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LIVE BLOG: Houston-area restaurants answer the call for help amid power and water outage

We remain in the midst of a severe winter weather event. Below you’ll find key links as well as some of the latest information coming out each day.

Click here for the latest weather updates.

Check the latest road conditions here:

Click here to see the latest updates about power outages.

Here are the latest updates from local and regional officials and KPRC 2 reporters out in the field:

Friday

6:30 p.m. - Houston-area restaurants answer the call for help amid power and water outage

6 p.m. - Galveston distributes water to residents amid boil notice

5:30 p.m. - Texans facing water crises after brutal winter storm

5:00 p.m. - Water distribution efforts underway across Houston area

7:03 a.m. - City of Galveston providing public restrooms for residents due to limited water access in homes

The City of Galveston is providing public restrooms for residents since many still do not have water access in their homes.

The Port-A-Potty restrooms have been placed at 28 locations throughout the city. A full list has been provided on the city’s Facebook page. The city has also secured ADA-accessible bathrooms, which are expected to arrive Friday.

The City of Galveston is providing public restrooms for residents given that many still do not have water access in...

Posted by City of Galveston, Texas - Government on Thursday, February 18, 2021

7:01 a.m. - Sen. Ted Cruz returns to Texas following criticism for Cancun trip

Sen. Ted Cruz returned to Houston Thursday afternoon after cutting short a vacation trip to Cancun. The senator returned amid a torrent of criticism over his decision to go on vacation with his daughters while hundreds of thousands of Texas struggle to survive bitter artic weather without heat, poser or adequate water.

5:13 a.m. - Leaders plan to meet to discuss how to help storm victims

Leaders plan to meet to discuss how to help storm victims following the winter storm crises across the state.

Thursday

7:12 p.m. - METRO to resume more services Friday

METRO is resuming more services Friday.

All bus routes will return to their regular schedules. METRORail will use a combination of trains and bus service to operate the Red, Purple and Green lines. METROLift customers should contact the reservation and dispatch center to schedule their rides.

Park and Ride routes, HOT/HOV lanes and the METRO RideStore will remain closed. These services will resume Monday.

4:30 p.m. - Harris Co. Judge Lina Hidalgo gives an update on the winter weather disaster

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said there is good news for the county after CenterPoint Energy confirmed there were less than 200,000 homes without power, compared to the 1.4 million on Sunday night.

Hidalgo said the bulk of the homes without power are due to lingering mechanical issues caused by the storm. She said CenterPoint told the county that its crews have been out and about nonstop, addressing those issues.

The county judge said the roads continue to be cleared, which is a relief to county officials.

The bad news is that Hidalgo said residents should not assume they are out of the woods regarding the power issues. She said the grid is still fragile.

Hidalgo said there is more cold weather expected Thursday night, which is going to put pressure on power plants that have just come on. She said there’s also going to be more demand because more people are online and it’s going to be very cold again, which could put stress on the grid.

County officials are urging the state’s request for a major disaster declaration, which would potentially bring aid to our community. Hidalgo said she wants residents to know that officials are fighting for every dollar and every resource on behalf of our community.

3:37 p.m. - Abbott adds more emergency items for Legislature’s agenda

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday that power has been restored to an additional 2 million homes in the state that were left in the dark and cold for days by state-mandated blackouts.

Abbott said the 325,000 homes and businesses that do not have power at this time are because of downed power lines or the necessity of a manual connection to the power grid.

The governor also said he has added two more emergency items to the Legislature’s agenda. One calls for winterization procedures at power plants to be mandated. The other calls for money to be set aside to make that happen.

You can read more about power outages and watch a replay of his news conference here.

12 p.m. - KPRC 2 reporters Re’Chelle Turner and Bill Barajas take a look at the power outages and water shortage in the Houston area

11:40 a.m. - 2 big developments in power issues Texans are facing after storm

CenterPoint said more power has been restored in homes across Houston. Many customers could still see rollouts Thursday and Friday.

6:40 a.m. - People scramble to find gas amid frigid temperatures

People are scrambling to find gas amid frigid temperatures. Prices are expected to increase.

