WV and National Disaster News - February 19, 2021


COVID-19 News
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The Wall Street Journal reports the severe weather is adding another complication to the national vaccination effort. The article reports federal officials are projecting widespread delays in vaccine shipments and deliveries over the next few days. The weather has affected operations at the FedEx facility in Memphis, Tenn., and the United Parcel Service facility in Louisville, Ky., both of which are vaccine hubs for multiple states. Power outages and lack of water have also impacted vaccinations. The impact is also being felt in areas not hit as hard by the storm. Health officials in Georgia and California have said that the postponed shipments will likely result in providers being forced to reschedule appointments. CNN reports that vaccine supplies are running dry from New York all the way to Idaho.
News Nation Now/KRON-TV (CA) reports at least 49 people have died as a result of the winter storm that has wreaked havoc on some states’ power grids and utilities, jeopardized drinking water systems, and delayed vaccine shipments across the country. The article says more than 500,000 customers around the U.S. are still without power this morning. Fox News reports power had been restored to nearly 2 million Texas homes by late Thursday, but about 13 million Texans -- or nearly half the state's approximately 29 million residents -- were under an advisory to boil drinking water. Gov. Abbott said he has asked President Biden to declare a major disaster in the state. Abbott said, "We need to make sure we use every tool possible to get water restored to our fellow Texans.” Biden approved an emergency storm declaration on Sunday.
USA Today reports some experts believe the damage from busted waters pipes could be 'pretty similar to the effects of a hurricane'. The Insurance Council of Texas says the number of claims due to frozen and burst pipes will be "unlike any event the state has experienced." One plumbing company owner says, "I think it's much bigger than people realize right now. We're talking in the hundreds of thousands of homes and business across the state.” Newsweek reports the top state emergency official says, "The place we are right now, with almost every single water institution impacted—not only from the frozen lines in our homes but the frozen lines in the streets that are running institutional water—water will continue to be a challenge."
The Weather Channel reports Winter Storm Viola is bringing a mix of rain, sleet and snow from Florida to Maine today. The system dumped several inches of snow in parts of the mid-Atlantic and East and caused ice accumulations in Virginia and North Carolina Thursday. The governor of North Carolina has requested a federal emergency declaration. The snow and ice weakened structures and led to hazardous driving conditions in many areas.

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