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Winter Storm Causes Power Outages On Both Sides Of U.S.-Mexico Border

A citrus tree is covered with ice and icicles that reach the ground in an effort to protect the trees from freezing temperatures in Edinburg, Texas.
Delcia Lopez
/
The Monitor via AP
Icicles form on a citrus tree from a sprinkler system used to protect the trees from the freezing temperatures on Monday, Feb. 15, 2021 in Edinburg, Texas.

The powerful winter storm that is wreaking havoc across Texas has also caused problems across the border. The cold snap led to power outages across Northern Mexico on Monday, including a blackout throughout most of Ciudad Juárez.

Rafael Torres woke up to total darkness early Monday morning.

“We don’t have water, and we don’t have electricity,” he said, standing near a small gas heater in the home he shares with his wife and two teenage children in Juárez. “We’re hoping it returns soon.”

The storm knocked out electricity for more than 4 million people across northern Mexico, according to an official with the state-owned power utility, the Comisión Federal de Electricidad. Pipelines froze, and natural gas deliveries from Texas were disrupted.

At a press conference, Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the storm led to outages in multiple northern states, including Nuevo León, Coahuila, Tamaulipas and Chihuahua, and stressed that the utility was working hard to get everything back online.

Some power was restored in Juárez by Monday afternoon, but many were still waiting in the dark and cold.

Maria del Rayo Blanco Garcia said the snow was a nice Valentine’s Day surprise, but she wasn’t prepared for a blackout. The internet was down, so it was hard to get news.

“We don’t know if this will go on for the rest of today or tomorrow,” she said, adding that the lines to buy gas for emergency heat were getting long.

Water was also in high demand. Rafael Torres joined a long line of people hoping to pick up five-gallon, plastic jugs. He was preparing for a possible night off the grid.

He planned to buy some candles, so his family could see in the dark.

“You just wrap yourselves in blankets, to stand the cold,” he said.