5:56 a.m. - Latest from Judge Hidalgo on winter weather alert, price gouging

Judge Lina Hidalgo is working to get answers for those in the dark still, as well as the price gouging issues.

5:30 a.m. - Warming centers in northern counties housing those without power, electricity

A warming center in Conroe has been housing those without power for days.

4:55 a.m. - Power returns to many homes across Houston

Power has returned to many homes across Houston.

4: 40 a.m. - Houstonians rush to buy water after boil water advisory issued

Houstonians are rushing to buy water after a boil water advisory was issued.

4:35 a.m. - Northern counties face sleet, snow and refreezing possibilities

While some patches in northern counties have melted, some still face sleet, snow, and no power.

4:30 a.m. - 127,312 customers without power, CenterPoint says

CenterPoint says there are now 127,312 customers without power, a big difference from yesterday.

Wednesday

10 p.m. - Long lines at grocery stores continue for water and food

6:30 p.m. - Pipes burst at Fort Bend Co. Judge’s home

5:36 p.m. - METRO to resume limited service Thursday

METRO said it will resume bus service on Thursday for essential trips on 15 routes. You can get more information here.

5:00 p.m. - Water pressure low at Houston-area hospitals

4:30 p.m. - Judge Hidalgo provides update on winter weather, price gouging

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo discussed winter weather conditions and price gouging Wednesday during a press conference.

Hidalgo said CenterPoint Energy confirmed that millions of its customers are without power and that residents should be prepared to go days without power.

“This is no longer just an emergency, it’s clear that it is a disaster,” Hidalgo said.

She said there is a glimmer of hope that everything is going in a direction to see some hope but they are not out of the woods yet.

The county judge said she has seen outrageous prices for food items and basic necessities.

“Can’t imagine nothing more cruel than to take advantage of people in need,” Hidalgo said. “We will not tolerate any price gouging on our watch.”

The Harris County Attorney’s Office has put together a task force to target those who are price gouging. She said to file a report, residents are asked to visit ReadyHarris.org or call 346-354-7459.

Hidalgo asks those who make the reports to provide pictures of products and prices. Those who are caught price gouging can face a $10,000 up to $250,000 penalty.

READ: How to report price gouging in Texas

She also said when roads are more clear during the day, to resupply while driving more carefully due to potential black ice and the county having more than a thousand stoplights out.

Hidalgo asks for residents to not overstock on food and necessities and to only purchase what they need to make sure they are working as a community. She also said ReadyHarris.org will provide a list of places that are open.

3:27 p.m. - Abbott provides update on winter storm

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said more power is being restored to the state’s grid as plants that were taken offline by frigid weather are beginning to come back online. You can watch his entire news conference in the video below. You can read more about the power outages here.

2:20 p.m. - All flights at Hobby Airport canceled, diverted due to water issues

An airport official says all flights to Hobby Airport have been canceled or diverted Wednesday due to water issues.

Foti Kallergis, director of Communications & Public Relations for Houston Airports, said workers are trying to restore water to a limited capacity to the airport.

“Our team is manually providing non-consumable water to airport restrooms from mobile water storage tanks,” Kallergis said in a statement. “We are working to restore water — in a limited capacity— to the entire airport.

2:00 p.m. - This is when Houston city officials say water pressure will be restored

A combination of bursting pipes and equipment failures at water distribution facilities during the freezing weather caused the plummeting water pressure, said Haddock.

The city expects water pressures to improve throughout the day Wednesday. The system should have stabilized pressures back in the operational range before the end of the day on Thursday.

“The best news is we believe we are on a path right now to have pressures restored system-wide enough today that people will be able to use toilets and have normal operations around their house and by the end of the day tomorrow we should by system-wide full operations pressures that we normally see, a little bit lower, but what we normally see,” said Haddock.

Crews working to restore service are prioritizing water pressures in the Texas Medical Center and other area medical complexes.

“It is imperative that they have the ability to keep basic sanitation needs in these areas for people they’re currently serving,” said Haddock.

