Winter storm Uri has brought historic cold weather and power outages to Texas as storms have swept across 26 states with a mix of freezing temperatures and precipitation
Winter storm Uri has brought historic cold weather and power outages to Texas as storms have swept across 26 states with a mix of freezing temperatures and precipitation
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Texas and other US southern states are currently grappling with a record-breaking winter storm, which has left millions without electricity in freezing temperatures after escalating energy demands.

While some have minimised the suffering of Texans during the natural phenomenon – or said they have brought it on themselves for residing in a Republican-voting state – one TikTok video filmed in Denton, Texas, has gone viral for showing the reality of those trying to cope with lengthy power shortages.

TikToker Antonio Richard, a 21-year-old realtor from Dallas, captured the video on Tuesday, of people screaming when the power shuts off at an apartment complex after being restored for only 20 seconds – and the clip went on to reach more than 1.5 million views in one day.

Speaking to the Daily Dot, he said the storm left him feeling stuck, especially with icy road conditions making it harder to get food.

Richard said: “[I’m in] survival mode, honestly. We don’t know how long the power is going to be on.”

Before filming the clip, he had been waiting for the electricity to come back for over 24 hours.

“I rushed out there to the courtyard,” he said. ‘“Everyone was in their balcony yelling ‘Yes, yes, yes!’” But it only lasted for 20 seconds.

One TikTok commenter wrote on Richard’s post: “That’s what ya get for voting for Trump again, stay warm!”

Someone else suggested Texans were overreacting, saying: “Y’all are acting like you guys are gonna die. This is a normal day in Colorado.”

However, Texans dismissed claims they were being dramatic, and explained that their state was simply not used to dealing with such historically freezing temperatures.

“Y’all don’t understand what we’re going through,” said @chanelellese. “We don’t see freezing temps. We prepare for HEAT not snow. Please don’t laugh! It’s people dying!”

Other Texans in the comments shared their experiences without power for hours and days in below-freezing temperatures.

 Many people online said Texans were simply overreacting

“Y’all tryna tell us to stop being dramatic when we haven’t had power or water for 2 days almost 3 in this below 20 degree weather,” wrote @nataly.cruz. “I just want a showerrr.”

Richard said he wasn’t bothered by the negative comments, as the people weren’t actually experiencing the stormy conditions themselves.

He added: “It’s just a lot different than what’s seen on the outside.”

After his video went viral, he set up a GoFundMe to raise money to supply people in need with food, shelter or blankets.

More than a dozen people have died in Texas from cold temperatures linked to the storm, with other casualties from traffic accidents and house fires.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said her county alone has received more than 300 calls about carbon monoxide poisoning – and some parts of the state are now experiencing water restrictions and boiling water notices from pipe bursts and treatment plants without electricity. 

Chey Louis, wearing scarves and bundled in a beanie, cried as he shared on TikTok that on Monday, his little brother’s second birthday, his family’s house got down to 40 degrees.

Louis said: “He’s just a baby. He’s spending [his birthday] in a house that’s been without power for 14 hours. This isn’t OK.”

Barbara Warren from San Antonio shared a video showing water flooding into her house from vents and ceiling fans.

“I am recording this in my car, trying to stay warm,” Warren says. “I also use medical equipment at night that I won’t be able to use so it’s not all fun and games, and we’re not snowflakes.”

Other TikTokers are urging people to take the storm seriously, using the hashtag #texaswinterstorm2021 to illustrate how alarming the conditions are, with one woman filming herself yelling at her neighbor to bring her dog inside in the 1-degree weather.

A woman filmed herself yelling at her neighbour to bring her dog inside in the 1-degree weather

According to the state’s politicians, the blackouts are due to Texas’ renewable energy infrastructure – but wind power only makes up a tiny portion of the shortage in power-generating capacity compared to fossil fuels such as natural gas.  

Millions still remain without power as the winter storms continue to wreak havoc in the state.

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