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Winter storm live updates: Cold rain in Houston; ERCOT restores power to 600K statewide

ERCOT was able to direct utilities to restore power to about 600K Texas households overnight, but millions are still without power and many have low water pressure.

HOUSTON —

We are no longer updating this page. Get the latest updates on power, water and the forecast here.

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The KHOU 11 team is tracking the potential for wintry, icy weather yet again north and west of Houston early Wednesday morning as another round of precipitation sweeps through the state. We're also tracking millions still without power statewide and very low water pressure — including some who have no water at all.

Will it freeze in Houston again today? Will there be ice here? Meteorologist Chita Craft says the freezing rain line is essentially Tomball to Livingston. Points north will get it — points south may luck out and will likely get only a cold rain today. She says spots north of that Tomball line — Brenham, College Station, Huntsville, etc — could get half an inch to an inch of ice today. Watch the latest forecast and view live radar here. 

A second Winter Storm Warning was issued for the northern and central areas of southeast Texas starting midnight Tuesday through 6 a.m. Thursday. Our team of experienced KHOU 11 meteorologists is tracking the winter storm around the clock.

GET WEATHER ALERTS: Download the KHOU 11 app

Houston school closures

You'll find a separate list of school district plans here. Some are closing and others are moving to virtual learning. 

Arctic blast top headlines

Wednesday updates

6:30 a.m. - The City of Sugar Land has now also issued a boil water notice for some residents: "Due to extremely low temperatures, increased demand, and prolonged power outages to critical city infrastructure, the City of Sugar Land is issuing a boil water notice for customers of its Greatwood Water System, effective immediately. The notice calls for all Greatwood customers to boil their water prior to consumption when the water pressure drops below 20 psi."  Read more from Sugar Land here. Residents across Southeast Texas are being asked to conserve their water and electrical use. View the list of water boil notices here.

6:20 a.m. - Important update from Harris County: "Nearly all parts of the county are experiencing low water pressure - or have none at all. Water utilities are struggling to operate in light of the state power issues. This will not improve until more power is restored." Read more here.

5:50 a.m. - from ERCOT - an update on statewide electrical service: "Some generation is slowly returning. ERCOT was able to direct utilities to restore 600,000 households last night. 2.7 million households still do not have power."

5:40 a.m. - The City of Sugar Land confirms I-69/the Southwest Freeway has reopened. People are still advised to stay home, if possible. We have more cold rain sweeping through Houston with icy conditions likely north of town.

4:35 a.m. - The City of Katy has now also issued a boil water notice. Read more from Katy here. Residents across Southeast Texas are being asked to conserve their water and electrical use. View the list of water boil notices here.

4:20 a.m. - From the Harris County Sheriff's Office just now: "We are unable to receive calls on our non-emergency line (713-221-6000). We are working with AT&T to resolve the issue. If you have an emergency, please call 911." 

4 a.m. - KHOU 11 Meteorologist Chita Craft says there is some good news for the immediate Houston area this morning where temperatures remained too warm for any more ice accumulation. Areas north of town, like Conroe over to Brenham and College Station, could get some icing, however. Another round of wintry weather is sweeping through the state - in Houston, this will likely mean cold rain later today but no more sleet, ice or snow, which is good news for our road conditions. Watch the forecast here.

3 a.m. - The City of Webster has now also issued a boil water notice. Residents across Southeast Texas are being asked to conserve their water and electrical use. View the list of water boil notices here.

2 a.m. - The National Weather Service posted an update on conditions in the Houston area.

It said precipitation moving in from the west and southwest will freeze upon contact with whatever surface it lands on.

Significant icing was expected in north Montgomery County.

Temperatures in the region were mostly in the 30s. Residents across the region were urged to stay in place and not to travel.

1:30 a.m. - The City of Galveston issued a boil water notice.

"Below freezing temperatures over the last two days caused water line breaks in homes and businesses to occur throughout the city, putting increased demand on the infrastructure and water supply system," the city said in a release.

Tuesday updates

8:36 p.m. - The City of Houston has asked residents to only use water for health and safety purposes.

The call comes as residents across the region have been experiencing low water pressure and even no water for the last day or so.

Several cities have issued boil water notices.

RELATED: Boil water notices issued across Houston area due to winter storm

8:20 p.m. - The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office reports approximately 300 carbon monoxide related incidents. There have been approximately 100 in the City of Houston, 100 in Harris County and about 100 hospital walk-ups. They say this is a low estimate because they don’t necessarily get called to CO incidents.

RELATED: What is carbon monoxide poisoning?