11:05 a.m. - Mayor Turner will provide an update on weather’s impact on the city

Mayor Turner visited the GRB Convention Center Warming Site today and updated the media on the weather’s impact on the City of Houston.

He was joined by representatives from HPD, HFD and Public Works. KPRC 2 streamed the briefing live.

9:14 a.m. - Judge Mark Henry of Galveston County talks emergency preparedness and safety during winter storms

Judge Mark Henry of Galveston County discussed emergency preparedness and safety during the winter storms.

8:08 a.m. - Avoiding dangerous, slick roads in Hockley

Authorities are asking drivers to stay safe as they travel on roads in Hockley and beyond.

7:10 a.m. - Dangerous road conditions due to ice in Conroe

Drivers are being asked to slow down their speed due to dangerous road conditions.

6:33 a.m. - HCSO unable to receive calls on its non-emergency line

Harris County sheriff’s deputies said they are working to resolve the issue but in the meantime, call 911 for emergencies.

5:31 a.m. - 1.3 million CenterPoint customers without power

There are currently 1.3 million CenterPoint customers without power because of the winter storms.

4:30 a.m. - Dry fire hydrants causing problems for area firefighters

Firefighters are having trouble with dry fire hydrants, forcing them to have to drive several miles to get water.

4:23 a.m. - Fort Bend County Judge KP George voices frustrations over response to winter storm

Fort Bend County Judge KP George voiced his frustrations over the state and ERCOT’s response to the winter storm.

“There is unbelievable human suffering right now, while our first responder crews are at stretched capacities,” George said Tuesday. “The State, ERCOT, CenterPoint, etc. knew of the storm yet here we are with ZERO solutions & ZERO ETAs. My residents are boiling snow to flush toilets,” he continued.

4:20 a.m. - Houston, Harris County face issues from winter weather alert

Houston and Harris County are facing issues from winter weather alerts.

4:15 a.m. - Icy conditions along 290 in Hockley

There are still icy conditions along 290 in Hockley.

10 p.m. - Power outages continue for a second night of freezing temps

10 p.m. - This is how Montgomery County is preparing for another round of wintry weather

6 p.m. - Long lines for food and supplies

5 p.m. -- Hidalgo says uptick in carbon monoxide poisonings is troubling

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said there has been an uptick in the number of people suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning because of people trying to heat their homes amid the state-mandated blackouts.

She said most of the incidents are from people using outdoor heating equipment inside their homes. She said some cases are from people who are running generators or vehicles too close to their homes.

Experts said people should have working carbon monoxide detectors because the lethal gas is odorless and colorless.

4:05 p.m. -- Houston’s airports to reopen Tuesday afternoon, evening

Both of the major airports in Houston will reopen Tuesday.

Hobby Airport officials said in a tweet that the runways reopened at 4 p.m.

Officials at Bush Intercontinental Airport said in a tweet that crews are working to clear thick patches of ice from the runways and that the airfield should reopen after 8 p.m.

Officials said travelers should check with individual airlines to determine the status of their flights.

3:00 p.m. -- Hidalgo calls power outages a ‘nightmare’ for residents

“It’s just a nightmare for folks that have been without power for over 24 hours,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo during an interview with KPRC 2′s Brittany Jeffers.

According to Hidalgo, Centerpoint had 1.37 million people without power in the region as of Tuesday morning. And though Centerpoint, “has the infrastructure, their business is up, they’re just waiting for the product. For the energy. For ERCOT to send that energy. So we’re waiting.”

While residents wait for power to be restored, Hidalgo also made a plea to the downtown Houston business owners which kept their lights on overnight, to help conserve energy. Because these are private businesses, Hidalgo said she can’t force them to shut off power, but has this to say.

“History is going to remember the folks that did their part to help, and that includes not just the individual residents, but the businesses. If you are a business, help us out.”

Hidalgo said Centerpoint representatives told her they will force some of those companies offline Tuesday night, in an effort to conserve energy.

2:11 p.m. -- Galveston County calling for refrigerated truck to help house bodies of those who have died from freezing weather

Galveston County officials are calling for a refrigerated truck to hold the expected influx of bodies of people who have died from subfreezing temperatures.

