By: Stacy M. Brown
Residents of D.C., Virginia and Maryland all awakened Thursday to winter storm warnings that threaten to carry through the weekend.
Sleet, snow and rain will accumulate through the weekend as the Northeast braces for the storm that arrives as Texas and other states endure rolling blackouts, sub-freezing temperatures and states of emergencies.
The National Weather Service reported that cold air would dominate the weekend in D.C. and its surrounding areas as some holdout hope that temperatures will climb to at least the freezing mark.
One report noted that “the tricky part of the storm will be warm air sneaking in aloft, enough so that we are expected to still see a transition over to sleet and freezing rain for most of the immediate metro region at some point between the late morning and early afternoon hours on Friday.”
Sleet, freezing rain and snow enveloped most of Virginia.
The Virginia Department of Transportation tweeted a weather alert, pleading with residents to avoid travel as the storm passes through the region and warning that conditions could rapidly change.
In Maryland, the wintry mix is blanketing the state.
“Snow accumulations are now up to 5 inches in parts of Northwest and Western Maryland,” one forecaster tweeted. “Unfortunately, the temperatures are cold enough to support frozen roads and sidewalks.”
A large part of New Jersey and New York City is under a winter weather advisory as more snow will fall through the weekend. According to the National Weather Service, New York is expected to get 3 to 6 inches of snow on Thursday, with total snowfall accumulations of 5 to 9 inches by Friday night.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Texas residents have battled the storm without heat and water because of massive utility outages that have lasted several days. Snow and ice have slammed the entire state and other locations like Oklahoma, Mississippi, and North Carolina. Roads in all those states reportedly contain dangerous stretches of ice.
At least 38 people have died nationwide from the storms and freezing conditions.
Communities that are desperately seeking warmth and other necessities without electricity in frigid temperatures. Many have resorted to unconventional and dangerous methods for heat in Texas, including using charcoal grills inside the home.
One family reportedly ran their car inside the garage, exposing them to deadly carbon monoxide. Fires and other problems have resulted from using outdoor grills inside, fireplaces and generators that have gone awry.
More than 500,000 Texas homes and businesses remain without power, down from a peak of more than 4 million earlier in the week. More than 264,000 residents are still without water.
The cities of Austin and San Antonio issued boil-water notices to all of their residents.
Gov. Greg Abbott blamed the storm-related power outages on the Green New Deal and renewable energy.
Abbott told Fox News the outages show “how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America.”
“Our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10 percent of our power grid,” he said. “And that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis. It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary.”
But Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and former Texas Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke sharply rebuked that claim.
“I go offline a few days and return to a GOP Gov blaming policies he hasn’t even implemented for his own failures,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Gov. Abbott doesn’t seem to have a grasp on his state, so here’s a reminder: Texas runs 80 to 90 percent on fossil fuels. The real ‘deadly deal’ is his failed leadership,”
Ocasio-Cortez added that the governor “needs to get off TV pointing fingers and start helping people. After that, he needs to read a book on his own state’s energy supply.”
O’Rourke joined Ocasio-Cortez in blasting Abbott for his “inept” leadership.
“State leaders don’t get to say that they didn’t see this coming,” O’Rourke told NBC News. “Energy experts and State House Dems, among others, were warning of this for years. Abbott chose to ignore the facts, and the science and the tough decisions, and now Texans will once again pay the price.”
Read the full The Washington Informer article here.