The Latest: 2 dead in Texas amid subfreezing cold
The Latest on winter weather across the U.S. (all times local):
HOUSTON — Officials in Texas say two people are dead likely because of the subfreezing temperatures that have caused massive power outages across the state.
As nightfall threatened to plummet temperatures again into single digits, officials warned that homes still without power would likely not have heat until at least Tuesday, as frustration mounted and the state’s electric grid came under growing demand and criticism.
“Things will likely get worse before they get better,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the top elected official in the county of nearly 5 million people around Houston.
Law enforcement reported two men were found dead along Houston-area roadways. Causes of death were pending, but officials said the subfreezing temperatures were likely to blame.
BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana Department of Health announced the state’s first storm-related death Monday evening after a 50-year-old Lafayette Parish resident slipped on ice and fatally hit his head on the ground.
The victim was not immediately identified.
Unusually cold temperatures and slippery road conditions prompted officials in the Deep South to urge people to stay home as the winter storms shut down roads and caused traffic accidents, among other issues.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two people died in separate crashes in Kentucky on Monday as winter weather hit across the state.
One crash happened on Interstate 64 and one was on I-75, Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said during a press conference to update weather conditions in the state, where snow, sleet and freezing rain were falling.
“Do not get on these roads. These roads are extremely hazardous and dangerous now,” Gray said.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some energy companies have begun implementing rolling power outages in response to overwhelming demand for power during record-setting low temperatures and wind chills.
The Southwest Power Pool, a group of utilities across 14 states, called for rolling outages because the supply of reserve energy had been exhausted. Some utilities said they were starting blackouts, while others urged customers to reduce power usage.
Evergy in eastern Kansas and western Missouri began 30 to 60-minute blackouts Monday shortly after noon. City Utilities in Springfield and the city of Independence also implemented rolling blackouts to their customers.
The power blackouts come as nearly all of Missouri is gripped by temperatures that barely reached zero degrees, and wind chills that in some areas registered at minus 30.
DALLAS — The nation’s largest oil refinery shut down because of the winter weather hitting Texas.
Motiva said it shut down the Port Arthur, Texas, refinery due to “unprecedented” freezing conditions along the Gulf Coast.
The company said it was monitoring the weather and would resume operations “as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Many power-generating plants in the state remained offline, causing utilities to impose rolling blackouts.
OMAHA, Neb. — Nebraska saw a number of low-temperature records broken as Arctic air sits over the Plains.
The National Weather Service said record lows were broken early Monday in Omaha, Lincoln, Hastings and North Platte.
In Omaha, the temperature dropped to minus 15. Lincoln hit minus 16. In Hastings, the temperature fell to minus 26. North Platte saw a low of minus 29.
Even with the record-breaking temperatures, none fell as low as Valentine in north-central Nebraska, which saw the mercury dip to minus 33.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is urging people to be cautious as road conditions worsen amid a winter storm.
The agency says people should not travel unless necessary.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation said impacted roads are being treated and plowed and there were no major issues as of late morning.
Shelters and warming centers were opened in Nashville, Paris, Jackson and Memphis.
SEATTLE — A winter storm that blanketed the Pacific Northwest with ice and snow is causing lingering problems.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Oregon are still in the dark after heavy snow and then ice brought down tree branches this weekend and blocked storm drains in Washington state and Idaho, raising concerns about flooding.
Portland General Electric’s map of power outages listed 288,922 customers without electricity, most in Clackamas County. At least 4,000 power lines were brought down by ice and tree limbs and multiple transmission lines were severely damaged by the storm that swept through this weekend.
The winter weather wasn’t giving up its grip in the Cascade Range, where heavy snowfall was expected at times all week.
CONCORD, N.H. — In New Hampshire, snow Monday night was expected to turn to sleet and freezing rain Tuesday.
State-run COVID-19 vaccination sites and testing clinics will be closed Tuesday.
State officials were reaching out by phone to reschedule everyone for appointments later in the week.
MINNEAPOLIS — The National Weather Service says several cities are experiencing record lows amid a winter storm that’s dropping snow and ice in a huge swath of the U.S.
The weather station in Hibbing/Chisholm, Minnesota, saw a record low of minus 38 degrees, while Sioux Falls, South Dakota, hit minus 26 degrees.
La Crosse, Wisconsin, reached a record low of minus 19.
In Dallas, the low could drop to just 1 degree Monday. The weather has prompted a power emergency in Texas, where rotating power outages were initiated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
CHICAGO — Warming centers in Chicago are staying open as temperatures in the city and across the region linger well below freezing.
WBBM-TV reports that some community centers, various public libraries, the Chicago Cultural Center and several park district locations were open Monday. Police stations also are available as warming centers. The National Weather Service says the high was expected to reach 12 degrees. The city is warning residents that 8-12 inches of snow was expected through Tuesday
TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has declared a state of disaster as frigid temperatures and life-threatening wind chills grip the state.
Wind chills dropped as low as minus 30 in some areas overnight Sunday and temperatures will struggle to be above zero, adding to nearly a week of extremely low temperatures in much of the state, the National Weather Service said.
The low temperatures put stress on utility and natural gas providers, which were asking customers to conserve energy during the cold snap. The emergency declaration allows of state resources and personnel to be used to help with response or recovery operations under certain circumstances.