A winter storm moving across the southern US states has killed at least one person and injured several others.
Winter Storm Uri has left more than four million residents of Texas without electricity, after plunging the state into record low temperatures.
A 50-year-old man died in Lafayette Parish after he slipped on ice and hit his head on the ground, according to the Louisiana State Department. His death has been classified as weather-related by the coroner.
It’s also believed a homeless man, found dead in a van in Harris County in Texas on Monday afternoon, may have been killed by hazardous conditions brought on by the storm. The man had refused to be moved into a homeless shelter earlier that day.
Also in Harris County, six people were hospitalised with carbon monoxide poisoning, including an adult and a child in a critical condition, after using a grill to heat their home.
It comes after the temperature fell to -14 degrees at Dallas Airport on Monday morning — 12 degrees colder than a record set more than 100 years ago, according to NY Daily News.
Some 4.2 million of Texas’ 12.4 million electricity customers were experiencing power outrages on Wednesday, according to Poweroutage.us.
An “energy emergency alert three” was declared on Monday after the state’s power grid failed. The failure was caused by the extreme cold tripping the units, forcing the grid offline, according to reports.
Texas residents were told the blackouts would extend for hours-long periods.
“This event was well beyond the design parameters for a typical, or even an extreme, Texas winter that you would normally plan for. And so that is really the result that we’re seeing,” Dan Woodfin, senior director of system operations at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said on Tuesday.
The state set a new peak record electricity demand on Sunday night, which was expected to grow on Monday and Tuesday, when temperatures are forecast to fall to -1, with a top of 4 degrees.
It comes as a reporter from Fox News Houston said more than 100 people had decided to gather together for warmth at a local church for the night on Tuesday.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for the southern state, and the National Weather Service (NWS) said more than 150 million Americans were under winter weather advisories.
“I urge all Texans to remain vigilant against the extremely harsh weather,” Mr Abbott said in a statement.
President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration for Texas on Sunday providing federal assistance to supplement state relief efforts.
Residents are not acclimatised to brutal, icy conditions.
The winter storm has wreaked havoc for days, including a 100 car pile up on a highway near Fort Worth last week, that killed six people.