Feb 20, 2021 - Science

Biden declares major disaster in Texas after winter storms

Long-haul trucks waiting in traffic caused by historic cold weather in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 15.
Long-haul trucks waiting in traffic caused by historic cold weather in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 15. Photo: Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

President Biden declared a major disaster in Texas after severe winter storms struck the state, causing millions of residents to lose power and water.

Why it matters: The declaration clears the way for more federal funds to be spent on relief efforts across the state.

What they're saying: "Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster," the White House said Saturday.

  • "Federal funding is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures and hazard mitigation measures statewide."

The big picture: Nearly 2 million homes across Texas had their power restored on Thursday, though approximately 325,000 Texans remained without electricity that day.

  • As of Friday, over 13 million Texans still did not have access to drinkable water.
  • At least 16 deaths in the state were linked to the harsh weather as of Thursday.
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