Saturday morning temperatures may be as low as 20 degrees for many inland locations, including Dallas and College Station, but the welcome return of onshore winds and full sunshine will warm the state into the 50’s and 60’s in the afternoon, CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said. Most of the state will stay above freezing after that initial thaw.
A weak cold front is expected Sunday evening, but is expected to bring only minimal impacts.
Smita Pande in Austin told CNN she lost power to her home early in the week, and she and her husband stayed at a friend’s house until water was lost there. The group then traveled to another friend’s house that had operating utilities until their water supply failed as well. The three households returned to Pande’s home, where they relied on collecting snow to melt in order to flush their toilets.
Although power is now restored, Pande heard that the wait for water may last for a few days.
“At this point we’re planning on getting water in a week, we have to assume the worst-case scenario,” Pande told CNN’s Don Lemon in an interview Friday. “We’re hearing two or three days at this point, we’re going to hope for the best.”
Race to restore utilities
Dr. Schuwan Dorsey told CNN she lost power and water early Monday and resorted to sleeping with her two dogs in her car, intermittently turning the engine on to generate heat.
Her Life Alert bracelet was offline because her home’s electricity was out, Dorsey also said.
“I was in danger with my health,” Dorsey said Friday, noting that her power was on for a mere three minutes Wednesday. Electricity has since returned fully yet water remains out.
With burst pipes and power outages, Austin Mayor Steve Adler told CNN that his city needs water more than any other resource. When the power grid failed, it impacted the main water treatment plant and the city’s reservoir was lost, Adler told CNN’s Poppy Harlow. Those that do have water are under boil water advisories.
“This is a community of people that are scared and upset and angry,” Adler said. “We’re eventually going to need some better answers to why we’re here and how we prevent it from ever happening again. But for right now we’re just trying to get water.”
Williams said that there are also issues with staffing as some employees have had to stay on site in order to care for patients, putting a strain on food, linens and water. Provisions and medication stocks ran low, although there are some supply trucks moving Friday, Williams said.
State leaders respond to water crisis
Water disruptions aren’t expected to go away once the freezing temperatures do: frozen pipes have burst, but many are concerned even more pipes will as they thaw.
“We know that there will be great demand for plumbers today tomorrow that this weekend in the coming days,” the governor said. “We want to make sure that we do everything we possibly can to help you gain access to the plumbers that you need to solve your plumbing and leakage problems along those lines.”
The state is also boosting the testing of local water systems by partnering with the federal government and neighboring Arkansas, Abbott announced Friday.
Working with the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has set up three mobile water testing labs, accord to Abbott.