x
Breaking News
More () »

Weather impacts: Officials urging Texans to conserve water, natural gas in addition to electricity

Power outages are prompting concern about other essential services, too.

This story will be continuously updated as new information becomes available.

Millions of people across the state of Texas were still without power Wednesday as officials urge Texans to conserve as much electricity as possible after dozens of power plants went offline during record cold and heavy ice and snow.

Hundreds of thousands of homes are under a boil order after power outages at water utility facilities and loss of water pressure on Monday. Many of the homes have lost water entirely. Fort Worth is asking people who are able to donate bottled water at any of the city's fire stations.

In addition to conserving electricity, officials with water and natural gas utilities are also asking Texans to practice conservation of those resources as power outages place additional pressure on the services.

Many school districts have announced closures due to the weather and outages, including Dallas and Fort Worth ISDs, which said they would be closed Wednesday and Thursday. 

RELATED: 'Electric emergency': Map of power outages in Dallas-Fort Worth area

RELATED: How to stay warm in extreme cold if your power goes out

Key links:

Remember to download the WFAA app for the latest need-to-know weather and power updates. You can also check one of our dozens of local radars near you, the latest forecast, weather cameras and current conditions.

Forecast

Most of the snow totals we are seeing right now from around the Dallas-Fort Worth area range from 1 to 3 inches. Some locations along the Red River with 5 to 7 inches.  

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport received another inch of snow overnight and this morning. This brings the total for February to 5 inches of snow! We still have a week and a half left in the month, but it looks mainly dry or all rain through the end of the month. 

The 5 inches of snow puts February 2021 the fourth snowiest on record. 

Click here to continue reading the forecast.  

Power issues

Officials are urging Texans to conserve electricity as the grid faces unprecedented demand from the extreme cold and a lower-than-normal electrical generation due to offline coal and natural gas facilities, as well as frozen turbines.

Check current demands on power grid

Check current Oncor outages

RELATED: Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins demands accountability from Texas leaders, power regulators

Boil order

Many cities in North Texas are under notice to boil their water prior to consumption, including when washing their hands/face, brushing their teeth and drinking water.

Power outages across the region have impacted water treatment plants in several areas, forcing cities to issue boil orders.

The cities impacted include: 

  • Anna 
  • Arlington
  • Benbrook
  • Boyd
  • Denton
  • Fannin County, includes: Ector, Leonard, Savoy, Windom
  • Fort Worth
  • Greenville
  • Haslet
  • Kennedale
  • Mesquite
  • Princeton
  • Springtown
  • University Park

Texans under the orders should boil their water for at least two minutes prior to drinking it, washing with it, or brushing their teeth, according to officials. Water should be boiled vigorously and then cooled before it is consumed. 

RELATED: Multiple cities in North Texas under a boil water order as power outages continue

Speaker Dade Phelan calls for hearing on electric blackouts

The Texas Speaker of the House has called for a hearing on the statewide power outages. 

Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, asked the House State Affairs and Energy Resources Committees to hold a joint hearing to review what led to the massive power supply drop-off that has caused all the outages statewide.

“The extreme winter weather Texans experienced this week caused the lights to go off across the Lone Star State,” Phelan said in a news release. “I’m asking these two vital committees to convene a joint hearing on Feb. 25 for the express purpose of helping Texans understand what went wrong and how we can prevent these conditions from happening again."

RELATED: 'Completely unacceptable': Abbott says ERCOT hasn't been transparent, demands answers about Texas power outages

Phelan said he wants to know what steps regulators and grid operators need to take. 

House State Affairs Committee Chairman Chris Paddie echoed that sentiment in the same release. 

“The statewide blackouts raise questions about the reliability of our electric grid and its ability to withstand extreme weather events in the future," Paddie added.

Officials urging Texans to conserve water, natural gas in addition to electricity

Atmos Energy sent out a message Tuesday asking all of its customers and businesses to conserve as much energy as possible.

Demand for natural gas is currently at "unprecedented levels," according to an Atmos Energy spokesperson.

The natural-gas-only company is one of the nation's largest distributors. The Dallas-based company serves about 3 million customers in more than 1,400 communities in nine states.

RELATED: As demand for natural gas reaches 'unprecedented levels,' Atmos Energy asks customers to conserve energy

At the same time, officials in local communities across North Texas are urging residents to only use water as needed and to conserve as much as possible. As power outages continue to plague water facilities, there is concern of the possibility of complete water outages.

Cities asking for residents to only use water for drinking, sanitation and dripping faucets so far include:

  • Arlington
  • McKinney
  • North Richland Hills
  • Plano
  • Wylie

Cell signal problems

Cell towers around North Texas for all different providers are experiencing similar power loss issues to the ones Texans are facing in their homes. Those cell towers have backup generators and backup batteries, but even those can sometimes fail, causing connection issues for some Texans.

