Millions were left without power as a winter storm gripped the southern and central United States Tuesday with record-low temperatures in ill-prepared areas, and a tornado claiming three lives. -Canada border to the U.S. -Mexico border in the nation's midsection, according to forecasters.
Ice storms knocked out almost half the wind-power generating capacity of Texas as a rare deep freeze across the state locked up turbine towers.
Texas saw the worst of the US power outages, which affected more than 2 million homes and businesses.
County officials distributed the doses at three hospitals, Rice University and the county jail because those places had large groups of people in places where they would not have to drive and with appropriate medical personnel on hand.
Authorities were reportedly struggling to clear roads, as they did not have snow plows because the state so rarely needs them.
In hardest-hit Texas - where freezing conditions prompted utility companies to implement rotating blackouts - a woman and girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning after using a auto to generate heat, according to NBC News.
With more frigid days expected in Texas, where frustration mounted over power outages that weren't expected to be resolved until later Tuesday at the earliest.
Despite an initial rush by fossil fuel-friendly commentators and other media sources to blame frozen wind turbines for deadly power outages in Texas, the organization that manages a vast majority of the state's power grid said that wind woes have been the least significant factor in the blackouts.
"Things will likely get worse before they get better", said Hidalgo.
The Southwest Power Pool, a group of utilities covering 14 states, said the blackouts were "a last resort to preserve the reliability of the electric system as a whole".
Mayor Sylvester Turner said other warming centres had to be shut down because they lost power.
More than 500 people sought comfort at one shelter in Houston.
The worsening conditions also delayed the delivery of new COVID-19 vaccine shipments.
Texas officials said more than 400,000 additional doses due now will not arrive until at least Wednesday because of the storm.
In the state capital Austin, the temperature dropped to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 degrees Celsius) - well below February's average low of 45F.
Authorities pleaded with residents to stay home Tuesday.
Officials in Texas say two people are dead likely because of the subfreezing temperatures that have caused massive power outages across the state.
Rolling outages also affected some northern Iowa counties, where overnight lows dipped to almost 30 below around Sioux City and wind chills to around 40 below in some places. For the first time in more than one year, US West Texas Intermediate futures surged higher than $60 per barrel on Monday, seeing a 2.5 percent rise.
"But not before it causes heavy snow and freezing rain in parts of the eastern Great Lakes and New England", the NWS said.