7:10 p.m. - From Houston Office of Emergency Management: "Please do NOT drip faucets, this will cause lower water pressure. Houston's water system is different than other systems in that we don’t use water towers to provide pressure to the system. We use ground storage tanks and pumps. Some of this equipment is damaged by the weather."

6:00 p.m. - CenterPoint said ERCOT has directed them to again reduce electric system load. Customers should make preparations now for possible additional outages. They added they stand ready to restore power once there is sufficient supply to do so. 

5:54 p.m. - Fort Bend County Judge KP George said many of our local cities, water districts, and others in county will be issuing boil water notices for our residents. He ask that residents please follow these seriously. 

5:48 p.m. - The City of Sugar Land said there are no plans to shut off our water supply. This rumor being circulated is false.  

5:45: p.m. - METRO service suspension will continue through Wednesday.

5:20 p.m. - The City of Pearland has issued a boil water notice for all City of Pearland water customers due to low water pressure/loss of power at Water Production facilities.  

5:15 p.m. - Santa Fe police confirm they responded to three deaths that appear to be related to the cold. The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office confirmed they responded to six deaths that appear to be related to the cold.

4:25 p.m. - Hobby Airport has reopened. Contact your airline for the current status of your flight. Departures curbside lanes are closed at this time so all traffic will be routed to the arrivals curbside. Terminal garages and Eco Park are open. Bush IAH says they'll reopen after 8 p.m. Tuesday night.

2:51 p.m. - With nearly 4 million Texans without power because of the winter storm that slammed Texas, demand for energy is historically high. The demand has exceeded the supply the state has to offer. As a result, the Public Utility Commission of Texas held an emergency meeting on Monday where officials introduced an order that would adjust energy prices, according to KVUE, our sister station in Austin. Read more.

2:00 p.m. - Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says there is no boil water notice at this time. He explained the city is above the necessary pressure and will continue to monitor situations further.

The mayor pleaded with residents to stay off the roads this evening with freezing precipitation forecasted for the area tonight and the morning.

12:49 p.m. - Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says he as asked Downtown Houston Management District buildings that are not being occupied to please cut off their lights and conserve energy. He added that we can not cut all power off as individuals are staying in hotels and about 800 people are staying in the GRB.

11:38 a.m. - Gov. Greg Abbott declared the reform of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) an emergency item this legislative session. In declaring this item an emergency, Abbott is calling on the legislature to investigate ERCOT and ensure Texans never again experience power outages on the scale they have seen over the past several days. Read more.

11:16 a.m. - The warming center at George R. Brown Convention Center is at full capacity and is currently not taking in more people. A warming bus is available onsite for those who need assistance with transportation to the warming shelter. If you need help finding a warming shelter, please call 311.

11:11 a.m. - DSHS reports that COVID-19 vaccine shipments are postponed. DSHS expects this week’s shipments to begin arriving Wednesday at the earliest. Deliveries will be subject to local conditions. Postponed vaccinations will resume as soon as it is safe.

11:01 a.m. - ERCOT is warning customers about a scam circulating on social media during this power outage affecting the state. Officials said the scam asks customer to text their private account numbers to help get their power back on. Don’t do it! ERCOT said they do not need your information to get your power back on.

10:00 a.m. - Fort Bend County Judge KP George says almost 60% of Fort Bend County is without power. He added they currently do not have an ETA from ERCOT or the state on power restoration. 

9:30 a.m. - Family members confirm the man and woman pulled from a burning home in northeast Houston late last night have passed away - this marks at least seven deaths in our area last night, although the cause of the fire is under investigation. Read more here.

8:43 a.m. - The Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office reports that some calling 9-1-1 are receiving a recording that states number is vacant/unavailable. The said the Greater Harris County 911 is trouble shooting. 

If residents aren’t able to get through 911, they should call 281-341-4665 (opt 1). they have several call takers on duty and no lines on hold 

8:12 a.m. - ERCOT confirms more power generators are coming online today, and power restorations will continue even as we prepare for a potential ice storm tonight into Wednesday. Last night, ERCOT confirmed 500,000 additional Texans now had power again. Only about 42% of the Houston area had electricity of this morning. It is unclear, specifically, how much that will improve as we head into more poor weather tonight.

7:02 a.m. - CenterPoint's outage tracker appears to have stopped updating again - at last check 1.3 million customers were without power in the Houston area.

6 a.m. - We've learned of another tragic story this morning where multiple children and a grandmother are dead in a Sugar Land house fire. Read more here.

