Death Toll From Texas Winter Storm Continues to Rise

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Epidemiologists examining causes of deaths reported from Feb. 11 to March 5 person added 59 deaths to the storm’s toll, bringing it to 210.

Austin, Texas, successful  February, aft  a wintertime  tempest  caused powerfulness  outages crossed  overmuch  of the state.
Credit...Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

July 14, 2021, 4:03 p.m. ET

The decease toll from the freezing wintertime upwind that battered Texas and caused wide powerfulness outages this twelvemonth has risen by 59, bringing the full to 210, officials said.

The quality nonaccomplishment — of young and old, successful municipality and agrarian communities — has devastated families crossed Texas. The Department of State Health Services, which released the latest data connected Tuesday, said the numbers could emergence arsenic epidemiologists analyse the causes of deaths reported from Feb. 11 to March 5.

“The bulk of confirmed deaths were associated with hypothermia,” the section said successful a report. Other deaths were caused by conveyance accidents, c monoxide poisoning, falls, fire, and exacerbation of chronic illnesses tied to the wintertime storm, it said.

The deaths took spot crossed 60 counties, the information shows. The hardest deed were Harris County, with 43 confirmed tempest deaths; Travis County, with 28; and Dallas, with 20.

Harris County, which includes Houston, is the state’s astir populous county, with much than 4 cardinal people, followed by Dallas County, with much than 2.6 million. Travis County, which includes Austin, the authorities capital, is the 5th astir populous, with astir 1.2 cardinal people.

The wintertime tempest swept crossed Texas successful mid-February, plunging the authorities into freezing acold and pushing the powerfulness grid to the brink of collapse. Millions of residents were forced to boil water, usage generators, huddle successful idling cars for vigor and scour for wood to provender fires during immoderate of the astir frigid upwind recorded successful authorities history.

Initial estimates for the decease toll were 57 successful mid-March, but the toll continued to ascent arsenic the months unfolded, reaching 111 astatine the extremity of the month, section figures show. It was revised doubly successful April until it reached 151.

Epidemiologists proceed to scrutinize decease certificates, linking causes of decease to the storm, the section said. Another update volition astir apt travel adjacent period earlier the wellness section issues a last report, Douglas Loveday, a section spokesman, said connected Wednesday.

The standard of nonaccomplishment ranked the tempest acold supra different disasters successful the state, adjacent worse than Hurricane Harvey, which claimed astatine slightest 68 lives successful 2017.

The fallout of the wintertime tempest included calls for accountability from elected officials and the regulation-resistant powerfulness manufacture successful Texas, the nation’s starring energy-producing state.

“People needed heat, radical needed powerfulness and they didn’t person it for days,” Celesté Arredondo-Peterson, a manager with the Texas Organizing Project, an advocacy group, said successful an interview.

“The lone connection I tin usage is shock, daze that galore radical successful the richest state successful the satellite froze to death,” she said.

In San Antonio, Manuel M. Riojas, 64, struggled to respire arsenic powerfulness outages chopped disconnected the proviso from an oxygen instrumentality helium had utilized since a diagnosis of esophageal cancer. He died successful a infirmary connected Feb. 16, according to his household and an obituary.

In Conroe, astir 40 miles northbound of Houston, Maria Elisa Pineda recovered her son, Cristian Pineda, 11, dormant successful his furniture successful mid-February. The aesculapian examiner said that the origin of decease was c monoxide poisoning, according to Domingo Garcia, a lawyer who is representing Ms. Pineda successful a wrongful-death lawsuit.


Credit...Sergio Flores for The New York Times

Rural areas were not spared. Days aft Cristian was recovered dead, the authorities discovered the lifeless assemblage of Pauline Dearing, 86, successful her backyard successful Abilene, successful Taylor County, a mostly agrarian portion successful bluish Texas wherever astatine slightest 7 radical died during the storm.

Temperatures had reached 5 degrees, their lowest since 1983 and a grounds for Abilene.

Ms. Dearing, who had dementia, had wandered extracurricular and collapsed, said Mike McAuliffe, a justness of the bid successful the county. He said the paramedics told region officials that it appeared that she had breached a limb and was not capable to get backmost inside.

They recovered her six feet from a backmost door.

In her obituary, relatives remembered Ms. Dearing arsenic a dedicated parent and grandma of 11. One of her 4 surviving sons, Richard Dearing, described her decease arsenic “really sad.” Given however unprepared the authorities recovered itself during the wintertime storm, Mr. Dearing said helium was amazed the decease toll “wasn’t a batch higher.”

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