AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Officials in Texas have added 59 deaths to the toll during the February 2021 winter storms and the ensuing collapse of the electric power grid.

The deaths newly tallied by the Texas Department of State Health Services boost the toll from 151 to 210 deaths, most from exposure to the sometimes-subzero temperatures. Still, some were blamed on carbon monoxide poisoning as freezing Texans sought warmth from cars and outdoor grills.

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The count remained preliminary and may change as more deaths are confirmed, the department said.

A water tower looms over Interstate 30 after a snow storm on February 18, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas (credit: Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

The county with the highest death toll was Harris, where Houston is situated, with 43 deaths. Dallas County reported 20 deaths and nine people lost their lives in Tarrant County.

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The toll is a far cry from the initial March 15 report of 57 deaths. The toll was raised to 111 on March 25, 125 on April 6 and 151 on April 28.

The collapse of the power grid managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas has made electric reliability in Texas an ongoing political question. In early June, Gov. Gregg Abbott declared that state lawmakers had fixed the problem during its regular session that had just adjourned. Since then, two conservation alerts issued by ERCOT during temperate spring weather prompted renewed questions, and Abbott ordered new measures by the Public Utility Commission that he appointed and that oversees ERCOT.

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