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Man found frozen to death in his recliner in Texas as winter storm death toll rises

The Independent logo The Independent 18/02/2021 Danielle Zoellner
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One man has been found frozen to death in his recliner in Texas, as at least 24 people have died due to the winter storm.

Abilene Fire Chief Cande Flores revealed that three people died in Abilene, Texas, this week due to frigid temperatures, according to KTXS.

The official identified one of the deaths as a homeless man who died of exposure to the elements. He was in his late 50s or 60s and was found outside on Monday morning.

Another man was found dead in his home after he was left without power for three days. Resident Josh Casey told Facebook users that the man "froze to death in his recliner" and his wife was "nearly dead" next to him. She has since been taken to the hospital.

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"Please go check on your neighbors," Mr Casey said.

The other victim found in Abilene, Mr Flores said, had a medical condition and the weather prevented them from accessing the resources they needed.

Texas plummeted into frigid temperatures on Sunday after a storm hit that brought snow to the state.

At least 24 people have died from the winter storm, including a grandmother and three children who died in Sugar Land, Texas, after they accidentally set their home on fire in an effort to stay warm.

Millions experienced power outages after the power grid was overloaded with excess use due to residents turning on their heat. Some residents have been without power for four straight days, and about 400,000 are still experiencing blackouts, according to poweroutage.us.

The situation in Texas has sparked backlash, as state Republicans and Governor Greg Abbott face criticism for decisions they made related to energy usage and the power grid.

Texas operates on an independent electricity grid instead of being federally regulated, which means it's unable to pull electricity from other grids when there are surge demands. So the current surge instead led to millions without power and heat for extended periods of time.

The state was the only one in the continental United States to operate on an independent grid.

Mr Abbott has cast blame on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) on Tuesday for the power outages that have occurred across the state. He called ERCOT "anything but reliable the last 48 hours" and issued an executive order to review the "preparations and decisions" made by the council ahead of the winter storm.

When speaking to the Associated Press, Dan Woodfin, the senior director of system operations at ERCOT, said the current winter storm went "well beyond the design parameters for a typical, or even an extreme, Texas winter that you would normally plan for."

Weather was set to improve in Texas over the next 24 hours, but officials have warned residents could still struggle with food and water shortages in the coming days. A full return to power was also not anticipated in the state until temperatures increased.

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