Speed Reads

frozen texas

More than 3.5 million Texans remain without power — and providers say it could last through the night

An unprecedented winter storm has left millions of Texas households without power, with no indication of when they'll get it back.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 3.78 million Texas households and utility customers without power, according to the power tracking website PowerOutage.US. Most of those people haven't had power since Monday and even Sunday amid below-freezing temperatures, and Austin Energy warned Tuesday afternoon that its Austin-area customers should be prepared for outages to extend to at least Wednesday.

Outage numbers have barely improved since early Tuesday morning, with Texas' independent energy grid operator ERCOT saying Tuesday it restored power to only about 400,000 homes. ERCOT simply doesn't have the megawatts it needs to restore power as natural gas, coal, and even nuclear power plants ran into problems with the extreme cold. Some cities have even been forced to shut off their water supplies or at least declare boil water orders due to the power issues. Bipartisan lawmakers are already calling for hearings and investigations into ERCOT's generation issues, with Gov. Greg Abbott (R) declaring ERCOT reform an "emergency" the legislature needs to fix as soon as possible.

At least 10 people in the Houston area have died from weather-related causes, including car accidents and suspected carbon monoxide poisoning as people leave stoves and cars running too long to get some heat. Meanwhile temperatures aren't supposed to return to the 50s and 60s until Saturday, and another round of snow and freezing rain is expected across the state Tuesday evening.

Read more about what went wrong with Texas' power grid at The Week.