HOUSTON - Images from the NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite compared before-and-after photos of the lights in Houston, Texas during a record-breaking winter storm.
The images show a stark difference between Feb. 7 and Feb. 16, showcasing the widespread blackout leaving millions of Texas residents without power amid a polar vortex.
Feb. 7, 2021 satellite image:
Satellite image captured of Houston, Texas on Feb. 7, 2021. (NOAA–NASA Suomi NPP satellite)
Feb. 16, 2021 satellite image:
Satellite image captured of Houston, Texas on Feb. 16, 2021. (NOAA–NASA Suomi NPP satellite)
Despite the winter storm warning being lifted for most of the Houston area, millions of residents are still trying to survive through rolling blackouts and crippling cold temperatures, not just in Houston, but throughout the state of Texas.
More than two dozen people have died in the extreme weather this week, some while struggling to find warmth inside their homes. In Houston, one family succumbed to carbon monoxide from car exhaust in their garage. Another perished as they used a fireplace to keep warm.
Before-and-after side-by-side satellite images of Houston, Texas amid winter storm.
Record-low temperatures were reported in city after city. Scientists say the polar vortex, a weather pattern that usually keeps to the Arctic, is increasingly spilling into lower latitudes and sticking around longer, and global warming caused by humans is partly responsible.
The worst U.S. power outages by far have been in Texas, where officials requested 60 generators from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and planned to prioritize hospitals and nursing homes. The state opened 35 shelters to more than 1,000 occupants, the agency said.
Texas’ power grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said electricity had been restored to 600,000 homes and businesses by Tuesday night, though 3 million homes and businesses remained without power as of midday Wednesday.
Officials did not know when power would be restored, but ERCOT President Bill Magness said he hoped many customers would see at least partial service restored by later Wednesday or Thursday.
The latest storm front was expected to bring more hardship to states that are unaccustomed to such frigid weather — parts of Texas, Arkansas and the Lower Mississippi Valley — before moving into the Northeast on Thursday.
More than 100 million people live in areas covered by some type of winter weather warning, watch or advisory, the weather service said.
The Associated Press and Storyful contributed to this report.