At least 20 dead as winter storm pummels US states, leaves millions in Texas without power in freezing temperatures

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Extreme weather battering several US states has claimed the lives of at least 20 people, with Texas among the worst hit. Part of the state’s power grid has been knocked out as residents struggle to stay warm.

The unprecedented storm has wreaked havoc on states across the country. On Tuesday, three people were killed after a tornado hit a seaside town in North Carolina. Police in Kentucky said that over the weekend, two people died after their vehicle slid off an icy road and fell into a waterway. A similar fatality was recorded in Mississippi. In western Tennessee, a 10-year-old boy died after falling into an ice-covered pond as the winter storm raged. The freezing temperatures led to power outages in several states, including Minnesota, Arkansas, and Louisiana. 

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But the worst-hit has been Texas, where more than two million homes and businesses are without electricity as the cold temperatures, coupled with high demand, have strained the state’s utilities. In the Houston area, three young children and their grandmother died in a fire which is believed to have been started by a fireplace they were using to keep warm while they were without power. In another tragic incident in Texas, a woman and a young girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning after leaving a car running in an attached garage in an attempt to heat their home. Several other people in the Houston area reportedly froze to death. 

Local media have highlighted some of the harrowing stories emerging from Texas. A mother of two young boys told the Texas Tribune that she ran out of firewood and had to burn paintings in her fireplace in a desperate bid to keep her children warm. 

The storm has been especially bad for those with serious medical conditions. One Texas woman said that her partner’s oxygen machine began running dangerously low on energy after they lost power. Eventually she was able to contact the emergency services, who helped transport her partner to a nearby hospital. 

In total, the storm has left at least 20 people dead across the country. The Washington Post reported that as many as 50 million Americans could see temperatures dip below zero as states scramble to restore power and provide aid to their residents.

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