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A final round of freezing temperatures strikes Texas as the state struggles to recover from winter storms

Texans weathering harsh winter conditions will get some relief from the cold on Saturday, although many in the state are still without basic utilities.

Saturday morning temperatures may be as low as 20 degrees for many inland locations, including Dallas and College Station, but the welcome return of onshore winds and full sunshine will warm the state into the 50’s and 60’s in the afternoon, CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said. Most of the state will stay above freezing after that initial thaw.

A weak cold front is forecast for Sunday evening, but is expected to bring only minimal impacts.

The brutal temperatures, ice and snow once caused millions of people in Texas to lose power, but as of early Saturday morning, only about 85,000 people in the state were left in the dark, according to PowerOutage.US. However, more than half the population — over 15.1 million people — had disruptions in their water service as of Saturday, according to Gary Rasp, a spokesman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Smita Pande in Austin told CNN she lost power to her home early in the week, and she and her husband stayed at a friend’s house until the water went out there, too. The group then traveled to another friend’s house that had operating utilities until their water supply failed as well. The three households returned to Pande’s home, where they relied on collecting snow to melt in order to flush their toilets.

Although power is now restored, Pande heard that the wait for water may last for a few days.

“At this point we’re planning on getting water in a week. We have to assume the worst-case scenario,” Pande told CNN’s Don Lemon in an interview Friday. “We’re hearing two or three days at this point. We’re going to hope for the best.”

Race to restore utilities

Dr. Schuwan Dorsey told CNN she lost power and water early Monday and resorted to sleeping with her two dogs in her car, intermittently turning the engine on to generate heat.

Her Life Alert bracelet was offline because her home’s electricity was out, Dorsey also said.

“I was in danger with my health,” Dorsey said Friday, noting that her power was on for a mere three minutes on Wednesday. Electricity has since returned fully yet she still has no water.

With burst pipes and power outages, Austin Mayor Steve Adler told CNN that his city needs water more than any other resource. When the power grid failed, it impacted the main water treatment plant and the city’s reservoir was lost, Adler told CNN’s Poppy Harlow. Those that do have water are under boil water advisories.

“This is a community of people that are scared and upset and angry,” Adler said. “We’re eventually going to need some better answers to why we’re here and how we prevent it from ever happening again. But for right now we’re just trying to get water.”

Many hospitals across the state are strained as well, with no running water, burst pipes, low pressure and boil water notices, according to a statement from Carrie Williams, spokesperson for the Texas Hospital Association.

Williams said that there are also issues with staffing as some employees have had to stay on-site in order to care for patients, putting a strain on food, linens and water. Provisions and medication stocks ran low, although there are some supply trucks moving Friday, Williams said.

As residents of the city of Killeen, Texas, were under water conservation conditions Friday night, fire crews were also battling a blaze that tore through a Hilton Garden Inn near Fort Hood, according to a tweet from the Killeen Police Department.

Video from CNN affiliate KWTX showed multiple police and fire crews on the scene where the building appeared to be completely engulfed. CNN has contacted the Killeen Fire Department for additional details and is awaiting comment.

State leaders respond to water crisis

Water disruptions aren’t expected to go away once the freezing temperatures do: frozen pipes have burst, but many are concerned even more pipes will as they thaw.

To address the breaks, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday that he is working with the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners. More than 320 plumbers have renewed their plumbing license, Abbott said, and the plumbing board is coordinating with out-of-state companies to bring more personnel to Texas.

“We know that there will be great demand for plumbers today, tomorrow … this weekend, in the coming days,” the governor said. “We want to make sure that we do everything we possibly can to help you gain access to the plumbers that you need to solve your plumbing and leakage problems along those lines.”

The state is also boosting the testing of local water systems by partnering with the federal government and neighboring Arkansas, Abbott announced Friday.

Working with the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has set up three mobile water testing labs, accord to Abbott.

Article Topic Follows: National-World

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