Rising temperatures bring some relief to southern US

A rise in temperatures on Saturday brought some relief to the southern United States, allowing it to do costly repairs and clean-ups after several days of extreme cold and widespread blackouts.

In Texas, where millions of people were warned to boil tap water before drinking it, warmer weather was expected to last several days.

President Joe Biden declared a major disaster area in Texas on Friday, ordering federal agencies to assist in recovery efforts.

The ruptured mains and problems in the pumping stations caused a shortage of drinking water, the closure of the Memphis International Airport and problems for hospitals to work in sufficient hygiene conditions.

At least 69 deaths were attributed to bad weather, including that of a man who died in an Abilene hospital because low water pressure made treatment impossible. Many people who perished had trouble trying to keep warm. A Tennessee farmer died while trying to save two calves that apparently fell into a frozen pond.

Some 260,000 homes and businesses in Tennessee’s largest county, which includes the city of Memphis, were ordered to boil their water due to broken water pipes and pumping station problems. Restaurants that could not boil water or did not have bottled water were ordered to close.

As of Saturday morning, more than 300,000 users across the country were without power due to the storms. About 60,000 users in Oregon were still enduring a week-long blackout after a massive ice and snow storm on Saturday. The Oregon governor ordered the National Guard to tour homes in the worst-hit areas, knocking from door to door, to ensure that all residents have enough food and water.

In Jackson, Mississippi, most of the city of 161,000 people did not have running water. The crews pumped water to refill the city’s cisterns, but the chemicals to make the water drinkable were lacking because ice on the roads made distribution difficult, said Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

The municipality was providing water for drinking and toilets, but residents had to drive to certain locations to collect it, leaving the elderly and people without motorized vehicles vulnerable.

The water problems were the latest hardship faced by residents of the American South after days without heat or power as ice and snow storms forced Minnesota’s utilities to Texas to schedule blackouts to ease pressure on utilities. networks.

Grid operators in Texas said the system was normalized Friday for the first time since the storm deprived millions of users of power. Minor blackouts persisted, but ERCOT President Bill Magness said the network has sufficient capacity to supply the entire system.

The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, ordered an investigation into the failure in the energy capital of the United States, while the directors of the electricity supply company Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) defended their preparations and the decision to carry out blackouts from Monday.

Residents of Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, will likely have to boil running water until Sunday or Monday, said the city’s mayor, Sylvester Turner.