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News Brief: Week of Feb. 12 – 18

Recent winter storms have wreaked havoc on 25 states across the country. More than 150 million people are now under a winter storm warning from the National Weather Service. The warning indicates the possibility of at least an inch of sleet, 6 inches of snow in 12 hours, or 8 inches of snow in 24 hours. The storm has already smashed multiple cold temperature and snowfall records in several states. Roughly 21 deaths related to the cold have occurred across the states, and at least 19 people were killed or injured from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Several states also have implemented rolling blackouts to preserve power, including Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Southeast Texas. According to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, the blackouts are issued, “as a last resort and in order to prevent more extensive, prolonged power outages that could severely affect the reliability of the power grid.”

Here is an update on where each several states stand.


As of Monday, Feb. 15, possible snow accumulations were estimated at 4-8 inches. Southern Oklahoma may receive 6-10 inches, while Northwestern Oklahoma may see 4 inches. Freezing temperatures will likely cease around Saturday, increasing up to the 50 degree mark next week.

Downtown businesses in Oklahoma City went through a blackout to conserve energy, but further power outages are paused for now.

Oklahoma is now down to a Level 1 Emergency alert. Snowfall is expected to slow, but frozen pipes and water main breaks have increased.

The first fatality in Oklahoma occurred Wednesday, Feb. 17. The man was in his 50s and homeless, although the weather has not yet been determined as the cause of death. Capt. Dan Stewart, of the Oklahoma City Police Department, said the cold was the most likely culprit. Jerod Shadid, Oklahoma City Homeless Program Planner, urged caution.

“If anyone thinks that the snow not coming down makes it safer, it’s not,” Shadid said.

The Oklahoma National Guard said in a tweet, “Please stay off the roads. If you can’t, SLOW DOWN.”


Roughly 4.3 million people are currently without power, and all of Abilene’s water services have shut off due to power outages at the water treatment plants.

In Houston, Natalie Harrell said the conditions were horrible.

“It’s worse than a hurricane,” Harrell said. “I think we are going to be more days without light.”

Texas’ Department of State Health Services said, “due to the winter storm and dangerous conditions, the CDC has put vaccine shipments on hold. We are not expecting deliveries to occur until at least Wednesday. Many local vaccine providers have postponed clinics since it is not safe for people to be out across much of Texas right now. Vaccination will resume as soon as it is safe and local conditions allow

At least 17 other states have delayed or canceled some vaccinations, including Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.


Snow accumulations in the upper Delta are expected to reach 1-3 inches.

On Monday Feb. 15, 55,000 citizens were without power. on Wednesday Feb. 17, the number dropped to 18,700.

Jackson issued a boil water advisory for 43,000 citizens, requiring them to leave water at a rolling boil if they had to us water for cooking, drinking, hygiene, feeding pets, or washing dishes. Jackson Public Works Director Charles Williams also expects water main breaks over the next few days.

North Carolina

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency. The storm is expected to hit the state Wednesday night. Over one million people in North Carolina and South Carolina combined will experience power outages.

This executive order will let transportation waivers permit utility companies to bring repair crews from out of state and get faster access to communities who have lost power, as well as activate 40 National Guard personnel to remove debris.

An EF3 tornado with winds up to 160 mph added to the destruction in Brunswick County, killing three and wounding 10.

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