5:50 a.m. - important 911 call service update from the City of Pasadena: 

"Our 9-1-1 system is currently experiencing issues. We have routed the calls to a backup system. If for some reason you call 9-1-1 and it doesn't ring or there is no answer within a couple of rings, please call our non-emergency number at 713-477-1221."

5 a.m. - both Bush and Hobby Airports remain closed to air traffic until at least 4 p.m. Tuesday: 

Due to SNOW/ICE, the George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport (IAH) was closed as of Feb 15 at 12:50 AM CST. The date/time when the airport is expected to reopen is Feb 16 at 04:00 PM CST.

Due to SNOW/ICE, the Houston William P Hobby Airport (HOU) was closed as of Feb 15 at 01:56 AM CST. The date/time when the airport is expected to reopen is Feb 16 at 04:00 PM CST.

4:20 a.m. - A tragic story is developing out of southwest Houston this morning ... HPD: Woman, little girl die from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by car running in garage to keep warm. Reminder: don't use motors, grills, generators, vehicles in or near buildings, warns HPD. Read more here.

4 a.m. - Houston's roads have frozen over with ice again, and our temperatures will remain at or below freezing today. Avoid travel.

12:30 a.m. - Fort Bend County Judge KP George tweeted that the condition of roads in the county was deteriorating and they were impassable.

He urged residents to remain wherever they were.

Monday updates

9:56 p.m. - The CenterPoint outage tracker is back up. They report 1462285 customers are without power. The tracker shows that 38.9 percent of customers have power.

Credit: CenterPoint
The CenterPoint outage tracker is back up. They report 1462285 customers are without power. The tracker shows that 38.9 percent of customers have power.

9:44 p.m. - Fort Bend County Judge KP George reported that cell phone service is starting to break down over the region as back up generators at towers are freezing or running out of fuel or both. Increasing outages will be possible overnight. 

8:47 p.m. - Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said they have received reports of people impersonating CenterPoint workers with the goal of gaining access to your home. The outages in Houston due to the severe weather do not require CenterPoint workers to enter residences.

7:56 p.m. - Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said a second man was found dead in a median in the 3500 block of Spur 527 near Bagby. He said a passerby found the man unresponsive and called police. 

This is the second death likely to be linked to the severe cold weather.

7:29 p.m. - H-E-B announced it will temporarily reduce their store hours of operation at all H-E-B, Joe V’s Smart Shop, Mi Tienda and Central Market stores across the Greater Houston, Bryan-College Station and Golden Triangle areas. They said they will continue to closely monitor the situation and will resume regular hours as soon as possible. Modified hours include, Tuesday, February 16:

  • H-E-B – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Joe V’s Smart Shop – 10 a.m. to  5 p.m. (Joe V’s Smart Shop 4 - Corner of Victory and Shepherd - will remain closed)
  • Mi Tienda – 10 a.m. to  5 p.m.
  • Central Market – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

6:30 p.m. - The Houston Chronicle says it has lost power will not be able to produce print copies for Tuesday until it is restored.

6:22 p.m. - Mayor Sylvester Turner says the power outages are his top concern right now as record cold temperatures are expected overnight.

"Power outages are my #1 concern right now. 1.2M people in Houston area are without power. Neither the City of Houston nor Harris County controls or regulates ERCOT or the power generators. The power outages are the responsibility of the State."

4:52 p.m. - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the state’s response to the unprecedented power outage and freeze we’re facing. The resources will help with power restoration and clearing roadways, as well as helping essential workers carry out their duties. The Texas National Guard is being deployed to do welfare checks and to help get people who need them to heating centers.

RELATED: Texas National Guard deployed to help Texans during unprecedented power outage, winter storm

4:37 p.m. - Harris County Sheriff's deputies said a homeless man was found dead in a van Monday, his death is potentially due to the severe cold weather. Officials said just before noon, deputies were called to the overpass at I-10 near Sheldon where they found the 60-year-old man dead.

RELATED: HCSO: Homeless man found dead in van from suspected exposure to cold weather

4:34 p.m. - A family was rushed to a Cypress-area hospital in the middle of the winter storm because they were trying to stay warm inside their Cypress-area home. Six people, including four children, were taken to an area hospital due to carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Cy-Fair Fire Department.

RELATED: Family of 6 hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning

3:50 p.m. - Montgomery County Pct. 3 Commissioner James Noack says he spoke with the CEO of Entergy who explained that somewhere 5 to 6 p.m. they hope to have power restored to most of those without power. Entergy is hoping to get power restored to those who have been without it the longest.

3:29 p.m. - A new Winter Storm Warning has been issued for the northern and central areas of southeast Texas starting midnight Tuesday through 6 a.m. Thursday.

