Hospitals in Texas were being evacuated after patients were left without water or power as the winter storm continues to leave the power grid crippled – and another storm was set to roll through.
St. David’s South Austin Medical Center and Dell Children’s Medical Center, both in Austin, Texas, are transferring patients to other hospitals, according to local news reports.
All facilities in the area are under strain with another storm set to roll through the area, meaning no hospital was able to accept a large number of transferred patients.
Ambulances line up outside of St. David’s South Austin Medical Center in preparation to transport patients in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday
A patient at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center is prepared for transport in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday
Texas uses its own power grid and has done since the 1970s. The energy-rich state wanted to use its own resources but also sit beyond federal energy regulation. Other states to the north of it share resources. Oklahoma has been just as affected by Winter Storm Uri but because it pools resources with neighboring states, it hasn’t run out of power
Because of the weather emergency, power outages and water failures, no one hospital can accept all of the patients that need to be transferred, according to David Huffstutler, the CEO of St. David’s HealthCare, KUT reported.
St. David’s is without water pressure and is also losing heat because water feeds the facility’s boiler.
The hospital has just under 300 patients.
Other hospitals were facing similar issues, with toilets that can’t flush and no heat.
Some even had to transport human waste in trash bags because of the lack of water, KVUE reported.
Officials with the hospitals said they were working with the city and other medical officials to transport patients home or to other facilities in the area, where possible.
Because of the weather emergency, power outages and water failures, no one hospital can accept all of the patients that need to be transferred
Seven million Texans are also under boil water notices after the deadly storm compromised water filtration systems there – a problem exacerbated by the lack of power in many homes.
Another blast of ice and snow forecast Wednesday threatened to sow more chaos, with more than 3 million people reported to be still without power.
Texas is even struggling to clear its roads of snow in comparison to neighboring Arkansas as yet another blast of icy weather sowed more chaos.
Footage taken by professional storm chaser Charles Peek shows cars on the Texas side of Stateline Road dealing with icy driving conditions while those on the Arkansas side drive on a cleared roadway.
Texas is even struggling to clear its side of road compared to neighboring Arkansas. Footage taken by professional storm chaser Charles Peek shows Stateline Road in Texarkana, which straddles the line between both states, on Tuesday as cars on the Texas side the street deal with icy driving conditions while those on the opposite side in Arkansas drive on a cleared roadway
Dallas, Texas: Leonel Solis and Estefani Garcia use their car to heat their home. The couple, who lost power on Sunday, have been using electricity from a neighbor’s generator and heat from their car to stay warm
Infrared imaging shows just how much power has been lost to Houston in the last few days; from February 7 to 16
Sharing the image Peek tweeted: ‘Big difference in #Arkansas and #Texas snow removal in #Texarkana’, a city that straddles both states.
His colleague Mike Seidel also posted the footage from earlier this week, writing: ‘Can you guess what state has snow plows? It’s the AR side of State Line Ave. that’s clear. The TX side is #snow covered.’
Meanwhile, it’s not just snowplows that are an issue: The race is on to restore power to millions of Texans facing subzero temperatures as stunning infrared images taken from space show just how far the blackouts have stretched.
More than 3million people in the state were left without power for the fourth day in a row – and for the vast majority, it is because of forced blackouts by energy agency ERCOT.
Texas, which relies on its own electricity supply and grid, and is unprepared for winter conditions, has buckled so much so that Beto O’Rourke said on Wednesday that it was a near ‘failed state’.
Texans covered in blankets wait in line for more than an hour to fill propane tanks to heat their homes in Houston on Wednesday. Millions across the state remain without power after a historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created a surge of demand for electricity to warm up homes unaccustomed to such extreme lows, buckling the state’s power grid and causing widespread blackouts
Richardson, Texas: Carlos de Jesus takes a selfie in front of the frozen fountain at the Richardson Civic Center after a second winter storm brought more snow and continued freezing temperatures to North Texas on Wednesday
Southwest Arlington, Texas: After seeing a posting on Facebook, LaDonna (no last name given) drove from Johnson County, Texas to collect some of the dumpsters-full of ice cream thrown out at a Southwest Arlington, Texas, Kroger store, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Arlington TX. LaDonna said she’s collecting the frozen goods for her neighbors. Rolling power outages this week have forced businesses to clear merchandise that needs refrigeration
The Texas city of Kyle, south of Austin, asked residents Wednesday to suspend water usage until further notice because of a shortage. ‘Water should only be used to sustain life at this point,’ the city of 45,000 said in an advisory. ‘We are close to running out of water supply in Kyle.’
Problems first began with Winter Storm Uri – a brutal weather system that is sweeping the country. Every other state in the storm’s path has been able to withstand it because they operate on a shared power source which means that if one state’s supply goes down, it can draw from the shared reserve.
The outages are the widest Texas’ grid has suffered – but hardly a first in winter.
Some 600,000 had power switched back on by 6am and even more were turned back on before lunchtime but millions remain in the dark and without heating. With ongoing, forced blackouts in being carried out in different parts of the state, it is difficult to track exactly how many people don’t have it and where they are in real-time.
ERCOT – which is in charge of managing the distribution of all of the energy in Texas and maintaining its grid – underestimated the storm so didn’t produce enough reserve energy beforehand and now, plants can’t produce more power because they were unprepared for the bad weather.
The agency claims it predicted that peak energy demand would be 67 gigawatts but it reached 69 gigawatts on Sunday night – the first night of the storm. The agency then cut the power across the state by close to half – reducing it to just over 40 gigawatts. Each gigawatt powers some 500 homes.