Are there unsafe areas in Austin, USA

USA: Millions in the US state of Texas without electricity

Unusual cold weather and massive snowfall have wreaked havoc in Texas. Millions of people have neither electricity nor heating. Streets have been cleared, airports are closed.

Unusually freezing winter weather has led to massive power outages in the southern US state of Texas. According to the website poweroutage.us, the number of households without electricity rose to just under 4.4 million by Monday evening (local time). The network agency of the state (Ercot) had previously announced rotating shutdowns of parts of the network in order to prevent a complete breakdown of the supply. About two million households should be affected, as it was initially said.

The local electricity supplier Oncor warned customers that the widespread power outages are likely to continue until Tuesday. Governor Greg Abbott said the National Guard was on duty to help move freezing people from their homes to one of the 135 thermal centers that have been set up. There are around 3,300 state police officers, almost 600 members of the military, four-wheel drive vehicles from the forest administration and 700 snow plows. A state of emergency has been declared for the state on the border with Mexico, which is almost twice the size of Germany in terms of area. US President Joe Biden also approved support from the Fema civil protection agency.

The airport in the metropolis of Houston had to close until Tuesday noon due to the winter weather, at Dallas Fort Worth Airport there were numerous cancellations, in Austin all flights were canceled on Monday. The authorities urged all citizens to stay in their houses and apartments because of snowy and icy roads. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged all residents who still have electricity to turn down their heating to stabilize the grid. The local electricity supplier CenterPoint Energy said there were around 1.2 million customers without electricity.

Frozen wind turbines cause power outages

In large parts of the state, residents had to cope with snow and ice. The New York Times and local media reported that some of the blackouts were due to frozen wind turbines. Wind power is an important source of energy in the state. Mayor Turner called on the state leadership to take responsibility for "the magnitude of these blackouts" and to provide a statement.

The unusual cold weather front should continue until at least Tuesday and also affect states as far as the northeast of the country. On Monday there were icy weather conditions in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Kentucky, among others. Local media reported numerous traffic accidents. According to the National Weather Service, there was "cold arctic air" in the center of the country. For the city of Lincoln in Nebraska, for example, temperatures should fall below minus 30 degrees overnight, according to forecasts.

In Mexico, too, in the states of Nuevo León, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Durango and Zacatecas, almost five million households were temporarily without electricity on Monday, as the state electricity provider CFE said. The supply has now been restored to around two thirds of the connections, it said. The freezing of pipelines led to an interruption in the gas supply, it said.