RELATED: Can't call or text because of the storm? Try these tips

"Commercial power outages and damage from snow and ice may affect service for some wireless and wireline customers," AT&T said in a statement. "We have generators supporting cell sites and we have teams refueling fixed generators as needed." 

Flight delays

There have been thousands of flight cancellations and delays in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as the area deals with the wintry weather. Officials are urging any passengers to confirm their flight status before departing for the airport. 

Check for delays and cancellations: 

Check your DFW flight status here 

Check your Love Field flight status here

Closures

North Texas school closures

Check a full list of all delays and closures here.

Major districts that have canceled classes Wednesday

  • Arlington ISD -through Friday
  • Argyle ISD- through Friday
  • Cedar Hill ISD -through Friday 
  • Dallas ISD - closed Wednesday and Thursday
  • Duncanville ISD- through Friday
  • Frisco ISD- Wednesday and Thursday
  • Fort Worth ISD - closed through Friday
  • Garland ISD - closed through Friday
  • Graford ISD
  • Grand Prairie ISD - closed through Friday
  • Lewisville ISD- closed until Monday
  • Northwest ISD
  • Richardson ISD- closed through Friday
  • SMU - closed through Friday
  • University of North Texas campuses (Dallas and Denton) will be closed through Saturday, Feb. 20.

Vaccine clinics

Many vaccine clinics across North Texas are closing or rescheduling due to the weather. Below are some that have announced closures.

  • Fair Park vaccine operations will remain closed through Saturday, Feb. 20.
  • The CDC has delayed vaccine shipments to Texas due to the winter storm until Wednesday at the earliest, depending on the weather. The same total amount is expected, just at a later date. The state is worried small providers could spoil doses if the power goes out and is asking them to transfer or use doses immediately.
  • Parkland drive-thru vaccination and walk-up COVID-19 test centers: The Ellis Davis Field House and Dallas College Eastfield Campus (Mesquite) COVID-19 vaccine drive-through locations operated by Parkland through Thursday. 
  • The COVID-19 testing sites operated by Parkland at Sam Tasby Middle School in Dallas, Irving Health Center, and West Dallas Multipurpose Center will be closed through Thursday. 
  • Vaccine hub operations at Plano's John Clark Stadium will be closed Tuesday.

RELATED: How next week's wintry weather is impacting COVID-19 vaccination efforts across North Texas

Texas COVID-19 updates

Texas Department of State Health Services said the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths reported will be low due to power outages across the state. 

Health officials said they cannot update lab and testing data at this time. 

DART

Dallas Area Rapid Transit has implemented its severe winter operation plans through at least 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

The transit service has moved to Operating Scenario 2, which means all rail operations will be suspended and DART bus routes will operate on normal Saturday schedules for the first few days of the week, with limited service scheduled on routes 63 and 362. 

The Dallas Streetcar will not operate during this time, but a shuttle bus will be available between EBJ Union Station and the Bishop Arts District, making all stops. The transit service is also now providing 14 additional shuttle bus routes, which can be viewed here.

Go here for more information from DART.

Trinity Metro

Buses, TEXRail, Trinity Railway Express (TRE), and on-demand ZIPZONE services will not operate Wednesday.

In-person customer care locations at Fort Worth Central Station and the Ticket Sales Center on Cherry Street will also remain closed.

Passengers with questions can call customer service representatives at the following phone numbers:

General Trinity Metro service inquiries: 817-944-9145

Trinity Metro ACCESS paratransit services – 817-983-8908

Trinity Railway Express 

TRE announced it will be suspending service through the beginning of Thursday due to winter weather conditions in North Texas. 

Officials said for any TRE passengers connecting to DART services, rail operations are also suspended until the beginning of Thursday.

TRE said DART shuttle buses will be available for passengers. These bus routes can be viewed online under the "Operating Scenario 2" section. 

People can register for TRE alerts or DART alerts for the latest updates and service changes.

Government closures

DeSoto

City facilities will be closed while many employees work remotely. Garbage pickup is canceled Wednesday with plans to potentially resume Thursday.

Garland

All non-emergency city facilities will continue to be closed.

Hurst

Non-essential city facilities will be closed Wednesday. The city's non-emergency police phone lines have been damaged. The alternate non-emergency line to call is 817-485-6669. 911 is still working.

Mesquite

All non-essential services will be suspended Wednesday. Police, fire and water services will stay in place.

Tarrant County

All Tarrant County governmental buildings will be closed on Wednesday. 

Texas DPS 

All North Texas DPS offices will be closed Thursday. 

Road closures

Drivers can find information on road conditions throughout the state on DriveTexas.org or by calling 800-452-9292.