About twenty people died because of the particularly harsh conditions, according to American media.
The cold wave that freezes much of the United States is felt as far as Mexico. Millions of Americans remain without power on Wednesday, February 17, due to a polar weather phenomenon that saw thermometers post record levels, such as in Amarillo in North Texas, where mercury did not exceed – 12 ° C in the morning.
The drop in temperatures in this southern state of the United States, unprepared to face such cold, has prompted the American Red Cross to open 35 centers across Texas, to allow people who wish to warm up. Nationwide, around twenty deaths are linked to particularly harsh winter conditions, according to American media.
Homes and businesses in the cold and in the dark
This exceptional cold spell has pushed electricity suppliers to chain partial cuts since this weekend, in order to avoid overheating of the entire system due to peaks in demand. The poweroutage.us site, which lists power outages in the United States, counts more than 2.5 million homes and businesses in Texas were without power Wednesday morning.
More than 450,000 people were also without electricity Wednesday morning across Oregon (northwest), Louisiana (south), Mississippi (south), Kentucky (central-east), Ohio (north- east), West Virginia (east), and Virginia (east), according to poweroutage.us. The power shortage, which arose out of increased demand, was compounded by freezing conditions shutting down several gas-fired power plants and wind turbines.
73% of the United States covered in snow
Up to 73% of the United States, excluding Hawaii, Alaska and other territories not attached to the continent, were covered with snow, on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) . A record since the start of these measurements, in 2003. This “spectacular cold snap that hit the continental United States is linked to the combination of an arctic high carrying freezing temperatures and a very active depression with waves of precipitation, “ the NWS explained on Monday.
The extreme conditions also caused the formation of several tornadoes, one of which hit the night of Monday to Tuesday in the southeastern United States, in North Carolina, killing three people and leaving ten injured.