austin lost 325 million gallons because of burst pipes, Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros said during a news conference Thursday.
“We know that there are tens of thousands of leaks,” Meszaros said. “As the fire department indicated they have responded to thousands upon thousands of burst pipes.”
“That is an incredible amount of water. Nothing I’ve ever seen before,” he said.
The water service concerns are not only a Texas problem, as cities such as Jackson, Miss., have been cut off from the water supply.
A swath of the South punished by the historic storms saw residents forced to boil snow to make water.
The winter blast has something left, too, before conditions begin to improve after this weekend.
More record low temperatures were expected Friday night into Saturday morning. Through early Friday, more than 25 million residents endured another hard freeze warning in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Mercifully, temperatures are expected to reach the 60s and 70s in the hardest-hit areas of the Southwest next week.