Texans are contending with the unforeseen consequences of the deadly winter storm that has left hundreds of thousands of people without power and millions without clean running water.
Firefighters have been faced with frozen water hydrants while trying to control fires, while a couple caring for their premature baby were forced to ration his oxygen tanks. Pets have been found abandoned in the snow.
Ted Cruz, meanwhile, has attempted to defend his decision to fly to Cancun, Mexico after returned home to jeering crowds. The US senator said he was just “trying to be a dad” by taking his daughters out of the freezing state to the popular holiday destination. He admitted that the decision was “obviously a mistake” amid calls for his resignation.
At least 56 people have been killed as a result of extreme weather conditions, including one man who was found frozen to death in his recliner.
Why Ted Cruz was so hated long before the Cancun incident
Having jetted off to Cancun as his state faced its worst winter disaster in decades, Senator Ted Cruz returned with his tail between his legs – and was met with fury from all sides, writes The Independent’s Andrew Naughtie.
“Whether or not Mr Cruz actually resigns over the ill-advised holiday – which he has called a mistake – it will stain his reputation forever. But then again, his reputation has been poor for years. In fact, he is famously one of the most disliked people in Congress, and not just by the other party.”
Hillary Clinton wouldn’t trust Ted Cruz with her dog
Leaving here without comment.
Weather delays 6 million Covid vaccine doses
About 6 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been delayed due to winter weather, according to White House adviser Andy Slavitt.
Slavitt told the Associated Press that the weather led to delays of shipping by three days, but that they remain safe in warehouses and wouldn’t spoil.
Freezing temperatures and unprecedented weather from Texas to the North East forced injection sites to close, with Slavitt saying 1.4 million doses shipped on Friday while the backlog would be cleared over several days.
“We as an entire nation will have to pull together to get back on track,” Slavitt told reporters at the White House coronavirus briefing.
White House not weighing in on Cruz
As press secretary Jen Psaki told the White House press pool, via Reuters:
“We’re not spending any time, energy or breath analyzing Sen Cruz’s whereabouts or his group chat.”
Billboard, posters, and signs mocking Ted Cruz go up around Texas
A billboard and posters blasting Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz for flying to Cancun in Mexcio as his state struggles with power outages and freezing temperatures have gone up around Texas. A truck was spotted driving around Houston with the message: “Texas froze. Ted Fled.”
A smaller message below the big letters reads: “Paid for by Occupy Democrats election fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.”
According to their website, Occupy Democrats is an advocacy group started in 2012 to counter the Republican Tea Party and claims to be “the largest and most active community of Democratic voters in the world”.
Gustaf Kilander reports.
Oklahoma alligators frozen in water with snouts sticking out
Reptiles in Oklahoma have had to resort to one of their more unusual natural instincts to survive the below-freezing temperatures sweeping the state this week.
A number of alligators in southeastern Oklahoma were caught on camera sticking their snouts out of water amid the deep freeze by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s David Arbour.
The images showed lifting their snouts above the waterline with the lake having frozen all around them.
Louise Hall has more from the rest of the freezing country.
Biden plans on visiting Texas but doesn’t want to be a ‘burden’
From the White House press pool on Joe Biden’s plans to visit Texas:
“The answer is yes. The question is I had planned on visiting Texas in the middle of next week but I don’t want to be a burden. When the president lands in a city in America it has a long tail,” Biden says.
AOC’s fundraising drive doubles to $2m
She says she’ll be flying to Texas to distribute supplies.
Texas grid operators say electrical system back to normal
Texas’ grid operators said Friday that the electrical system has returned to normal for the first time since a winter storm knocked out power to more than 4 million customers.
Smaller outages still remained Friday. But Bill Magness, president of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, says the grid again has enough capacity to provide power throughout the entire grid.
As electricity and heat returned to Texas homes, water problems remained as cities continued boil-water notices and repaired broken pipes and water mains.
More than 190,000 homes and businesses remained without power in Texas according to poweroutage.us, down from about 3 million two days earlier.
Winter storms also left more than 330,000 from Virginia to Louisiana without power and about 71,000 in Oregon were still enduring a weeklong outage following a massive ice and snow storm. – AP
Fake Ted Cruz tweets and fundraising drives circulating
While dripping with irresistibly delicious irony, Tweets attributed to Cruz saying he’ll “believe in climate change when Texas Freezes over” isn’t real, nor is the fundraising call, as pointed out here by journalist Yashar Ali.
Twitter has yet to label the many versions of these kicking around as misinformation.