Over 400K without power in Texas due to ice storm
Texas crews were working to restore power after reports of fallen trees impacting lines
Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses are without power in Texas on Thursday morning as winter weather lingered over southern states.
More than 407,000 customers are in the dark as of 10 a.m. ET in Texas, in addition to tens of thousands of outages across Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, according to tracker PowerOutage.US.
Icy trees buckled onto power lines and more than 150,000 outages were reported in Austin. The city's utility warned residents that the lights and heat may not come back on until later Thursday.
WINTER WEATHER: OVER 1,900 FLIGHTS CANCELED AS STORM SLAMS SOUTH
"Crews restored power to some customers overnight but are dealing with repeated outages," Austin Energy tweeted early Thursday. "They're also watching for lightning in the area, ensuring it's safe as they continue working. Conditions are expected to improve later today as we get power back to more customers."
Late Wednesday evening, it had cautioned that major restoration efforts were expected to continue through Friday night with "mutual aid help from "neighboring utilities."
Pablo Vegas, who leads the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), vowed that the state’s electrical grid and natural gas supply would be reliable and there wouldn’t be a repeat of the February 2021 blackouts when the grid was on the brink of total failure.
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The National Weather Service said late Wednesday that weather conditions were expected to improve by Thursday night as the ice storm across the southern Plains and mid-South gradually ends.
However, freezing rain and sleet, at times, was predicted to continue into Thursday, and additional ice accumulations were anticipated over much of western, central and northern Texas.
The agency warned about further tree damage and that accumulating ice on roadways would continue to cause "treacherous" travel conditions that would improve by Thursday afternoon.
Watches and warnings about wintry conditions were issued from the western Texas border with Mexico through Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana and into western Tennessee and northern Mississippi.
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Hazardous travel conditions resulted in the deaths of at least eight people since Monday, including seven in Texas.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.