As winter weather has swept across the country, the deep southern state of Texas is among the hardest hit. A national utility tracker has estimated that nearly 2.7 million Texans are currently without power, a serious concern with most of Texas dealing with single-digit temperatures and below-zero wind chills.
Texas has not experienced a cold snap like this in decades according to the National Weather Service.
Governor Greg Abbott has ordered the National Guard to "conduct welfare checks" and to offer any assistance local authorities need in helping transport citizens to warming centers.
While the Department of Energy has authorized Texas power plants to begin operating at maximum capacity, environmental watchdogs note that doing so will likely "result in a violation of limits of pollution." Governor Abbott, who issued a disaster declaration on February 12th in order to have state response mobilized ahead of time, is pushing forward regardless of those warnings.
The freezing weather, coupled with ice and snow, has forced the closure of major airports around the state.