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Nearly 50 people dead after winter storms slam South

Nearly 50 people dead after winter storms slam South

Tractor-trailers and cars stuck on side of snowy highway.

After back-to-back winter storms this week, dozens of people in the South have died in car accidents or from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The death toll associated with back-to-back major winter storms this week has risen to at least 47 people as of Friday morning, according to data compiled by The Washington Post.

Since Sunday, seven states have confirmed at least one death. Thirty of them have occurred in Texas as mass power outages left as many as 4 million customers in Texas alone with no electricity and stranded with no heat or running water. At least 10 cities in the South reported multiple daily records for snowfall, as well as subzero temperatures.

Data from The Post includes deaths confirmed or suspected to be linked to the weather and its related issues. Officials haven’t released the identities of most victims to the public, and the true number of victims may not be revealed for several more days as first responders continue to do wellness checks.

Sheriff Ricky Bishop of Taylor County, Texas, told The Post that officers have been dispatched to check on residents and deliver food and water. He said that they’ve already discovered three dead during their visits.

“There’s definitely that possibility that over the next week or two we could find some more that we don’t know about right now,” Bishop said.

Mayor Steve Adler of Austin, Texas, said on Thursday that city officials are “just trying to keep people alive and safe” over the next few days.

According to an Associated Press report, many people died in traffic accidents as they attempted to travel on the hazardous roads. The second most common cause of death has been carbon monoxide poisoning after people ran vehicles or generators inside to keep warm.

A mother and child were found dead in Houston on Tuesday after the woman started their car in a garage.

A grandmother and three children were killed in a Texas house fire that officials said likely spread from their fireplace.

At least 17 people have died from hypothermia or “exposure to the cold,” according to The Post.

One man was found dead in a Houston-area parking lot on Thursday morning. Two elderly women from Ashland, Kentucky, died of hypothermia within 48 hours, one after she lost power in her home.

Another three people died after falling through ice in a pond in Tennessee, a lake in Oklahoma and a swimming pool in Louisiana, according to the AP. Three people died in a North Carolina tornado that was “fueled” by the winter storm, and a 9-year-old was killed after being pulled on an tube behind an ATV and hitting a mailbox.

A man in Abilene, Texas, reportedly froze to death in his home after losing power with outdoor temperatures below zero.

Almost 200,000 customers still had no electricity in Texas as of late Friday morning, and utility officials have warned that limited rolling blackouts are still possible over the next few days. More than 300,000 customers in Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia combined are also waiting for their power to be restored.

President Joe Biden granted an emergency disaster declaration to Texas last weekend, granting the state assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards have since requested federal emergency declarations.

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration has temporarily waived hours-of-service regulations for drivers trucking recovery supplies to affected areas.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Supply chain struggles continue in frozen South
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19 February 2021, 18:15