Winter cold brings power outages and travel problems to the southern US | Weather news

The wintry weather has resulted in at least two deaths in the state of Texas and more than 1,600 flight cancellations.

Another flurry of winter storms brought icy conditions to large areas of the southern United States, causing transportation problems and leaving thousands without power.

More than 1,600 flights were canceled and authorities reported an increase in accidents due to poor driving conditions as an ice storm carried bad weather from west Texas to the state of West Virginia on Tuesday.

Two deaths have been attributed to the storm so far, both as a result of traffic accidents. The police Department in Arlington, Texas, reported one fatality in a vehicle “rollover” during the night, a fire department in Austin, Texas, said a fatality occurred there during a 10-car pileup on a freeway ramp.

“Since midnight, we have responded to 90+ accidents, including 3 with our own units! There were also 2 fires this morning, both caused by heaters,” the Austin Fire Department tweeted. “Please STAY HOME AND OFF THE ROADS, give heaters plenty of room, never use an oven to stay warm, and keep generators out.”

The ice storm is the latest in a round of extreme weather to test infrastructure and public authorities in the US, raising questions about the government’s preparedness for the severe conditions expected to become routine as a result of climate change.

In late December, a “bomb cyclone” swept the country with severe snowstorms and freezing temperatures that resulted in power outages for hundreds of thousands of households and killed more than a dozen people.

In mid-January, tornadoes and heavy rain also killed seven people in the southern states of Georgia and Alabama.

At a press conference Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the state expects “below freezing temperatures” in the western, central and northern parts of the state throughout the week. Heavy rainfall is also expected, Abbott said, with the possibility of flash flooding in central, east and southeast Texas on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Due to the icy conditions, many roads in Texas will remain very dangerous for the next 24 to 48 hours,” Abbott said. He noted that 1,600 roads are currently affected by the weather and that the state transportation agency has deployed about 1.3 million gallons [4.9 million litres] salt water and other materials to make roads more passable.

Abbott said the Texas power grid, which has been criticized in the past for outages during periods of extreme cold, is “functioning just fine.”

As of Tuesday morning, he said about 7,000 power outages had occurred in the state, but that “local utilities are actively addressing them.”

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