Winter storm keeps nation in deep freeze, claims more lives

By BRYAN ANDERSON Associated Press FEBRUARY 16, 2021 — 2:00PM (00:31) : Officials in Texas say two people are dead likely because of the subfreezing temperatures that have caused massive power outages across the state.

OCEAN ISLE BEACH, N.C. — A winter storm that left millions without power in record-breaking cold weather claimed more lives Tuesday, including three people found dead after a tornado hit a seaside town in North Carolina and four family members who perished in a Houston-area house fire while using a fireplace to stay warm.

The storm that overwhelmed power grids and immobilized the Southern Plains carried heavy snow and freezing rain into New England and the Deep South and left behind painfully low temperatures. Wind-chill warnings extended from Canada into Mexico.

At least 11 deaths were reported from other causes, including car crashes and carbon monoxide poisoning. President Joe Biden’s administration said the weather was likely to cause delays in shipments and deliveries of the COVID-19 vaccine.

North Carolina’s Brunswick County had little notice of the dangerous weather, and a tornado warning was not issued until the storm was already on the ground.

The National Weather Service was “very surprised how rapidly this storm intensified … and at the time of night when most people are at home and in bed, it creates a very dangerous situation,” Emergency Services Director Ed Conrow said.

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