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Southern cities hit onerous by storms face new disaster: No water – NewsWeb

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Southern cities slammed by winter storms that left thousands and thousands with out energy for days have traded one disaster for one more: Busted water pipes ruptured by record-low temperatures created shortages of unpolluted ingesting water, shut down the Memphis airport on Friday and left hospitals struggling to keep up sanitary situations.

In Texas, 7 million individuals — 1 / 4 of the inhabitants of the nation’s second-largest state — have been beneath orders to boil faucet water earlier than ingesting it as a result of low water strain might have allowed micro organism to seep into the system. A person died in an Abilene well being care facility when an absence of water strain made medical therapy not possible.

About 260,000 houses and companies within the Tennessee county that features Memphis have been informed to boil water due to water foremost ruptures and pumping station issues. Restaurants that may’t achieve this or don’t have bottled water have been ordered to shut. And water strain issues prompted Memphis International Airport to cancel all incoming and outgoing Friday flights.

In Jackson, Mississippi, many of the metropolis of about 161,000 had no operating water. Crews pumped water to refill metropolis tanks however confronted a scarcity of chemical compounds for therapy as a result of icy roads made it tough for distributors to ship them, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba stated.

He stated town’s water mains are greater than 100 years previous and never constructed to deal with the freezing climate that hit town as a number of storms dumped document quantities of snow throughout the South.

“We are dealing with an extreme challenge with getting more water through our distribution system,” stated Lumumba.

The metropolis was offering water for flushing bathrooms and ingesting, however residents needed to decide it up, leaving the aged and people residing on icy roads susceptible.

Lisa Thomas stated her driveway on a hill in Jackson was a sheet of ice. Her husband, who’s on a defibrillator and coronary heart monitor, has solely sufficient coronary heart medicine to get him by Sunday as a result of she hasn’t been in a position to go to the pharmacy.

“People are in dire need here,” Thomas stated.

Paul Lee Davis acquired to the entrance of the road at a water station arrange by metropolis officers solely to have the water run out. He was nonetheless ready for it to be replenished three and a have hours after arriving.

“We need water, the stores all are out. I don’t see what choice we have,” Davis stated.

The water woes have been the most recent distress for individuals throughout the South who went with out warmth or electrical energy for days after the ice and snow storms earlier within the week, forcing rolling blackouts from Minnesota to Texas.

Texas electrical grid operators stated electrical energy transmission had returned to regular for the primary time since historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created a surge in demand for electrical energy to heat up dwelling — buckling the state’s energy grid and inflicting the widespread blackouts.

Smaller outages remained, however Bill Magness, president of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, stated the grid now can present energy all through your complete system.

Gov. Greg Abbott ordered an investigation into the failure of a state often called the U.S. power capital. ERCOT officers have defended their preparations and the choice to start pressured outages Monday because the grid reached a breaking level.

The storms additionally left greater than 330,000 from Virginia to Louisiana with out energy. About 60,000 in Oregon on Friday have been nonetheless enduring a weeklong outage following an enormous ice and snowstorm. Oregon’s governor ordered the National Guard to go door-to-door within the hardest-hit areas to make sure residents have sufficient meals and water.

The excessive climate was blamed for the deaths of at the very least 69 individuals, together with many who perished struggling to get heat and a Tennessee farmer who tried to avoid wasting two calves that apparently wandered onto a frozen pond.

Federal Emergency Management Agency appearing administrator Bob Fenton stated groups in Texas have been distributing gasoline, water, blankets and different provides.

“What has me most worried is making sure that people stay warm,” Fenton stated on “CBS This Morning.”

In many areas, water strain dropped after traces froze and since individuals left taps dripping to stop pipes from icing, authorities stated.

As of Friday afternoon, greater than 1,300 Texas public water techniques and 159 counties had reported weather-related operational disruptions affecting greater than 14.9 million individuals, based on Texas Commission on Environmental Quality spokeswoman Tiffany Young.

More than 1 million gallons (3.eight million liters) of water was being trucked Friday to the Texas capital. But Austin’s water director, Greg Maszaros, implored residents to reduce the usage of dwelling taps as a result of “there’s still a lot of unknowns as we pressurize the system.”

In Dallas, David Lopez stated the plumbing firm he works for acquired greater than 600 requires service over the past week.

“It’s pretty much first come, first served,” stated Lopez, as he and a colleague manhandled a brand new water heater out of their van on Friday. “Everyone’s got emergencies.”

Houston residents most likely must boil faucet water within the fourth-largest U.S. metropolis till Sunday or Monday, stated Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Water service was restored Friday to 2 Houston Methodist group hospitals, however officers nonetheless have been bringing in ingesting water and a few elective surgical procedures have been canceled, spokeswoman Gale Smith stated.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis stated it was pressured to change to bottled water and bagged ice for all consumption and that employees and sufferers have been washing with hand sanitizer and no-rinse bathing wipes. All non-urgent surgical procedures have been postponed.

Central Arkansas Water within the Little Rock space requested clients to preserve water to assist shield its system as the bottom started to heat and pipes thawed. The metropolis of Hot Springs warned Thursday night time that its water provide was “critically low” and in addition requested clients to preserve.

In Little Rock, the Museum of Discovery reported {that a} damaged pipe flooded its constructing — inflicting in depth harm to theaters, galleries and places of work and killing one show animal, a blue-tongued skink lizard.

More than 192,000 Louisiana residents — some nonetheless struggling to get better from final August’s Hurricane Laura — had no water service Friday, based on the state well being division. Tens of hundreds extra remained beneath boil-water advisories.

Bulk and bottled water deliveries have been deliberate Friday to the hardest-hit Louisiana areas with a concentrate on hospitals, nursing houses and dialysis facilities, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards stated, including that he was hopeful that hotter climate anticipated in the course of the weekend would pace up repairs.

In the Louisiana group of Hackberry, Nicole Beard stated her boyfriend crawled beneath his home to attempt to repair a damaged water line however couldn’t as a result of he didn’t have the precise elements and it was too darkish. She was utilizing bottled water and despatched her two daughters to remain at one other dwelling.

“People are still just struggling over here,” she stated.


Acacia Coronado is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points.


Sainz reported from Memphis. Associated Press journalists Andrew DeMillo in Little Rock, Arkansas; Rebecca Santana in New Orleans; Gillian Flaccus in Portland; Jake Bleiberg in Dallas; Ken Miller in Oklahoma City; Leah Willingham in Jackson, Mississippi; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Michael Warren in Atlanta; and Tammy Webber in Fenton, Michigan, contributed.

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