According to the county Medical Examiner’s Office, officials are expecting to receive a couple of dozen bodies of people who have died during the cold snap. Officials said the trucks are necessary since many funeral homes in the area have lost electricity and are unable to house the bodies.

Read more here.

2:07 p.m. -- Abbott calls for investigation of ERCOT

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is calling for an investigation into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the organization in charge of managing the state’s power grid.

“The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours,” Abbott said in a statement Tuesday. “Far too many Texans are without power and heat for their homes as our state faces freezing temperatures and severe winter weather. This is unacceptable.”

Abbott said he has designated ERCOT reform an emergency item for the Texas Legislature and that he wants an investigation of the agency to determine why it was unprepared for the winter storm.

Read more about Abbott’s statement here.

1:30 p.m. -- Turner calls power-outage situation ‘unacceptable’

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he is extremely frustrated with the way the power outage situation is being handled and he called the current power-generation situation “unacceptable.”

Turner said he is continuing to advocate for the faster restoration of service, but it all depends on how fast power plants that have been taken offline can get back up to full power.

Officials also warned against burning fuel inside homes to keep warm. They said that produces carbon monoxide, which can quickly become lethal. They said people should run generators and vehicles away from their homes so that carbon monoxide doesn’t build up in their homes.

You can watch a replay of his news conference below:

10:20 a.m. -- Warning from ERCOT: Do NOT give out account numbers. Scammers are trying to take advantage of people eager to have power restored.

7:30am -- All Harris County offices are going to remain shutdown through Thursday.

6:40am -- Hobby & Bush Airport airfields will remain closed until at least 4pm.

Tomball issues boil water notice

The city of Tomball has issued a boil water notice due to reduced distribution system pressure early Tuesday morning, according to Tomball Police Department.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is requiring residents to boil their water prior to consumption, such as washing hands, face brushing their teeth and drinking. Read more.

Monday

Downtown Houston lit up during major winter power outage

Downtown Houston lit up during major power outage due to winter storm on Feb 15, 2021. (KPRC 2)

As temperatures drop on residents without power, frustration is rising on social media over images of glowing downtown Houston office buildings. Click here to see the reactions.

9:33 p.m. - Harris County official report on accidents

According to Harris County, dispatchers responded to one fatal auto-pedestrian accident, 23 major accidents, 111 minor accidents and 55 icy roadways as of Monday night.

6:48 p.m. - Fort Bend County Judge address power concerns

6:40 p.m. - Impromptu vaccinations at Rice University after vaccine storage loses power

6:35 p.m. - Arctic blast impacts Brazoria County

6:20 p.m. - 1.25 million without power as Houston heads into the coldest night in decades

6: 15 p.m. - Katy residents experience snowfall

6:05 p.m. Pearland residents among those experiencing frozen pipes, water issues

6:00 p.m. Harris Co. Judge Lina Hidalgo shares update on winter storm

5:11 p.m. - State leaders pressed on power outages

4:48 p.m. - Chief Meteorologist Frank Billingsley with the latest winter weather update

4:54 p.m. - Hidalgo warns of dangerous cold, gives advice

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said she expects power outages to continue as the coldest weather in decades overtakes the Houston region.

She said people who do not have power should take shelter in a single room in their home and cover up any drafts that are coming into the room. She said people should use towels, blankets and wear several layers of clothes to stay warm.

Hidalgo said people who do have power can do their part by turning down their thermostat to 68 degrees and wearing a jacket while indoors. She said that will help reduce demand on the state’s electric grid and allow power to be distributed to more homes.

3:30 p.m. - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott gives update on Arctic blast

3:18 p.m. - Interview with director of internal affairs with Public Utility of Texas

3:06 p.m. - Residents in Meyerland dealing with frozen pipes

2:50 p.m. - Tomball city manager gives update on power outage in the area due to winter storm

2:43 p.m. - Houston mayor: “Don’t be fooled by the sun”

1:47 p.m. - Houston’s airports are closed

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said both George Bush Intercontinental and Hobby airports are closed until at least Tuesday. He said flights are neither coming nor going. He urged people to stay off the roads.

