Texas weather updates – live: Latest updates as Ted Cruz accused of leaving dog during Cancun trip

Cruz responds to criticism following trip to Cancun

Texans are contending with the unforeseen consequences of the deadly winter storm that has left hundreds of thousands without power or electricity and millions without running water.

Firefighters have been faced with frozen water hydrants while trying to control fires, while a couple caring for their premature baby were forced to ration his oxygen tanks. Pets have been found abandoned in the snow.

Ted Cruz, meanwhile, has attempted to defend his decision to fly to Cancun, Mexico after returned home to jeering crowds. The US senator said he was just “trying to be a dad” by taking his daughters out of the freezing state to the popular holiday destination. He admitted that the decision was “obviously a mistake” amid calls for his resignation.

At least 56 people have been killed as a result of extreme weather conditions, including one man who was found frozen to death in his recliner.


Texans struggling to access food as supply chains disrupted

Freezing temperatures and power blackouts are threatening food supply networks to storm-hit states. Supermarket chains like Walmart and Publix have been forced to close some of their shops because of a lack of power or personnel.

Those that have remained open are contending with long lines and empty shelves. Woodland resident Rodney Giles said: “Even during the pandemic here in March, the first day the shelves were empty, but the next day they were fully stocked.”

Food banks are also struggling. Valerie Hawthorne, director general of government relations at the North Texas Food Bank, told The Guardian that her organisation is preparing for a “massive spike in demand” once supply chains begin moving again.

“This is a disaster. We are doing rapid needs assessments so we can get appropriate food to those people quickly. When everything thaws, we’re preparing for a massive spike in demand,” she said.

Joanna Taylor19 February 2021 15:41


Ted Cruz ‘left behind’ pet poodle during Cancun trip

Ted Cruz’s pet poodle, Snowflake, was spotted peering out of the window of his Texas home by a New York Magazine reporter on Thursday, while he was believed to be in Cancun with his wife and daughters.

A security guard said that he was tasked with looking after the dog while the Cruz family were away.

Cruz swiftly returned from the Ritz Carlton Hotel after facing protests and calls for his resignation. He admitted that taking the trip with his family had been a “mistake”.

The senator fled his home after dealing with power cuts and freezing conditions. The senator fled his home after dealing with power cuts and freezing conditions. According to New York Magazine, his power appeared to be back on by Thursday afternoon.

Joanna Taylor19 February 2021 14:52


Boy, 11, dies with suspected hypothermia in unheated mobile home

An 11 year-old boy has died with suspected hypothermia in Conroe, Texas. Cristian Pavon was found unresponsive by his parents in their unheated mobile home.

Although an official cause of death has not yet been determined, his family believe the cold was to blame.

His aunt, Jaliza Yera, told ABC News that Cristian had no underlying health conditions and that she was “heartbroken” by the news. She added: “We still did CPR until the fire department came and they took over and within a minute they told us it was too late.”

Hailing from Honduras, Cristian had never seen snow before Storm Uri hit. His family are crowdfunding money to try to transfer his body back to the country. They are also awaiting the result of an autopsy to confirm his cause of death, according to Univision.

Joanna Taylor19 February 2021 14:41


Ted Cruz mocked on Twitter over Cancun trip

Senator Ted Cruz found himself on the wrong side of Twitter overnight as critics took to the platform to take digs at him for his recent trip to Cancun amid the ongoing public health crisis in Texas. Mr Cruz has said that he took a controversial vacation to Mexico on Wednesday because he was “wanting to be a good dad.”

“With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon,” he said in a statement on Thursday. However, the excuse does not seem to have satisfied many on social media, who took to the platform the humorously criticise the senator’s decision to travel amid the storm and the ongoing pandemic.

Some joked that Mr Cruz had scapegoated his daughters for what he described as “obviously a mistake” while others made memes out of the controversy surrounding the trip.However, certain prominent conservatives have jumped to the senator’s defence in the wake of the backlash, claiming that as a senator, Mr Cruz could only play a minimal role in aiding his own constituents.

Dinesh D’Souza, a right-wing political commentator and conservative provocateur said that “Senators don’t do a whole lot other than VOTE. “Former President Donald Trump’s oldest son also rallied to the senator’s side, saying there was a “difference between a Governor and a Senator in terms of job description.”

Louise Hall 19 February 2021 14:29


Former aide of Ted Cruz blasts senator’s trip to Cancun: ‘This is what you call a dumba** move’

A former aide of Ted Cruz has blasted the senator’s decision to fly to Cancun amid ongoing power shortages and brutal weather in Texas.

Rick Tyler told MSNBC on Friday: “In the very sophisticated world of political communication this is what you call a dumba** move.”

