Power outages leave Texans desperate for heat and safety


The Blanco Vista neighborhood of San Marcos was blanketed with several inches of snow as a massive winter weather system caused power outages across Texas. As Texas utility operators and politicians squabbled over responsibility for "load shedding" and "rolling blackouts" Tuesday, many residents scrambled simply to stay warm and alive.

A grandmother slept in her car. Parents who ran out of firewood burned belongings to keep their children warm. A Richardson resident watched the battery level of her partner’s oxygen machine drain away and desperately sought help to have it recharged.

As Texas utility operators and politicians squabbled over responsibility for “load shedding” and “rolling blackouts” Tuesday, many residents scrambled simply to stay warm and alive.

Millions suffered through Monday night without power as a massive winter blitz sent temperatures plunging, shuttered grocery stores and caused widespread outages. With little certainty of when power would be restored — and politicians angrily blaming the state’s grid operator — thousands were left facing another night in brutal, potentially life-threatening conditions. At least ten deaths have been linked to the disaster, and hundreds of people who live on the streets are being directed to seek life-saving refuge at shelters.

After losing power Monday, Brianna Blake's family slept in front of their fireplace.

Texas residents said the storm — and ensuing partial collapse of the state’s power system — sapped what mental reserves they had left after eleven months of a global health crisis that has cost thousands of jobs and claimed more than 40,000 lives in the state.

“To go through all of that and then also to have stuff like this happen, it’s like, ‘One more historical event, and I’m going to develop PTSD,’” said Brianna Blake, 31, a mother of two sons. “I cannot do this.”



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