1:09 p.m. - Turner says 1.2 million people without power in Houston area

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said there are about 1.2 million people without power in the Houston area. He said critical care patients who are running low on battery power for their medical equipment can call 311 in an effort to find assistance.

Turner said he is extremely concerned about the bitterly cold temperatures that are forecast to happen late Monday into early Tuesday. He said he knows the electric grid officials are working as fast as possible to get the power supply back up to normal. He said several power plants and wind turbines are offline, which has caused a steep decrease in the supply available to power homes in the state.

Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña said people should not use charcoal or propane heaters inside their homes since they produce dangerous carbon monoxide. He said people should wear several layers of clothes to keep themselves warm.

Turner also said people should not run their cars with the garage doors closed as that can also trap carbon monoxide inside the home.

He also urged people to stay off the roads as more ice is expected to form on the roads after the sun goes down.

Read more about the power outages here.

12:50 p.m. - Icy roads and power outages in Richmond

12:42 p.m. - East Houston dealing with ice, power outages

12:33 p.m. - Icy roads in Cypress

11:53 a.m. - Emergency management tracking winter storm warning

11:43 a.m. - People sitting in cars amid power outages in Fort Bend County

11:42 a.m. - Winter storm causes outages, lack of water in Katy, Cinco Ranch area

11:19 a.m. - Icy, snowy conditions in Pearland

11:17 a.m. - Power outages in Fort Bend County

11:15 a.m. - City of Galveston faces hourslong power outages

11:04 a.m. - Mayor Turner gives updates on storm efforts

10:51 a.m. - Winter conditions affecting homeless population in Houston

10:39 a.m. - Dangerous road conditions, busted pipes due to winter conditions in Houston

10:18 a.m. - KPRC 2 Sofia Ojeda takes a look at snow in Katy, Texas

10:12 a.m. - KPRC 2 Amy Davis speaks with CenterPoint Energy on power outages

10:10 a.m. - Fort Bend County Judge gives update on weather conditions

9:46 a.m. - KPRC 2 Brandon Walker gives update on weather conditions in Dodge, Texas

9:32 a.m. - KPRC 2 Phil Archer tracks weather conditions in Richmond

9:23 a.m. - KPRC 2 Cathy Hernandez interviews driver whose truck crashed in the Highlands area

9:20 a.m. - KPRC 2 Reports Jacob Rascon gives a view of the snow in the Galleria area

9:14 a.m. - KPRC 2 Reporter Amy Davis interviews officials at ERTOC

8 a.m. - KPRC 2 reporters give updates from across Houston area

Accidents reported in dangerous conditions on I-10 and San Jacinto

Winter blast brings snow in Huntsville

Winter blast brings snow in Katy area

Keeping an eye on radio conditions during arctic blast

7 a.m. - KPRC 2 reporters give updates from across Houston area

Widespread outage causes Houstonians to be without power for nearly 4 hours or more

Snow covering Sam Houston State University’s campus

Some without power for nearly 3 hours in east Houston, Baytown

6 a.m. - KPRC 2 reporters give updates from across Houston

Snow, ice create dangerous road conditions in Huntsville

Widespread power outages, rolling blackouts underway

Emergency management tracking winter storm warning

Dangerous winter conditions in Baytown, several without power

5 a.m. - KPRC 2 reporters give updates from across Houston

Winter warning until 6 p.m. includes Waller County

Dangerous wintry conditions across Houston area

Winter storm warning in effect until 6 p.m. includes Pearland

Snow and icy roads in New Waverly

Dangerous winter weather arrives in Channelview

4 a.m. - KPRC 2 reporters give updates from across Houston

Sleet, snow continue to fall in Waller County

Icy, snowy conditions in Pearland

Keeping an eye on road conditions during arctic blast

ERCOT declares highest level of energy emergency, rotating outages underway

Ice, frigid temperatures in east Houston

Winter blast brings snow north of Willis

Sleet, snow in Waller County

10 p.m. - KPRC 2 reporters give updates from across Houston

Highway 290 from Waller to Cypress

Montgomery County

Katy area

Major Roadways Beginning to Ice Over

Local Leaders Warning About Danger of Winter Weather

9:45 p.m. - KPRC 2 reporter Re’Chelle Turner provides an update from Montgomery County

9:30 p.m. - Harris County reports more than 50 accidents

According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the dispatch center received a number of weather-related calls on Sunday. The office reported 19 icy roadways, 45 minor accidents and 10 major accidents.

