Millions are still without power as winter storms continue

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Judson Jones and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 8:20 p.m. ET, February 17, 2021
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11:41 a.m. ET, February 17, 2021

Texan man describes wife's struggle breathing without regular oxygen tank due to lack of power

From CNN's Alisha Ebrahimji

John Henderson’s power first went out yesterday morning and stayed off for 2 hours, came back on around 7 p.m. last night, then was back off again around midnight and hasn’t been on since, he said.

What he’s most concerned about right now though, is his wife’s health—she had a stroke last year, her second in three years, and is still recovering.

“She's got terrible breathing problems, obviously,” he said.

Henderson said his wife is complaining that her throat hurts currently and is having a little trouble using portable oxygen tanks because her normal machine works better for her.

He said the San Antonio Fire Department has come by twice to refill her tanks. She has one large tank that lasts 24 hours and two smaller ones.

Without the fire department, Henderson said they would have driven to the ER “even with the roads bad, luckily for us, we don’t live too far from one.”

Two days ago the San Antonio Fire Department started refilling resident’s O2 bottles because residents were calling 911 running out of their home supply and couldn’t get refills from their vendors, Joseph Arrington, SAFD spokesperson told CNN in a statement.

“Currently we have 4 SAFD vehicles responding city wide to provide this service to as many folks as we can, as long as we have supply,” Arrington said. “As of this morning we have provided this service at least 130 times with many more waiting in the queue.”

Henderson said the family doesn’t have any hot food or a way to cook right now.

“Been eating sandwiches while the power is out and cooking when it's on. We've got some stuff for tuna salad and some hot dogs that don't need cooking. Hoping it comes back on soon so we can eat breakfast," he said.

Henderson said his asthmatic son and mother are also living with them in the home.

“We're making due and staying inside waiting on power,” he said. “We count ourselves as blessed nonetheless. There are a lot of folks worse off than us.”

The family is doing their best to keep the cold air out of the apartment home by stuffing blanket near windows.

“Apartment wasn't made to handle this kind of weather,” he said.

In the event that power isn’t restored soon, Henderson said they will rely on the fire department to make rounds again. Henderson’s power returned as of 10:15 am CT, he’s hoping they stay on with no further interruption but prepared to make another trip to the grocery store in case it doesn’t.

“I'll go buy some more bread and some things we don't have to cook," he said. “Might get some charcoal and lighter fluid and use one of our apartment's bbq grills to cook. Really nothing to do but wait it out. We're survivors. Worst case scenario: we'll have to go to a hotel. Can't really afford that option for an extended period.”

11:39 a.m. ET, February 17, 2021

Snow and ice are moving through Louisiana and Arkansas

Jennifer Gray

Right now, the storm stretches from the Gulf Coast to the Upper Midwest. 

Snow is falling from North Louisiana snow East Texas, all the way to portions of Minnesota. 

The heaviest snowfall will impact the Arkansas-Louisiana-Texas region during the next few hours. 

Freezing rain and sleet are impacting the Houston area and much of East Texas and Louisiana from I-20 south to I-10.

11:37 a.m. ET, February 17, 2021

Houston mayor announces boil water notice 

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

The Houston Mayor’s Office announced a boil water notice for the Texas city of over two million as winter weather left millions without power and burst water pipes

In a tweet, the office advised residents who do not have power to drink bottled water instead. 

The mayor’s office also said that the city’s public works department has received reports of low water pressure but expects “to have stabilized pressures back into the operational range before the end of the day on Thursday.” 

11:54 a.m. ET, February 17, 2021

More sporting events are being postponed in Texas due to severe weather

From CNN's Wayne Sterling

American Airlines Center is seen on February 15 in Dallas, Texas.
American Airlines Center is seen on February 15 in Dallas, Texas. Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

More sporting events across the region affected by the extreme weather are being postponed this week due to the conditions.

The Dallas Stars home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning scheduled for Thursday has been postponed due to the continued power outages in the Dallas area caused by severe weather, the NHL announced Wednesday.

