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Storms devastate a nation on the brink after a year of lockdown -- and it's nowhere near over

February 18, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 24.1%. 2 min read.

Customers wait in line to enter Frontier Fiesta on February 17, 2021 in Houston, Texas. - A winter storm has caused rolling black-outs through out the Houston and the surrounding areas for the past 48 hours. Millions of Americans were struggling without electricity Wednesday as bitter cold from a deadly winter storm system held its grip across huge swathes of the United States, even pushing as far south as Mexico. (Photo by Thomas Shea / AFP) (Photo by THOMAS SHEA/AFP via Getty Images)

There is no fine time for a devastating barrage of winter storms, but it's hard to imagine the weather icing over much of the United States coming at a less opportune moment.

(CNN)There is no fine time for a devastating barrage of winter storms, but it's hard to imagine the weather icing over much of the United States coming at a less opportune moment.

From Texas to New York, officials are weighing the weather system's impact, and even states such as Colorado and Florida that escaped the worst of winter's wrath are experiencing shipment delays as a result of the storms.

Kimberly Hampton of Irving, Texas, which has seen its coldest weather in decades this week, said it's been impossible to keep her family warm.

My other kids are miserable and don't understand why it's cold or why they can't watch TV or have a warm meal," she said Tuesday.

While ERCOT defends its handling of the storm -- saying it averted a grid collapse and possible lengthy blackout -- Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said Wednesday that 34 cities in her county still don't have power, and "we don't have an end in sight. "

In Kentucky, where some residents may be without electricity into next week after three winter storms in less than two weeks, the state has employed techniques such as synchronized plowing and tow plows to sweep snow off the roads.

The city of 77,000 was hit Monday with thundersnow -- a phenomenon more common in locales such as Buffalo, New York, and Connecticut -- and residents were advised Wednesday to boil their water as yet another storm passed through en route to the Northeast.

"Residents can expect dangerous travel conditions, numerous power outages and extensive tree damage," the National Weather Service said, as if the area needed more bad news.

A four-hour drive north, in Shreveport, problems with the water supply continued -- a common issue in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee as ruptured pipes and power outages shut down service.

Meteorologist Michael Berry, who has spent 30 years with the weather service, has never seen storms like the ones passing through Shreveport, he said.

"As temperatures start to warm in Texas, it is expected that we will see more instances of pipes bursting," he said.

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