Winter blizzard sweeping United States kills at least 21 people, leaves millions without power

The winter blizzard sweeping southern US states killed at least 21 people as tens of thousands continue to remain powerless.

The recorded deaths include people who have died in traffic accidents, as well as some who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning from running cars and generators indoors to stay warm.

Deaths were reported in Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, North Carolina and Missouri.

Meanwhile the blackouts in Texas where the energy grid was overwhelmed  by a surge in demand continued for Wednesday. Over two million people are still without power.

Governor Greg Abbott said that 1.2 million Texans have so far had their power restored, with more coming “on board”. While an investigation was launched to  to get to the “root of any missteps” that led to the widespread outages.

The residents of Texas who hardly see such extreme low temperatures have been struggling to cope with the lack of power and frigid conditions.

Homes in the state are not normally insulated for cold weather, meaning that indoor temperatures in homes quickly dropped to freezing after heat systems failed. Frozen pipes also burst, despite attempts by some homeowners to insulate them from the cold using blankets.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said that the worst of the storm had moved through Texas, but kept more than 100 million Americans under a winter weather warning.

Snow has covered 71% of the US, the NHS said.

Scientists have linked climate change to an increasing number of severe weather events worldwide, including hurricanes, heat waves and floods.

The cold snap has also forced Covid-19 vaccination centres to close for several days and hindered deliveries of doses in a handful of US states. Some centres raced to use vaccines that could no longer be refrigerated at the required temperature.

The storm has also wrecked havoc in northern and central parts of Mexico, where millions of people have experienced days of intermittent power cuts.

READ: Winter blizzard in Texas has frozen to death several animals at San Antonio primate sanctuary