This is the third Stars game this week that has been postponed due to the extreme weather and power outages. Make-up dates will be announced as soon as they can be confirmed, the league said.

In college basketball, Thursday's Texas at Oklahoma and Texas Tech at Texas Christian men's basketball games have been postponed due to the inclement weather, the Big 12 conference announced Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the NBA postponed the Dallas Mavericks scheduled Wednesday home game vs. Detroit Pistons due to severe winter conditions. The league plans to reschedule the game for later in the season.

11:24 a.m. ET, February 17, 2021

Here's the latest forecast for the winter storm gripping the US

Winter weather is continuing to wreak havoc across the US, with forecasts predicting more ice and low temperatures ahead in the most-affected states. More than 3 million customers in Texas are without power, and local officials and residents are furious over the outages.

CNN’s Chad Myers is tracking the storm, and explaining what to expect in the hours ahead. Leave your questions for him using the link below.

11:20 a.m. ET, February 17, 2021

Send us your stories about blackouts and extreme winter weather

From CNN's Paul P. Murphy and Alisha Ebrahimji

As millions of Texans continue to grapple with widespread blackouts, new winter weather alerts from an incoming storm have been posted, and extend from Texas to New England, covering around 125 million Americans.

CNN wants to hear your story about what you're experiencing during this extreme winter weather. You can share your story in the form below.

And if you're looking for more resources...

  • Go here for the latest forecast for the winter storm.
  • Click here for information on how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning while trying to stay warm during power outages.
  • Go here for information on what to do while in the middle of a power outage is available.

11:16 a.m. ET, February 17, 2021

Go There: CNN is in Texas, where millions are still without power

As a deadly winter storm sweeps through the US, millions remain without power in Texas.

About 2.8 million residents in Texas have been in the dark and without heat for much of the winter storms that aren't letting up soon.

CNN’s Camila Bernal was live in Dallas.

Watch more:

11:08 a.m. ET, February 17, 2021

Houston man offers a bright light of hope to families in the dark during winter storm

From CNN's Elise Hammond

"Mattress Mack" is being a bright light for the people of Houston, Texas.

Jim McIngvale, known around the city by his nickname, is giving back to the community at a time when millions of people across the state are without power during a frigid winter storm.

The business owner turned two of his furniture stores into temporary warming shelters, opening the doors to anyone who needs it.

"We believe we all have a responsibility for the well-being of the community and when times get tough, we try to open our doors, let Houstonians come in and regroup so they can go out there and hopefully go back to their home with bright lights on," he told CNN.

McIngvale has a history of giving back to his community. Motivated by his faith, he opened the stores during Hurricane Harvey, offering the large warehouse as a point of refuge for people that lost so much.

"We think the essence of living is giving. It's not our privilege to do this, it's not our right to do this, it's our obligation. This is what we're put on the Earth to do is to help other people," he said. "When situations come up, that's when it's time form us to spring into action and help people get a better view of the day because some of their lives right now are very, very dark."

He said "there's no sense in pointing fingers," but he recognizes that "we're in a bad situation." McIngvale said most of the people who are coming to the stores are in vulnerable populations.

"Two groups of people the most traumatized, we have lots of young parents with young children – three, four, five children at a time – and lots of senior citizens, obviously the two most vulnerable groups," he said.

Watch:

11:08 a.m. ET, February 17, 2021

The winter storm is slamming Texas and the Southeast today, before moving onto the Northeast

Another winter storm is raking Texas and will menace the Southeast through the Mid-Atlantic today, hitting areas that have already been hard-hit by other winter weather earlier this week.

Here's what to expect from the storm throughout today:

  • Three to six inches of snow could fall from Arkansas and the Mid-South to the central Appalachians.
  • Significant ice accumulations are forecast in parts of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia."
  • "In areas ... with these devastating ice accumulations, residents can expect dangerous travel conditions, numerous power outages and extensive tree damage," the National Weather Service service wrote.

What comes after that? By Thursday, the storm is expected to drop snow from the Mid-Atlantic to New England.