8:20 p.m. - Biden approves disaster declaration for Texas

President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration Sunday for all 254 counties in Texas as a powerful winter storm was moving across the Lone Star State. The order allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin coordinating relief efforts.

7:30 p.m. - Here is what it looks like at the KPRC studios

What it looks like at the KPRC studios right now.

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Sunday, February 14, 2021

7 p.m. - Warming centers in Montgomery County

The Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management announced two warming centers have opened. There is one at the Salvation Army in Conroe and a second at the Wildwood United Methodist Church in Magnolia.

6 p.m. - Sleet reported in Waller County

The cold temperatures mixed with freezing rain has created the perfect environment for ice to form on cars and on the roadway in Waller County.

According to the Waller County Office of Emergency Management, by Sunday evening, there had already been a number of car accidents, while no injuries or deaths have been reported.

Officials said the icy roadways will increase the chances of accidents. Residents are asked to stay off the roads, especially at night.

6 p.m. - People in The Woodlands dash to the store for last-minute items

The Woodlands traffic down Interstate 45 was moving along much slower Sunday evening with the rain and wet roads.

Several people at an HEB on Six Pines Drive dropped in to grab last-minute items like water, wine, snacks, stuff to make soups and Valentine’s Day dinner.

One man told KPRC 2 everyone needs to respect the weather.

“I grew up in northern Indiana. I’m used to driving in the snow but you have to respect black ice you have to be careful so you can’t blow it off. I winterized our house. We are going to have temperatures below freezing for an extended period of time so be smart about it,” said Tom Holmes.

5 p.m. - Houston, Harris County officials hold winter weather presser

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo signed a disaster declaration Sunday evening to allow emergency officials the flexibility to procure tools and equipment for the winter storm.

“I want to be very clear with folks and that is the window to prepare for this historic storm has closed as. The time to hunker down is here. This is the beginning of an incredibly challenging couple of days for a region,” Hidalgo said during a joint-presser with city and county officials.

She also activated the Emergency Operations Center to Level One, the highest level of activation, to fully coordinate and respond with partners across the county.

In addition, city and county officials have designated warming centers across the areas for people who don’t have anywhere else warm to shelter. These shelters should be considered a last resort, Hidalgo said.

Officials said if residents lose power, which sporadic power outage is expected, the safest places to remain is at home. They urged residents not to leave their home, but to layer up and stay warm.

Officials also reminded residents only to call 911 for life-threatening situations.

“We’re all going to be uncomfortable in some way or another,” Hidalgo said. “We want to make sure that we’re directing limited resources to those who need them most, and they’re particularly limited right now because of the conditions of our roadways that are going to worsen as the night progresses.”

4 p.m. - Seabrook Mayor signs Declaration of Disaster ahead of historic winter storm

Mayor Thom Kolupski has signed a local disaster declaration to assist the city of Seabrook with mitigating and recovering from winter storm.

Disaster declarations are designed to assist with emergency service reimbursements for funds expensed on storm preparations and recovery.

Residents should avoid travel and stay indoors as the storm moves through the area this evening. Pets should be brought inside or be provided with shelter from the storm. Plants should be covered or also brought inside. Outdoor pipes should be wrapped and residents should consider dripping a faucet to prevent pipes from bursting.

In the event a home pipe bursts, residents should turn off the water to the home at the water meter and contact a plumber. Pipes that burst within the city right of way should be reported to Seabrook Public Works by calling (281) 291-5725.

Please remember, 9-1-1 is ONLY for emergencies; non-emergencies may be reported by calling Seabrook Dispatch at (281) 291-5610.