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TUESDAY March 2, 2021: 'DEEP FREEZE' from ZUMA Press award winning San Antonio Express-News photographers, Billy Calzada, Jessica Phelps, Lisa Krantz, Wiliam Luther and Kin Man Huia: When a winter storm caused by a disruption in the polar vortex and sent temperatures to sub-freezing, critical utility services buckled under record demand. Meteorologists call this recent polar vortex that targeted Texas one of the biggest, nastiest and longest-lasting ones they've seen since vortex monitoring began the 50's. A humanitarian crisis escalated within hours of the first power outage. Thousands of Texans are facing damage from burst pipes, which have flooded homes and left many without water. 14.9 million Texans faced water disruptions. Seven board members of the Texas grid operator have resigned in the wake of blackouts that hit the state during the storm that left more than 4 million Texans in the dark for days due to power supply shortages. A family whose son died during an extended power outage is suing its electricity provider and the agency that oversees most of Texas' energy grid. The winter storm that left dozens of Texans dead, millions without power and nearly 15 million with water issues could be the costliest disaster in Texas state history. Welcome to: 'DEEP FREEZE'
© zReportage.com Story of the Week #776: TUESDAY March 2, 2021: 'DEEP FREEZE' from ZUMA Press award winning San Antonio Express-News photographers, Billy Calzada, Jessica Phelps, Lisa Krantz, Wiliam Luther and Kin Man Huia: When a winter storm caused by a disruption in the polar vortex and sent temperatures to sub-freezing, critical utility services buckled under record demand. Meteorologists call this recent polar vortex that targeted Texas one of the biggest, nastiest and longest-lasting ones they've seen since vortex monitoring began the 50's. A humanitarian crisis escalated within hours of the first power outage. Thousands of Texans are facing damage from burst pipes, which have flooded homes and left many without water. 14.9 million Texans faced water disruptions. Seven board members of the Texas grid operator have resigned in the wake of blackouts that hit the state during the storm that left more than 4 million Texans in the dark for days due to power supply shortages. A family whose son died during an extended power outage is suing its electricity provider and the agency that oversees most of Texas' energy grid. The winter storm that left dozens of Texans dead, millions without power and nearly 15 million with water issues could be the costliest disaster in Texas state history. Welcome to: 'DEEP FREEZE'
People walk along Blanco Road as a brisk snow falls on Thursday morning. Across the state, authorities initially suspected at least 40 deaths were caused by the winter storm, and that number is expected to rise as state officials try to get a complete death toll.
© Billy Calzada/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
A man who goes by the name of SNIPE tries to warm himself by the fire outside tents in a campsite for the houseless under the 37 underpass. Snipe and many other homeless stayed in tents overnight even as temperatures dropped to dangerous lows.
© Jessica Phelps/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
Homes and their yards are covered in snow in the Harmony Hills neighborhood. Several inches of snow fell in San Antonio, causing the closure of San Antonio International Airport and many schools and businesses.
© Billy Calzada/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
HERMINIA RODRIGUEZ (85), sits in her apartment at the Ernest C. Olivares Senior Community Residence shortly after electricity returned to the apartments in San Antonio. The electricity was on for several hours Tuesday until the apartments lost it again around 5 p.m.
© Lisa Krantz/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
TIMOTHY ARNOLD (60), a disabled veteran and resident of Fair Avenue Apartments, sits on his electric scooter inside a VIA bus transporting residents who had been without water and electricity since Sunday to the Grand Hyatt hotel downtown late Tuesday night in San Antonio.
© Lisa Krantz/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
Aircraft are parked at San Antonio International Airport, after several inches of snow fell overnight. The airport was closed, as it lacks sufficient equipment to make the runways and taxiways usable.
© Billy Calzada/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
Hundreds of San Antonians stand in line to enter the HEB store at West Avenue and Blanco Road, after snow and freezing temperatures caused the closing the the store chain and most businesses.
© Billy Calzada/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
A shopper and her daughter find the freezer aisle empty at a local Target. Record cold temperatures and snow put San Antonio and Texas in a deepfreeze beginning Sunday night. Power outages were reported throughout the state.
