Texas Winter Blast Halts COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth


AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – A freezing blast of winter weather in the US plunged Texas into an unusually icy emergency on Monday, February 15, which left more than 2 million people without power and closed grocery stores and dangerously snowy roads.

Slow thawing and looming colder lows were also affecting COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Texas.

RELATED: Dallas and Fort Worth ISDs will cancel classes for the next 2 days due to widespread power outages and winter weather

Worsening conditions halted delivery of COVID-19 vaccine shipments and left some Texas providers scrambling to find recipients of doses that are due within hours.

State health officials said Texas, which was due to receive more than 400,000 additional doses of vaccines this week, now does not expect deliveries to occur until at least Wednesday.

But with the doses already about to expire, Rice University abruptly began offering vaccines Monday at its closed Houston campus.

Harris Health System told the school it had about 1,000 vaccines that “were going to go to waste” and asked if the school could find people to get them, said Doug Miller, a spokesman for the university.

“The window was only a couple of hours. They have to fix it quickly, ”Miller said.

Temperatures plummeted to the single digits as far south as San Antonio, and homes that had already been without power for hours were uncertain when their lights and heat would come back on, as the state’s overwhelmed power grid was turned off. downgraded to rolling blackouts which are usually only seen in 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) summers.

RELATED: Oncor says it is responding to 2 power emergencies to turn electricity back on

The storm was part of a massive system that brought snow, sleet and freezing rain to the southern plains and spread across the Ohio Valley and northeast. Southwest Power Pool, a utility group in 14 states, called for continued outages because the reserve power supply had been depleted. Some utilities said they were initiating blackouts, while others urged customers to reduce energy use.

“We are experiencing a really historic event right now,” said Jason Furtado, a meteorology professor at the University of Oklahoma, pointing to all of Texas under a winter storm warning and the reach of freezing temperatures.

In Houston, where county leaders had warned that the freeze could create problems on the scale of massive hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast, an electricity supplier said power may not be restored to some homes until Tuesday.

“This meteorological event is truly unprecedented. Everyone who lives here knows that, ”said Dan Woodfin, senior director of systems operations at the Texas Electrical Reliability Council. He defended the preparations made by the network operators and described the demand on the system as a record.

“This event went well beyond the design parameters for a typical, or even extreme, Texas winter that I would normally plan. And that’s really the result that we’re seeing, ”Woodfin said.

President Joe Biden also declared an emergency in Texas in a statement Sunday night. The statement is intended to add federal assistance to state and local response efforts.

PLUS: Bitter cold coupled with power outages makes North Texans resourceful

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. Associated Press contributed to this report).

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