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Icicles hang off the State Highway 195 sign yesterday in Killeen, Texas. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Broken pumps, burst pipes and chemical shortages have left millions without potable water after this week's devastating winter storm.

The big picture: Millions of people across the South have been told to boil water, with thawing temperatures expected to reveal the extent of the damage to infrastructure.

  • Texas: 7 million people  — because low water pressure could have allowed bacteria to seep into the system, AP reports.
  • Tennessee: 260,000 homes and businesses in the Memphis area — because of water main ruptures and problems at pumping stations.
  • Mississippi: Most of Jackson's 161,000 residents — because the city ran out of chemicals due to resupply issues.

Between the lines: Water mains will need repair and homes have frozen pipes that will fail as they warm up. Municipal systems will take time to recover.

What's next: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) said he expects residents will have drinkable tap water again next week.

Go deeper

In photos: Winter emergency in Texas

A line outside a Fiesta Mart grocery store in Houston, Texas, Feb. 17. Texans have been running out of food and other supplies, and the cold weather has "wiped out" the state's citrus and vegetable crops, the Texas Tribune reports. Photo: Thomas Shea/AFP via Getty Images

Millions of Americans are still without power during the winter weather emergency that's sweeping the U.S. — including nearly 1.8 million Texans, per utility tracker poweroutage.us. Some have also lost water services.

The big picture: Texas has been particularly badly hit by the deadly storm, with infrastructure damaged and pipes frozen. Officials told some 7 million Texans Wednesday to boil tap water before drinking it.

Power restored to 2 million homes in Texas

People shoveling snow off a sidewalk in McKinney, Texas, on Feb. 17. Photo: Cooper Neill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nearly 2 million homes across Texas had their power restored on Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced.

Why it matters: Approximately 325,000 Texans remain without electricity after a winter storm brought single-digit temperatures and sub-zero wind chill to most of Texas this week.

Feb 19, 2021 - Health

Texas hospitals evacuate patients, conserve resources amid outages

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The deadly winter storm in Texas has bombarded hospitals throughout the state.

Why it matters: Doctors have been working to conserve resources, pause non-emergency surgeries, evacuate patients and push back coronavirus vaccine shots.