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WASHINGTON (CBSDFW/AP) — The deadly winter storms that knocked out power for millions in Texas and other states have exceeded the worst-case scenarios of many U.S. utilities.
They also fit a pattern of worsening extremes under climate change and demonstrate anew that local, state and federal officials have failed to do enough to prepare for greater and more dangerous extremes.READ MORE: ERCOT Shuts Down Wholesale Electricity Provider Griddy In Texas
The crisis sounded an alarm for power systems throughout the country about the need to prepare for severe conditions, even those that go beyond historical trends.
With boil water orders in North Texas cities coming in by the dozens, many people with no power are looking to go the bottled water route, but having a hard time finding it.
“I came to get water, and they’re closed,” said Arlington resident Sylvia Hill, while on a desperate search for water in the bitter cold. “So I’m going to have to go someplace else.”
Many grocery stores in North Texas aren’t open right now, but empty shelves are becoming a common site at the ones that are, as more and more people are forced to turn to bottled water in this winter storm.
More than half of the state’s 254 counties are experiencing water issues.READ MORE: Texas Lawmakers Call On Public Utility Commission Chair To Resign
Arlington saw water demands of almost twice the normal usage within the past 24 hours.
“I don’t think any of us was expecting this, for it to be like this,” Hill said. “It’s all about survival right now, until it starts getting warm.”
She says she will just have to do the best she can, as the power crisis turns into a water crisis.
“I’ve been in this business for quite some time, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Craig Cummings, Director of the Arlington Water Utilities Department.
Experts say a lot needs to be done to prepare better for the storms sure to come.MORE NEWS: Plumber Shortage, Supply Chain Issues Delay North Texas Winter Storm Repairs