© Wiliam Luther/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
A lone person walks early Monday morning on a blanket of snow on Alamo Street towards Houston Street. The National Weather Service reported that San Antonio and surrounding areas saw 3-5 inches of snow and some pockets of the forecast area saw 6-7 inches of snow. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has also declared the highest level of energy emergency and is requiring rolling blackouts throughout Texas.
© William Luther/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
Snow covers a Texas license plate. Several inches of snow fell in the city from Sunday, starting in the evening through the early morning hours of Monday. A few vehicles and people were out either to see the spectacle or to try to head to work.
© Kin Man Hui/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
The Alamo is seen in the early morning, beneath a layer of snow. The National Weather Service reported Tuesday morning that San Antonio and surrounding areas saw 3-5 inches of snow and some pockets of the forecast area saw 6-7 inches of snow. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has also declared the highest level of energy emergency and is requiring rolling blackouts throughout Texas.
© William Luther/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
ART LIMING brushes his the snow off his driveway in NE San Antonio with a broom. Liming's power went out Tuesday morning and his water has been working intermittently. San Antonio has seen record low temperatures causing the city too shut down.
© Jessica Phelps/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
Community advocate QUETA RODRIGUEZ waits to help Fair Avenue Apartments resident DEIDRA ANDERSON (57), get on a VIA bus transporting residents to the Grand Hyatt hotel downtown late Tuesday night after living without water and electricity since Sunday. Rodriguez initially sounded the alarm on social media and with politicians that the residents needed help and worked to get them out. An emergency generator supplied electricity for the elevator and some hallways.
© Lisa Krantz/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
Community activist QUETA RODRIGUEZ helps ARNULFO LOPEZ (65), who is legally blind, set his thermostat for heat shortly after electricity returned to his apartment after several days without at Col. George Cisneros Apartments in San Antonio. Lopez had never used the heat due to sinus issues in his five years of living there but felt he had to have heat now and could not read the thermostat control on his own.
© Lisa Krantz/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
DEIDRA ANDERSON (57), a resident of Fair Avenue Apartments, is helped onto a VIA bus by community advocate QUETA RODRIGUEZ (R), who initially sounded the alarm that residents at the high-rise building had been without water and electricity since Sunday and needed help. 44 residents were transported late Tuesday night to the Grand Hyatt hotel downtown in San Antonio.
© Lisa Krantz/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
TIMOTHY ARNOLD (60), a disabled veteran, and BEVERLY GRADY (68), both on electric scooters, are the first Fair Avenue Apartments residents to board VIA buses transporting residents to the Grand Hyatt hotel downtown late Tuesday night. The residents were living for days without water and electricity.
© Lisa Krantz/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
MARIA RODRIGUEZ (79), waits out another electricity outage in her apartment at the Ernest C. Olivares Senior Community Residence in San Antonio. She estimates the residence has had twenty hours of electricity total since Sunday.
© Lisa Krantz/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
SCOTT talks with outreach professionals from CAM and Centro who came to check on him in his shelter and drop off emergency MRE food rations, ahead of another cold and snowy night in San Antonio. The National Weather Service reports the areas temperatures are the coldest since 1989.
© Jessica Phelps/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
People wait in line to enter the HEB grocery store at West Avenue and Blanco Road as a brisk snow falls in San Antonio.
© Billy Calzada/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
A Fair Avenue Apartments resident waits in a hallway for VIA buses to arrive to transport residents to the Grand Hyatt hotel downtown late Tuesday night after living without water and electricity for days in San Antonio.
© Lisa Krantz/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
ALEX VEGA (L) waits with others to shop the HEB store at Wurzbach Road during another day of snow fall in San Antonio. Items like milk, eggs and meats were not available and water was limited.
© Kin Man Hui/San Antonio Express-News via ZUMA Wire
Lisa Krantz

ZUMA Press Newspaper San Antonio Express-News's LISA KRANTZ is a 2018 Pulitzer finalist and adjunct professor at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Lisa is also a 2020 Neiman Fellow at Harvard University and she has been a staff photojournalist at the Express-News since 2004. Lisa's reportage stories are represented by ZUMA Press. (Credit Image: © ZUMAPRESS.com):776



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