3:10 p.m. - Gov. Abbott tweeted about 200,000 residential customers are about to be restored with power. He also said more are expected in the coming hours. He did not specify where. 

2:16 p.m. - Houston Methodist reported that due to the freezing temperatures Harris County lost power to one of its freezers storing 1,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The hospital said they had act quickly and were able to vaccinate 1,000 people in less than three hours.

“We didn’t waste a drop. It was great for our community that we were able to quickly administer these much needed vaccines in the middle of the storm,” said Roberta Schwartz, executive VP, Houston Methodist Hospital.

!:25 p.m. - Police Chief Art Acevedo says six police stations lost power but are running on their backup generator. He added the residents should not call 9-1-1 unless it is an emergency.

1:20 p.m. - Mayor Turner says those who are in need of critical care like oxygen or medicine are urged to call 3-1-1 for assistance. He also encouraged people to check on their neighbors, especially the elderly, during the power outage to make sure they are OK.

1:15 p.m. - Houston Fire Department has experienced a 50 percent increase in call volume, receiving more than 800 calls for serivces Monday, according to Chief Samuel Peña. 

1:13 p.m. - Bush Intercontinental Airport is expected to remain closed through 1 p.m., Tuesday, according to Houston Airport System. Hobby Airport will remain closed until noon Tuesday.

1:08 p.m. - Mayor Sylvester Turner says there are 500 people at the George R. Brown Convention Center which is serving as a warming center.

12:12 p.m. - CenterPoint indicates that 1,153,000 customers are without power, according to Mayor Sylvester Turner.

10:05 a.m. - Houston's major airports remain closed due to ice on the airfields. Hobby Airport will remain closed to flights until at least noon on Tuesday. Bush Airport is closed until at least 1 p.m. on Monday.

9:30 a.m. - Not the news many of us wanted to hear. From CenterPoint Energy just now: "Unfortunately, if you are a customer who is currently experiencing an outage, you should be prepared to be without power for at least the rest of the day." Read more about the power outages here.

6:50 a.m. - Both of Houston's major airports are now closed to air traffic. An important update from Bush Airport: "Due to accumulation of ice the airfield closed until further notice. Our crews worked all through the night to de-ice our runways, but the temps got too low. Treatment of the airfield will continue throughout the day." Hobby Airport closed earlier in the morning.

6:30 a.m. - from the Harris County Office of Emergency Management: "CenterPoint Outage Tracker restoration estimates are inaccurate. Due to technical issues, extreme cold and demand some generators are down statewide. Focus is on keeping grid from failure. For now, stay indoors and layer clothing to keep warm."

6:09 a.m. - CenterPoint update: "We continue complying with @ERCOT_ISO ‘s request to curtail power delivery due to the statewide power generation emergency. As a result customers may experience longer outages than previously anticipated. We appreciate your patience."

5:50 a.m. - Houston TranStar's website has suffered intermittent outages this morning but reports there are dozens of icy interstates, ramps and bridges/overpasses across the Houston area. Everyone should stay home. View the list of icy roads here.

CenterPoint's outage tracker website has also been offline this morning but last reported more than 100,000 customers without electricity across the Houston area. This number has likely only gone up.

5 a.m. - thundersnow is not a common occurrence, especially in Galveston. But that's what was captured on camera this morning:

4:10 a.m. - here are some tips on how to safely stay warm inside your home during a power outage, click here

2:47 a.m. - CenterPoint energy tells us these rotating power outages, or rolling blackouts, can last 15 minutes to more than an hour. Read more here.

2:30 a.m. - Houston's not alone in these power outages. As of 2:30 a.m., more than 400,000 Oncor customers were without power in the Dallas area. In Austin, more than 170,000 customers were without power. And in San Antonio, almost 140,000 were without power. Houston had more than 100,000 without power at last check.

This the first time ERCOT has reached the EEA 3 emergency level in a decade, since February 2011.

Officials said residents can help minimize power surges by turning off appliances, lights and other things, except for a single light to determine when power comes back on.

2:20 a.m. - Rolling power outages have started in the heart of Houston, with portions of downtown and Midtown losing electricity for more than 25 minutes and counting. Residents are encouraged to use as little power as possible.

Credit: KHOU 11
Rolling power outage in Midtown Houston early Feb. 15, 2021

1:34 a.m. - The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has declared a statewide power generation shortfall emergency.

CenterPoint Energy started controlled rotating outages in its service territory. Also as of 1:40 a.m., 126,000 people were without power.

The controlled outages are designed to avoid potentially longer and more widespread power outages.

Click here to check the outage map.