Dozens added to death toll from February storm in Texas
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has added dozens to the death toll from the state’s winter storm last February, with the number of confirmed casualties swelling to more than 240.
The department added 36 storm-related deaths to the fatality count in its annual report, which was published on Friday. Before last week, the most recent update was issued in July, when the death toll rose to 210.
The majority of deaths, roughly 64 percent, were attributed to hypothermia, while 1.2 percent were traced back to frostbite. About 10 percent of the storm deaths were attributed to exacerbation of pre-existing illness, and 8.9 percent of fatalities were driven by hazardous road conditions that gave rise to motor vehicle accidents.
Some individuals also died from carbon monoxide poisonings, fire-related injuries and trauma or fractures sustained during falls on ice.
The fatalities occurred between Feb. 11 and June 4, and those who died spanned in age from younger than one to 102 years old. The department said it reviewed “death certificate records, disaster related mortality surveillance forms, and information from death scene investigation records.”
The majority of deaths occurred in Harris County, with 43 deaths, followed by Travis County, with 28 deaths, and Dallas County, with 22 fatalities.
Millions of Texans were left without power following February’s winter weather, which was marked by record snow and subzero temperatures.
State officials came under criticism for their handling of the conditions. Many accused them of being unprepared for the inclement weather.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) also faced scrutiny after the storm. He called on the state legislature to investigate the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) after millions lost power amid the storm.
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