Millions without power as US braces for another winter storm

By Meg Wagner, Judson Jones and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 7:58 p.m. ET, February 16, 2021
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10:33 a.m. ET, February 16, 2021

This is the coldest morning in decades for many Central US cities

From CNN's Brandon Miller

Vehicles driving on snow-covered Interstate 10 Monday in Houston
Vehicles driving on snow-covered Interstate 10 Monday in Houston Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle via AP

This morning has seen the coldest temperatures in decades for a large portion of the Central and Southern Plains, with morning lows dropping below zero all the way down to Texas. 

Hundreds of record low temperatures have been set with the current cold blast, with many locations this morning seeing their coldest temperatures seen in decades, if ever.

Here's a look at some of the temperatures this morning: 

  • Oklahoma City: -12 degrees, the coldest since 1899 and second coldest ever
  • Dallas: -1 degrees, the coldest since 1930, and second coldest ever
  • Houston: 13 degrees, the coldest since 1989
  • San Antonio, Texas: 12 degrees, the coldest since 1989
  • Little Rock, Arkansas: -1 degrees, the coldest since 1989
  • Fayetteville, Arkansas: -20 degrees, the all-time coldest temperature
  • Hastings, Nebraska: -30 degrees, the all-time coldest temperature

 

9:42 a.m. ET, February 16, 2021

More than 500 record-low minimum temperatures were shattered across the US in the last week

From CNN's Michael Guy

The Arctic air that spread into the continental US has allowed for cold temperature records to be shattered across the US. In the past 7 days, maximum temperatures were so cold that 1,381 record cold maximum temperatures were recorded, as well as 535 record-low minimum temperatures.  

Grande Isle, Nebraska, recorded a low temperature 42 degrees below normal, with a low of -24 degrees and high of -7 degrees. This broke the low minimum and cold maximum records and was the coldest February day in 88 years. It also marked two days where the mercury did not rise above zero. 

Hastings, Nebraska, also had 2 consecutive days subzero with temperatures 48 degrees below normal. Hastings also broke the all-time February low minimum and cold maximum records at -28 degrees and -8 degrees.

Further south, San Angelo, Texas hit -1 degree, which tied the all-time record low for the month of February set in 1985. 

Records will continue to fall for the short term as the Arctic airmass slowly pushes east and hovers over the Great Lakes. Cold temperatures will remain in place in the far South through the weekend, allowing ice and snow to refreeze in the overnight hours and making travel treacherous and power outages sporadic into the weekend. Warmer air begins to move into the lower 48 this weekend, and temperatures will begin to moderate for the whole of the country by the middle of next week.

9:42 a.m. ET, February 16, 2021

Texas dad says his kids and pregnant wife are keeping spirits up during freezing weather

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Ryan Rijken is one of at least four million people without power in Texas this morning after a winter storm and freezing temperatures knocked out service.

Rijken’s wife is eight months pregnant, and his two boys are ages 4 and 2. The temperature is hovering around zero degrees Fahrenheit right now in his city of Celina, Texas, he told CNN's Alisyn Camerota.

The family has been staying bundled together in blankets to stay warm and sealing up the bottom of doors to retain heat. 

While he says it is “frustrating,” they are trying to make it fun for their kids.

“We've been going through these rolling blackouts. We've been trying to do things to turn it into an adventure for the boys, more than anything,” he said. 
10:34 a.m. ET, February 16, 2021

Another winter storm is coming. Here's what to expect in the Dallas area.

Eric Czarnecki goes sledding after a snow storm Monday in Fort Worth, Texas.
Eric Czarnecki goes sledding after a snow storm Monday in Fort Worth, Texas. Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

As the winter storm that blanketed parts of the South and Central US moves toward the Northeast today, a system that has been pouring cold precipitation on the West Coast is expected to take its place,

The National Weather Service in Dallas said a winter storm warning will go into effect tonight and stay in place through Thursday morning.

"Heavy mixed precipitation is expected," the service warned.

