At least 40 people are dead across several states as a result of punishing winter weather affecting the central and southern U.S., according to an Associated Press tally.
The death toll rose over Wednesday and Thursday with reports of several people dying in Texas due to exposure and one more from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
Deaths from the cold have been especially concentrated in the Houston area, where millions remain without power due to a failure of much of the state's power grid resulting from frozen equipment at natural gas plants across the state.
“It appears that a lot of the generation that has gone offline today has been primarily due to issues on the natural gas system,” said Dan Woodfin, a top official at Texas's state power authority, on Tuesday.
Other incidents occurred across the southern and southeastern U.S., with three dying in a North Carolina tornado, and four others falling through ice in Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee, according to the AP. A 9-year-old also died while being pulled on a sled behind an ATV in Tennessee when he struck a mailbox.
The White House approved an emergency disaster declaration for Texas on Sunday, and is facing calls for similar declarations in Louisiana and Oklahoma.
“I thank President BidenJoe BidenFord to bolster electric vehicle production in multi-billion dollar push Protesters demonstrate outside Manchin's houseboat over opposition to reconciliation package Alabama eyes using pandemic relief funds on prison system MORE for quickly issuing a Federal Emergency Declaration for Texas as we continue to respond to severe winter weather conditions throughout the state,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in a statement on Sunday. “This disaster declaration provides Texas with additional resources and assistance that will help our communities respond to this winter weather."