Washington, Feb 18 (efe-epa).- Nearly 1 million people in the United States were without power for a third consecutive day on Thursday due to back-to-back winter storms that are blamed for dozens of deaths.
Between 30 and 40 fatalities are attributed to the storms, including people who died of carbon monoxide poisoning after using combustion heaters indoors to stay warm, US media reported.
At least 515,137 customers were still without electricity service in Texas alone on Thursday morning, according to the platform PowerOutage.us, which monitors outages nationwide.
Power outages also are affecting 193,456 people in Mississippi, 121,339 in Louisiana, 106,165 in Oregon, 68,730 in Kentucky, 63,424 in West Virginia, 34,914 in Virginia, 12,532 in Ohio and 10,758 in North Carolina.
Freezing rain, sleet and snow have affected a large swath of the US stretching from the south-central state of Texas to the northeastern region of New England.
The inclement weather has forced commercial airlines to suspend 4,366 flights and caused 2,200 other flight delays.
Nearly 250,000 customers also are without water service in Texas, and power outages affecting water treatment plants have led authorities to issue water boil notices to nearly 7 million people.
Outside of Texas, a winter storm alert is still in effect for Tennessee. The central region of that state is covered in snow, with the snowfall accumulation in Nashville and Waynesboro totaling around 10 centimeters and nearly 15 cm, respectively.
Meteorologists have extended winter weather advisories to southern Pennsylvania, while the temperature dropped to -3 C (26 F) at midday Thursday in the city of Pittsburgh and residents there could face potential traffic disruptions due to snow and freezing rain.
In Ohio’s southern region, Athens, Jackson and Vinton counties were still under a snow emergency on Thursday and motorists have been warned about hazardous conditions caused by heavy snow and strong winds and instructed to drive only if necessary.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates that state’s electrical grid, said Wednesday it has been able to restore around 8 gigawatts of power, or enough to serve 1.6 million households.
In the northwestern US, tens of thousands of households and commercial establishments are still without electricity in the Portland metropolitan area, with most of the power outages concentrated in Clackamas County, Oregon.
The public utility Portland General Electric said it expects power to be restored to 90 percent of its customers by Friday night, although it could take several days for the remaining 10 percent to have their service back.
In Virginia, where there was snow overnight and freezing rain Thursday morning, snowfall accumulation is expected to reach 3 cm in the state’s mountainous central region.
In West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice had issued a state of emergency for the western counties of Cabell, Lincoln, Putnam and Wayne and has now extended it to the nearby counties of Jackson and Mason.
Winter storms have left thousands of residents without electricity in that state, where some roads have been closed due to ice and schools and businesses have been temporarily shuttered. EFE-EPA