Ocasio-Cortez raises $1 million for Texas relief in 4 hours

Customers wait in line to enter a Frontier Fiesta store in Houston Texas on Feb 17 2021

38 centimetres of snow covered the ground Thursday after back-to-back storms, tying a record for snow depth set in 1918, the National Weather Service said.

Many weather-related deaths so far have resulted from traffic accidents, but Houston police said a woman and a girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning after sitting in a vehicle in a garage with the engine running to keep warm. In the Houston area, The Associated Press reported, one family died from carbon monoxide poisoning from auto exhaust in their garage, while a grandmother and three children were killed by flames that escaped the fireplace they were using to keep warm.

The worst USA outages by far have been in Texas, where 3 million homes and businesses remained without power as of midday Wednesday.

Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke said Texas was "nearing a failed state" and blamed GOP lawmakers as a deadly snowstorm left millions there without power or running water in freezing temperatures.

The weather also caused major disruptions to water systems in the Texas cities of Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Galveston and Corpus Christi.

Texas officials ordered seven million people - a quarter of the population of the nation's second largest state - to boil tap water before drinking it following days of record low temperatures that have damaged infrastructure and frozen pipes.

A patient at St. David's South Austin Medical Center in Austin, Tex., is prepared for transport.

In Texas, FEMA is providing generators to support water treatment plants, hospitals and nursing homes across the state, said Sherwood-Randall.

And Dell Children's hospital in Austin asked patients not to take showers and to use hand sanitizer for cleaning their hands due to water pressure issues, the radio station KUT reported.

"Because this is a state-wide emergency situation that is also impacting other hospitals within the Austin area, no one hospital now has the capacity to accept transport of a large number of patients", said David Huffstutler, CEO of St. David's South Austin Medical Center, in a statement.

In Texas on Thursday, just under 500,000 homes and businesses remained without power, down from about 3 million a day earlier.

Meanwhile, in OR, where winter weather advisories still cover much of the state, more than 100,000 customers were still without electricity a week after outages began. A Portland supermarket threw perishable food into the trash, leading to a clash between scavengers and police. About 70,000 power outages persisted after an ice storm in eastern Kentucky, while almost 67,000 were without electricity in West Virginia. He stayed at a suburban hotel Tuesday night after being without power since Sunday, but said he was charged $474 for one night. More than 100 million live where there are active winter weather warnings, watches and advisories.

"These are the most unsafe conditions we've ever seen in the history of PGE", said Dale Goodman, director of utility operations at Portland General Electric.

In this photo provided by Amber Moore, damage to a house from a downed tree is seen in Lake Oswego, Ore. According to the council's own daily data, wind power in Texas has generated between 4,415 and 8,087 megawatts at peak times since the storm started.

"Power grids across our country, particularly in Texas, are overloaded by the demands that are placed on them under these circumstances, and the infrastructure is not built to withstand these extreme conditions", she added. The Southwest Power Pool, a group of utilities covering 14 states, said the blackouts were "a last resort to preserve the reliability of the electric system as a whole".

Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards sought a presidential emergency declaration on Wednesday evening, seeking federal money and supplies in response to extended power cuts in his state.

Abbott and other state officials also used the public outrage to deride efforts to expand the use of solar and wind, which together supply 10% of Texas' electric power, and move away from fossil fuels.