Here's the latest update from the National Weather Service in Dallas:

"A Winter Storm Warning will be in effect from 6 PM Tuesday Evening through 6 AM Thursday morning for the entire region. Heavy mixed precipitation is expected, with 2-6 inches of total snow accumulations where the heaviest accumulations located northeast of the Metroplex. Total ice accumulations of .10 to .25 inches are expected, with the highest accumulations of ice expected in the Waco/Temple/Killeen areas northeast to Palestine and Canton.”
9:42 a.m. ET, February 16, 2021

The Houston Chronicle, which produced a print paper throughout Hurricane Harvey, lost power

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

Texas, a state not used to the amount of snow it has seen, has suffered some of the worst impact from the storm.

More than 4.1 million customers are without power, according to Poweroutages.US, and daily life has been heavily impacted by the cold and the outages.

The Houston Chronicle informed subscribers Monday that it had been without power since 2 a.m. and that it didn't expect to be able to produce a printed newspaper for Tuesday, according to a notice to subscribers.

"Even during Hurricane Harvey, our facility never lost power and we never stopped producing the print edition, but each weather emergency brings its own twists," the newspaper wrote.

The cold even interrupted cellular service in Fort Bend County on Monday night, Fort Bend County Judge KP George wrote on his verified Twitter account.

"Cell phone service is starting to break down over the region as back-up generators at towers are freezing or running out of fuel or both," Judge George tweeted.

For Jamie Taylor, a mother of five in Dallas, the more than 18-hour power outage meant caring for her family in 45 degree temperatures inside her apartment.

"Currently wearing a sweatsuit, 2 robes, knee high Ugg boots and a beanie. We're surviving on cereal and chips. Only slightly losing it," she tweeted along with a photo of herself.

9:42 a.m. ET, February 16, 2021

More than 4 million customers are without power. Here's how to stay safe if you lose it.

From CNN's Scottie Andrew

More than 4.7 million customers are without power across the US as many states are dealing with extreme cold. In Texas alone, over 4 million are without power, and temperatures are well below freezing across the entire state.

If you lose power, here are some tops to stay safe:

  • Stay home: Staying indoors is your best bet at staying safe during a winter power outage, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
  • Take stock of the essentials: In case the power outage lasts a few days, you should have the following on hand: A three- to seven-day supply of food and water, flashlight and extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, extra medicine and first-aid supplies.
  • Stay warm: Layer up — it's going to get cold. In extreme cold, the Houston Office of Emergency Management recommends wearing at least three layers of tops, plus an outer layer to block out wind, and two layers of bottoms. A hat, gloves and a warm face mask are musts, too.
  • Be careful of carbon monoxide: Generators can release poisonous carbon monoxide if you use them inside your home. If you're using one this week, keep it outside, about 20 feet away from your home, the CDC advises.
9:41 a.m. ET, February 16, 2021

About 200 million people across the US remain under some sort of weather-related alert

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

winter storm that has pummeled much of the United States will move through the Northeast on Tuesday, leaving a trail of destruction across some states unaccustomed to such harsh weather.

As snow blankets typically temperate states like Texas and Oklahoma and power outages cause misery in Louisiana, about 200 million people remain under some sort of weather-related alert.

The storm is expected to move out through the Northeast late Tuesday, leaving a trail of heavy snow and ice in its path, CNN Meteorologist Tyler Mauldin said.

Temperatures are expected to rise as it moves — though record cold mornings and afternoons will linger through Saturday, Mauldin said. Millions are bracing for temperatures that feel below zero through late in the week.

But once the low-pressure system leaves states like Texas and Oklahoma, a system that has been pouring cold precipitation on the West Coast is expected to take its place with more wintry mischief, Maudlin said.

"I'm almost certain that we are slowly watching one of the first billion-dollar weather disaster of 2021 unfold," Mauldin said

This infrared satellite imagery shows the storm exiting through the Northeast and the next one swinging into Texas:

9:41 a.m. ET, February 16, 2021

More winter weather will hit parts of the South and Central US today

winter storm that has pummeled much of the United States will move through the Northeast on Tuesday, leaving a trail of destruction across some states unaccustomed to such harsh weather.

The storm blanketed typically temperate states like Texas and Oklahoma and power outages caused misery in Louisiana — and now the area is bracing for another bout of winter weather.

The National Weather Center warned that "another bout of significant winter weather" is expected to hit parts of the South, the Mississippi Valley and the Ohio Valley today through Thursday.

Here's a look at what you can expect in these areas: