The Latest: Houston scrambles to give vaccines after outage

The Latest on winter weather across the U.S. (all times local):

HOUSTON — Officials in Houston say massive power outages across Texas because of a winter storm knocked out electricity to a facility storing over 8,000 doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine.

The outages forced Houston health officials Monday to scramble to distribute the doses before they went bad. More than 2 million people across Texas are without power after a massive storm system dropped temperatures into single digits as far south as San Antonio.

The Moderna vaccines in Houston were distributed to hospitals, a county jail and Rice University. Sophomore Harry Golen says he and some friends waited nearly four hours, much of it outdoors in the frigid cold, outside a campus gymnasium to get the shots.

Texas health officials say the weather has delayed the shipment of more COVID-19 vaccines to the state until at least Wednesday.

___

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some energy companies have begun implementing rolling power outages in response to overwhelming demand for power during record-setting low temperatures and wind chills.

The Southwest Power Pool, a group of utilities across 14 states, called for rolling outages because the supply of reserve energy had been exhausted. Some utilities said they were starting blackouts, while others urged customers to reduce power usage.

Evergy in eastern Kansas and western Missouri began 30 to 60-minute blackouts Monday shortly after noon. City Utilities in Springfield and the city of Independence also implemented rolling blackouts to their customers.

The power blackouts come as nearly all of Missouri is gripped by temperatures that barely reached zero degrees, and wind chills that in some areas registered at minus 30.

___

DALLAS — The nation’s largest oil refinery shut down because of the winter weather hitting Texas.

Motiva said it shut down the Port Arthur, Texas, refinery due to “unprecedented” freezing conditions along the Gulf Coast.

The company said it was monitoring the weather and would resume operations “as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Many power-generating plants in the state remained offline, causing utilities to impose rolling blackouts.

___

OMAHA, Neb. — Nebraska saw a number of low-temperature records broken as Arctic air sits over the Plains.

The National Weather Service said record lows were broken early Monday in Omaha, Lincoln, Hastings and North Platte.

In Omaha, the temperature dropped to minus 15. Lincoln hit minus 16. In Hastings, the temperature fell to minus 26. North Platte saw a low of minus 29.

Even with the record-breaking temperatures, none fell as low as Valentine in north-central Nebraska, which saw the mercury dip to minus 33.

—-

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is urging people to be cautious as road conditions worsen amid a winter storm.

The agency says people should not travel unless necessary.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation said impacted roads are being treated and plowed and there were no major issues as of late morning.

Shelters and warming centers were opened in Nashville, Paris, Jackson and Memphis.

___

SEATTLE — A winter storm that blanketed the Pacific Northwest with ice and snow is causing lingering problems.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Oregon are still in the dark after heavy snow and then ice brought down tree branches this weekend and blocked storm drains in Washington state and Idaho, raising concerns about flooding.

Portland General Electric’s map of power outages listed 288,922 customers without electricity, most in Clackamas County. At least 4,000 power lines were brought down by ice and tree limbs and multiple transmission lines were severely damaged by the storm that swept through this weekend.

The winter weather wasn’t giving up its grip in the Cascade Range, where heavy snowfall was expected at times all week.

___

CONCORD, N.H. — In New Hampshire, snow Monday night was expected to turn to sleet and freezing rain Tuesday.

State-run COVID-19 vaccination sites and testing clinics will be closed Tuesday.

State officials were reaching out by phone to reschedule everyone for appointments later in the week.

___

MINNEAPOLIS — The National Weather Service says several cities are experiencing record lows amid a winter storm that’s dropping snow and ice in a huge swath of the U.S.

The weather station in Hibbing/Chisholm, Minnesota, saw a record low of minus 38 degrees, while Sioux Falls, South Dakota, hit minus 26 degrees.

La Crosse, Wisconsin, reached a record low of minus 19.

In Dallas, the low could drop to just 1 degree Monday. The weather has prompted a power emergency in Texas, where rotating power outages were initiated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

___

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky officials urged people to stay off the roads after one round of wintry weather hit the state and another was forecast to start Monday afternoon.

“We already have some accidents on our roadways,” Gov. Andy Beshear said during a morning news conference. “It is slick and it is dangerous.”

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for central and western areas of the state and an ice storm warning for eastern Kentucky. Up to 9 inches of snow is forecast for central parts of the state and officials said the eastern part of the state could see about a half-inch of ice accumulation.

—-

CHICAGO — Warming centers in Chicago are staying open as temperatures in the city and across the region linger well below freezing.

WBBM-TV reports that some community centers, various public libraries, the Chicago Cultural Center and several park district locations were open Monday. Police stations also are available as warming centers. The National Weather Service says the high was expected to reach 12 degrees. The city is warning residents that 8-12 inches of snow was expected through Tuesday

___

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana State Police said they have investigated nearly 75 weather-related crashes caused by a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain in the past 24 hours, according to a Facebook post.

As weather conditions deteriorate across the state and temperatures remain at or below freezing, ice is accumulating on the roadways and troopers urged drivers to stay off the roads.

The state Department of Transportation said on Facebook that all state-maintained roads in East Baton Rouge Parish “have been deemed unsafe due to the ever changing winter weather conditions.” Drivers on westbound Interstate 10 were being diverted onto other roads.

___

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly has declared a state of disaster as frigid temperatures and life-threatening wind chills grip the state.

Wind chills dropped as low as minus 30 in some areas overnight Sunday and temperatures will struggle to be above zero, adding to nearly a week of extremely low temperatures in much of the state, the National Weather Service said.

The low temperatures put stress on utility and natural gas providers, which were asking customers to conserve energy during the cold snap. The emergency declaration allows of state resources and personnel to be used to help with response or recovery operations under certain circumstances.

___

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi is seeing slick conditions with the state Department of Transportation reporting ice on roads and bridges throughout much of the state.

The agency posted photos and video of snowy interstates on Facebook and urged people to stay home so crews can work to clear the roads.

Copyright © 2021 . All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Comments

Sign up for breaking news alerts