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A total of 3.8 million homes in the southern United States are without power Monday. Local officials said at least 190,000 families in Austin, Texas may have to spend a full night in total darkness and without heat amid freezing temperatures.
“The situation continues to worsen in Texas and here in Austin,” said Jackie Sargent, General Manager of Austin Energy, as read in the Washington Examiner.
Texas braced for winter weather over the weekend. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a disaster situation in all 254 counties in the state and on Saturday warned of “an extremely dangerous winter storm.”
Abbott, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson activated their respective National Guard units to assist state agencies with tasks such as rescuing stranded motorists.
The winter storm was part of a massive system that brought snow, sleet and freezing rain to the southern plains of the United States and stretched across the Ohio River basin and into the northeastern United States.
Energy providers have urged residents to keep their thermostats at 68 degrees or lower, turn off lights and other unnecessary electrical sources, avoid using the furnace and close blinds to reduce heat loss.
Other southern states have also experienced power outages, according to PowerOutage.us Louisiana had approximately 116,000 homes in the dark; Mississippi had 61,000 families without power and Alabama had 11,000 power outages as of Monday afternoon. Power problems have also been seen in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina as the cold front persists.