According to weather services, several parts of the United States were hit so hard by a recent monster storm that stretched from Texas to New England and a number of places set records for both low temperatures and high snowfall. Texas took as much of the brunt as any state. Temperatures were at or near lows in areas that ranged from Austin to Dallas. Several areas had a snowfall that neared century-old figures. By some counts, as many as 3 million people in Texas lost power.
Among Texas cities, Houston got the worst of it. The Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management for Harris County, home to Houston, announced, “Nearly (all) parts of the county are experiencing low water pressure – or have none at all. Water utilities are struggling to operate in light of the state power issues. This will not improve until more power is restored.”
A total of 360,000 businesses and homeowners were asked to turn to bottled water. There is no forecast for when these places will have running water again. There is even concern that firefighters may be without water in cases of emergency.
A look at the National Weather Service map for Texas shows that areas around Houston and Dallas continue to face winter storm warnings. Currently in effect:
Heavy mixed precipitation is ongoing. Significant ice and sleet accumulation continue to be possible over Central and East Texas this morning. Total ice accumulations between 1/10 and 1/4 of an inch are possible east of I-35 and south of I-20 with isolated amounts to 1/2 inch.
Among the reasons Houston faces such hardship is its size, both in terms of population and square miles. Among the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas, Houston ranks fifth in population at 7,066,141. In addition, it covers 10,000 square miles, several times the size of Rhode Island.
The Houston Chronicle reported early Wednesday, “Water utility companies in the area are struggling to operate as the state deals with an energy crisis that has more than 1.4 million Houstonians dealing with no electricity as of 10:40 a.m. Wednesday.”
The winter storm warning in Houston is in place until 7 a.m. Thursday. Temperatures will drop below freezing again overnight. One of America’s largest cities, often hit by hurricanes in the summer and autumn, is under siege by winter.