He added: “There’s no excuse for it. It’s really remarkable that in moments that require leadership, like leadership in a disputed election, like leadership in a pandemic, and leadership in a manmade and natural disaster in Texas — Texas is losing $3 billion a day because of the incompetence of the management of the power grid, and that was foreseeable. We have known that for 10 years.”

Mr Cruz has said that he took a controversial vacation to Mexico on Wednesday because he was “wanting to be a good dad” but Mr Tyler said he didn’t buy this excuse.

“Ted Cruz did a really horrendous move. He blamed his mistake on his children,” the former staffer said.

Nowhere, I can promise you, did a 10-year-old and 12-year-old say, ‘Daddy, I know you have important obligations as a senator but we want to go to the Ritz-Carlton in Cancún this week and you’re going to take us,’ and he would succumb to that.”

Louise Hall 19 February 2021 14:11


Ted Cruz’s criticism of lawmaker for Covid vacation resurfaces following Cancun controversy

Critics have suggested Tec Cruz should have anticipated severe backlash from his trip abroad after he attacked a Democratic mayor who travelled during the Covid-19 pandemic in December.

“Hypocrites,” the senator wrote of Austin’s Democratic mayor, Stephen Adler, who reportedly recorded a Covid-19 safety video while vacationing at a Mexican resort.

On Thursday, the tables were turned on the Texas senator, as Democrats attacked his trip while thousands were without power and other crucial supplies.

Louise Hall19 February 2021 13:55


National Weather Service says ‘quieter weather pattern’ in store over coming days

The National Weather Service (NWS) has reassured that a “much quieter weather pattern is in store” is in store for the continental US in the coming days after harsh conditions caused untold damage to communities this week.

“An anomalously cold week across the Southern Plains will begin to come to an end this weekend as an approaching area of low pressure pulls warmer air northward out ahead of it on Saturday,” the agency said on Friday.

However, the forecast noted that before the respite, “widespread low-temperature records may be broken” on Friday over parts of eastern Texas and the Lower Mississippi Valley.

“The current system that is bringing snow and freezing rain to the Northeast and northern Mid-Atlantic, as well as rain and thunderstorms to the Southeast will taper off today,” the NWS said.

They added that lingering snow showers will continue over much of the interior Northeast and New England through Saturday and that one to three inches of additional snowfall could be possible for the Northeast on Friday.

Places downwind of the Lower Great Lakes may receive between four to eight inches of snow, the forecast said.

Elsewhere, rain is expected to impact the coast extending up from California through the Pacific Northwest.

Louise Hall19 February 2021 13:52


Texas power grid was ‘seconds and minutes’ away from possible failure

The state’s power grid was just “seconds and minutes” away from total collapse, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Residents could have faced months of blackouts if this worst-case scenario was reached.

Grid operators made the quick decision to order transmission companies to quickly reduce power as massive quantities of energy supply suddenly began dropping off the grid.

This was intended to cause rolling blackouts across the state rather than a full shutdown. Hundreds of thousands of Texans are still without power.

ERCOT president Bill Magness told the Texas Tribune that the issue “needed to be addressed immediately”, adding that the grid was “seconds and minutes” from possible failure.

“As chaotic as it was, the whole grid could’ve been in blackout,” Bernadette Johnson, a power and renewables expert, told the magazine. “ERCOT is getting a lot of heat, but the fact that it wasn’t worse is because of those grid operators.”

Joanna Taylor19 February 2021 12:56


Texans share surreal photos of frozen fishtanks and iced over swimming pools

Freezing temperatures left one Texas home with a completely frozen fish tank.

A video of the tank, uploaded to TikTok, was captioned: “This is what it’s like like living in Texas right now. [I’m] literally in shock, wow”.

User ray.k13, who uploaded the footage, noted that her daughter’s goldfish had died.

Other people have uploaded photos of swimming pools and baths completely iced over to social media.

Joanna Taylor19 February 2021 12:23


Pets are dying after being abandoned in the snow

Pet dogs and cats have been found abandoned in the snow by authorities in Houston.

Care groups and investigators have responded to numerous calls regarding animals left outside without food and with frozen water bowls.

A dog owner is facing charges after eight “severely malnourished” dogs were discovered in frozen temperatures. One had a broken jaw.

Six dogs were also found abandoned in an auto body shop, including one that had died.

Harris County Sheriff, Ed Gonzalez said: “Texas law requires pets to be brought inside during severe weather. It is illegal to restrain your dog under these conditions. Members of a countywide Animal Cruelty Task Force stand ready to respond.”

Joanna Taylor19 February 2021 12:09


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