Austin mayor on Texas freeze: 'This is probably the toughest time we've ever faced'

Austin's mayor is calling for an explanation from Texas's power authority after blackouts left millions in the state without power.

He said Tuesday it was the "toughest time we’ve ever faced."

Steve Adler (D) tweeted Tuesday that the city was setting up a number of cold-weather shelters to help residents who had lost power because of the storms, which left the region covered in snow and ice and brought freezing temperatures.

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"This is probably the toughest time we’ve ever faced. It’s not going to end quickly. There are so many hurting, scared and in danger. Let’s all do what we can to help others," Adler wrote.

"So many cold and without power, people in danger and everybody frustrated including me. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has to explain how millions of Texans are without power," he continued, adding, "'Rolling' outages are not that. There must be systemic changes. This is happening every ten years and there’s got to be a better plan."

Videos shared on social media showed long lines of cold Texans outside Austin grocery stores hoping to buy supplies amid the blackouts.

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Photos from Monday evening showed large parts of the downtown area still illuminated while other sectors, including residential areas, remained in the dark.

The Texas Department of Transportation posted photos from its Austin branch that showed people walking through thick snow on an interstate as cars passed them the agency warned pedestrians to remain off the roadways.

A report from the Austin American-Statesman on Monday afternoon indicated that as many as 4 in 10 homes connected to Austin Energy's grid remained without power due to incorrectly executed rolling blackouts. Officials said they expected some power to be restored Monday night into Tuesday.

"We know that not having power is extremely frustrating and unnerving," an Austin Energy official said. "We want our customers to know we're doing everything that we can to work through this ongoing and fluid situation."