A winter storm brought record breaking temperatures to Texas this week, with Sunday seeing thermometers drop to lows of 0F (-18C).
As many as three million million Texans were still without power or heating on Wednesday, due to the continued surge in demand — and ongoing power outages.
Temperatures have not been so low in Texas in decades, with thermometers usually recording around 59F (15C) at this time of year in the city of Dallas, where on Monday, highs of 14F (-10C) were instead forecast.
One TikTok user who shared the frozen fish tank on Tuesday, wrote: “This is what it’s like like living in Texas right now. [I’m] literally in shock, wow”.
It’s so cold in Texas homes that fish tanks are frozen. pic.twitter.com/IRuDjpG5Af
— Cleavon MD (@Cleavon_MD) February 18, 2021
Thomas Black, from Dallas, witnessed 4-foot icicles hanging from a ceiling fan in the hallway of his apartment, and shared a number of viral images and videos to Twitter this week, which have included a frozen swimming pool he was able to stand on, and water pipes bursting from his building.
This is how cold it is at my Apartment.
As a Texan, yes, I'm certainly not built for this. I don't even care. pic.twitter.com/FMt8imglJp
— 𝐓𝐇𝐎𝐌𝐀𝐒 𝐁𝐋𝐀𝐂𝐊 ☩ (@ThomasBlackGG) February 16, 2021
He told Yahoo News on Wednesday: “Texans just aren’t used to this sort of thing, so of course there’s going to be panic just like there was at the beginning of Covid, If you go to the grocery store right now, the entire meat section is gone, the whole entire produce section has gone.”
“The leadership has failed us on all fronts,” Mr Black added. “It certainly is worrisome.”
Yes, I'm in Texas. Yes, we arent used to super cold temperatures. But I've never seen my pool starting to freeze. pic.twitter.com/DUcttqLWkv
— 𝐓𝐇𝐎𝐌𝐀𝐒 𝐁𝐋𝐀𝐂𝐊 ☩ (@ThomasBlackGG) February 15, 2021
Another Dallas resident, Brandon Friedman, shared a picture of a bathtub of frozen water on Tuesday, and wrote: “That’s how it’s going in Dallas”.
Water stored in the bathtub froze solid last night. That's how it's going in Dallas. pic.twitter.com/cJdUMDT6pN
— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) February 16, 2021
At least 21 people have lost their lives to the storm, with weather related fatalities recorded in Tennessee, Texas, Kentucky and Louisiana.
And in Houston on Sunday, nearly 120 road crashes were reported in a single day, with a pile-up on a major highway near Oklahoma City causing several lorries to catch fire.
This was Houston, Texas on February 15, 2021. Unreal. pic.twitter.com/QOSDIMikVI
— Daniel Gotera (@DTGoteraKHOU) February 17, 2021
Texas’s transportation department has struggled to deploy snow ploughs on many other highways, which have been blocked.
As Charles Peek, a Weather Channel reporter and storm chaser, recorded on Wednesday morning, the Texas side of State Line Avenue was blocked with snow, while the Arkansas side was free for vehicles.
He wrote on Twitter: “Stateline Ave this morning in Texarkana at the same location as yesterday afternoon. Both the Texas and Arkansas sides are snow covered this morning.”
Stateline Ave this morning in Texarkana at the same location as yesterday afternoon. Both the TX and AR sides are snow covered this morning. @weatherchannel @mikeseidel #WinterStormViola #TXwx #arwx pic.twitter.com/OKiONKAbAa
— Charles Peek (@CharlesPeekWX) February 17, 2021
Snow was also seen covering the beach in Galveston, Texas, where temperatures typically hit highs of 62F (17C) in February. On Thursday, highs of 35F (2C) are expected.
The record-breaking temperatures led to Galveston County officials to request a refrigerated truck to be stationed outside the medical examiner’s office, in response to an increase in deaths caused by the bad weather, the Eyewitness News reported on Wednesday.
Oh, you know just your normal snow on the beach in Galveston, Texas. pic.twitter.com/wm9z8gZ1po
— Kevin Lighty - WCIA 3 Chief Meteorologist (@KevinLighty) February 15, 2021
Further snow and ice is forecast until at least Friday across Texas and a swathe of the United States, the National Weather Service has said, with emergency weather warnings already in place.