On the regional front, a huge winter storm sweeping across the southern US has killed at least 21 people and left millions without power. There have been widespread blackouts in Texas, where the energy grid was overwhelmed by a surge in demand. Millions of people in the state, which rarely experiences such low temperatures, have been struggling to cope with the lack of power and frigid conditions. The extreme weather is forecast to continue until the weekend. Deaths attributed to the storm have been recorded in Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, North Carolina and Missouri. The National Weather Service (NWS) said more than 150 million Americans were now under winter storm warnings. And on Tuesday, it reported that more than 73% of the US was covered by snow. The freezing storm has even reached northern and central parts of Mexico, where millions of people have experienced days of intermittent power cuts. 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. One county said it had seen more than 300 suspected carbon monoxide cases during the cold snap. Meanwhile in North Carolina, a tornado spawned by the same storm left three people dead and 10 injured. The cold snap has also forced Covid-19 vaccination centres to close for several days and hindered deliveries of doses. Some centres raced to use vaccines that could no longer be refrigerated at the required temperature. The Texas state has seen some of its coldest temperatures in more than 30 years – some areas hit zero Fahrenheit on Sunday – and US President Joe Biden earlier approved a state of emergency. Some four million people in Texas are without power, including 1.4 million in Houston. Around a quarter of homes in Dallas are also experiencing blackouts. 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.
On the regional front, a huge winter storm sweeping across the southern US has killed at least 21 people and left millions without power. There have been widespread blackouts in Texas, where the energy grid was overwhelmed by a surge in demand.