‘Catastrophic Blackout’: Millions Still Shivering Without Heat as New Winter Storm Viola Slams the Nation

Texas residents are still enduring what’s been called “a catastrophic blackout” as millions have already been shivering in the cold and dark for four days.

Other states have been hit hard too, and now a new winter storm named Viola could dump between 6-to-12 inches of snow from West Virginia to Massachusetts, along with freezing rain and sleet.

“This will be a destructive storm to travelers and to property owners as we’ll see a significant buildup of snow and ice,” warned meteorologist Mark Mancuso with AccuWeather.

The storm is pushing through the East Coast by Thursday evening, with much of the I-95 corridor seeing several inches of accumulating snowfall.

“Here along the border between Virginia and West Virginia, the big issue contributing to treacherous roads and power outages is the temperature,” reported CBN News’s Jennifer Wishon from Northern Virginia. “It’s expected to stay in the ’20s all day, so any snow and ice that falls is sticking around, potentially compacting and weighing down limbs and power lines.”

Meanwhile, in Texas, where nearly three million people, already struggling with record-breaking freezing temperatures and snow from an earlier Arctic blast, are still in the dark and bracing for more frigid temps.

“This is tragic I haven’t had power since 5 a.m. yesterday,” lamented a resident of the Lone Star State. 

From icicles hanging from apartment ceiling fans in Dallas to homeowners and businesses forced to cope with bursting water pipes, Texans are getting creative to keep warm.

“You’ll see a blanket here and blue scotch tape – we’re doing anything possible to keep the heat in,” Austin resident Andrew Leahy said while showing a local reporter steps he was taking to keep the frigid wind from blowing into his home.

In Galveston and Fort Worth, many people are without power and water.

“Everything in the refrigerator now has gone bad and supplies are dwindling,” said Shawn Porche, a Galveston resident.

Operation Blessing, working with partners in Texas, is set to deliver bottled water, blankets, and other relief supplies to folks in Dallas and Cleveland.

This good news comes as the state’s fragile power grid braces for more stress. 

The CEO of the company that manages 90 percent of electric power in Texas warns residents to prepare for more rolling power outages to avoid what he calls a longer-lasting “catastrophic blackout.”

“We had to reduce the demand to get the supply and demand back into balance,” said Bill Magness with ERCOT during a virtual press briefing with reporters. “We’ve been working to get that balance back so we can operate the system reliably and safely going forward.”

As millions in Texas shiver for the fourth day without power following back-to-back winter storms, folks in the Lone Star State want to know how on earth America’s most energy-rich state couldn’t manage to keep the lights and heat on in the face of a record winter freeze.

The state’s governor is calling for an investigation into ERCOT’s failure to keep the power on. “ERCOT stands for Electric Reliability Council of Texas – they showed that they were not reliable,” said Gov. Greg Abbott, (R) Texas. 

Natural gas, oil, nuclear, solar, and wind — all these energy sources apparently froze up in the unprecedented winter event.

“Every source of power in the state of Texas has been compromised,” said Gov. Abbott. “Whether it be renewable power, such as wind or solar, but also, as I mentioned, access to coal-generated power, access to gas generated power also have been compromised, whether it be with regard to systems freezing up or equipment failures.”

This week’s extreme weather has been blamed for the deaths of more than 30 people, some of whom perished while struggling to keep warm inside their homes.

“Texas is an area that doesn’t safeguard against extreme cold temperature risks, like we typically see in places like the northeast, like Wisconsin or a Minnesota,” Nicolas Loris with The Heritage Foundation told CBN News.

Supporters of fossil fuel say the fact that half the wind turbines in the state froze shows the limits of alternative energy sources. “This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America,” Abbott told Fox News’s Sean Hannity.

But rather than scapegoat renewable energy or fossil fuel sources, Clint Woods with Americans for Prosperity says the Texas outage illustrates why it’s important to have diverse sources of energy.

“When consumers vote with their dollars, they tend to prefer affordable, low cost, reliable and usually pretty dense energy that doesn’t require an enormous amount of land and so that’s often a mix of energy resources,” Woods told CBN News.

Meanwhile, there’s no word yet on when power will be fully restored as folks prepare for more freezing temperatures through the weekend.

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