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Parents at private school attended by Ted Cruz’s daughters, 12 and 10, demand they quarantine


Ted Cruz‘s wife Heidi has arrived at Cancun airport for her flight back to the US as parents at her daughters’ $31,000-a-year private school demanded they quarantine after hitting the beach maskless while Texas reeled from historic storm.

The 48-year-old was seen walking into the terminal on Saturday with her daughters Catherine, 12, and Caroline, 10, following in tow as she prepared to board a flight back to storm-lashed Texas after her controversial stay at the $300-a-night Ritz Carlton resort. 

Beach photos taken on Friday showed her and the kids splashing about in the waves amid 85F temperatures – compared to a low of -2F in Texas.

Her Texas senator husband had flown out with them on Wednesday, at the same time his state was being ravaged by bitterly-cold storms that have claimed at least 30 lives, left 14million without water and seen towns cut off from electricity for seven days.  

Following an outcry he returned home on Thursday, but was slammed for blaming his daughters for his decision to make the trip. 

This was later contradicted by leaked texts in which Heidi texted friends and neighbors urging them to ‘escape for the week’ and join them in sunny Cancun. 

Mr Cruz, 50, said on his arrival home: ‘It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it.’ 

Parents of St John’s School in Houston have slammed the ‘hypocrite’ senator and is demanding his family quarantine on their return. 

Heidi Cruz, 48, was seen on Saturday walking into Cancun International Airport on her way back to the US after her family’s controversial stay at the $300-a-night Ritz Carlton resort

Heidi walked into the terminal at Cancun airport alongside her daughters and the children of family friends at the end of her beach trip

Heidi walked into the terminal at Cancun airport alongside her daughters and the children of family friends at the end of her beach trip  

Heidi was wearing a mask as she walked into the terminal. Her senator husband was widely criticized for jetting to the vacation spot as Texas endured a brutal winter storm

Heidi was wearing a mask as she walked into the terminal. Her senator husband was widely criticized for jetting to the vacation spot as Texas endured a brutal winter storm

Beach photos taken on Friday showed her and the kids splashing about in the waves amid 85F temperatures - compared to a low of -2F in Texas

Beach photos taken on Friday showed her and the kids splashing about in the waves amid 85F temperatures – compared to a low of -2F in Texas

Her Texas senator husband had flown out with them on Wednesday, at the same time his state was being ravaged by bitterly-cold storms that have claimed at least 30 lives, left 14million without water and seen towns cut off from electricity for seven days. He is seen at Cancun airport on Thursday before his flight back to Texas

Her Texas senator husband had flown out with them on Wednesday, at the same time his state was being ravaged by bitterly-cold storms that have claimed at least 30 lives, left 14million without water and seen towns cut off from electricity for seven days. He is seen at Cancun airport on Thursday before his flight back to Texas 

Lara Hollingsworth, who has three children at the school, told Politico: ‘At the end of the day, he’s taking this heat for using his children as an excuse for taking a vacation. And that’s a mistake. 

‘From a parent standpoint, all I’m asking is the school follow the CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, and I need to say I have no reason to believe they won’t.’ 

The parent called Cruz ‘hypocritical’ for making the trip, given he had previously criticized Austin’s Mayor for leaving for Mexico during the pandemic. 

Another mother, Victoria Konar, said she did not feel ‘badly’ for the under-fire senator, adding: ‘You start with the fact that there are people ticked off by those who think they’re the VIPs at this school who don’t want to be bothered to follow the rules because it infringes on their social life.’

Meanwhile, a parent – who asked to remain anonymous – said: ‘It’s enraging to see this politician go out of the country like this and there’s a concern that he would be putting the school at risk if he was trying to sneak out.’

A post on the St John’s Facebook page had to have its comments disabled on Friday after debate around the Cruz trip became heated. 

A spokesman Mr Cruz said that his daughters to follow the St John’s policy’ when they arrive back in the US. The school policy aligns with the official CDC guidance.   

Video filmed on the beach in Cancun show Cruz’s wife speaking to a waiter who hands her a drink before walking out of shot.

Heidi can then be seen speaking to her children while standing in between sun beds on the soft white sands. 

Cruz, Heidi and their daughters Caroline Cathryn fled Houston on Wednesday afternoon while millions in Texas struggled without heat or water.  

Ted Cruz's wife Heidi Cruz was pictured enjoying the warm weather of Cancun with friends and family on Friday

Heidi stayed at the popular but pricey $300-a-night Ritz Carlton resort – where the wintry chaos enveloping Texas appeared far from everyone’s minds 

During the trip, Heidi could be seen splashing around in the waves amid 85F temperatures - compared to a low of -2F in Texas

During the trip, Heidi could be seen splashing around in the waves amid 85F temperatures – compared to a low of -2F in Texas 

Heidi arriving at Cancun International Airport on Saturday. Parents of St John's School in Houston have slammed and is demanding she and her daughters quarantine on their return

Heidi arriving at Cancun International Airport on Saturday. Parents of St John’s School in Houston have slammed and is demanding she and her daughters quarantine on their return 

Leaked texts have been revealed in which Heidi texted friends and neighbors urging them to 'escape for the week' and join them in sunny Cancun

Leaked texts have been revealed in which Heidi texted friends and neighbors urging them to ‘escape for the week’ and join them in sunny Cancun

Mr Cruz, 50, said on his arrival home: 'It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I wouldn't have done it'

Mr Cruz, 50, said on his arrival home: ‘It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it’

Their trip to the Ritz-Carlton in Cancun sparked outrage, with many demanding to know why Cruz – a two term Senator who was re-elected in 2013 – didn’t stay behind to help alleviate the crisis like other leaders and private citizens. 

Cruz changed his flight at 6am on Thursday after a firestorm of outrage erupted overnight. On Thursday afternoon, he released a statement saying his ‘girls’ had asked him if they could go away with friends the day before and the family quickly booked the trip. 

He said he was just ‘trying to be a good dad’ by dropping them off, and that he was returning to Texas to battle the energy crisis. 

But text messages obtained by The New York Times show how Heidi encouraged other mothers on the street they live on to join them. 

On Wednesday morning, she wrote: ‘Anyone can or want to leave for the week? We may go to Cancun there is a direct flight at 445pm and hotels w capacity. Seriously. Covid test to come back which we will take there.’ 

Another mother responded: ‘We are now thinking along those lines. Sounds so wonderful.’ Another said: We are supposed to go to Cabo Friday.’ 

Heidi then booked the family’s flights and informed the group and told them where they planned to stay: ‘Ritz Carlton. $309 plus tax.’ 

One of the other mothers replied: ‘Cancun Cabo even Boston sounds amazing!!! I would live (sic) to go but not freezing under the down comforter with hot chilies and a hoodie and sadly I can’t leave [redacted] or my mother in law.’

Heidi, a managing director in Goldman Sachs’ Houston office, also asked their friends: ‘Are you guys warm enough? We have a fireplace! Let us know. Our house is FREEZING tho… we couldn’t stand it anymore.’ 

Their daughters were never referenced in the exchange. 

The Ritz Carlton in Cancun where the Cruzes are staying, paying $309 a night at the luxury ocean-front hotel

The Ritz Carlton in Cancun where the Cruzes are staying, paying $309 a night at the luxury ocean-front hotel

Hours later, the Cruzes were at the airport. They left behind their dog – Snowflake – which was spotted by a reporter staring forlornly out of the front door on Thursday, before the Senator arrived back home. 

In an interview on Thursday night, Ted admitted he regretted going.  

‘My girls said school’s been cancelled, can we take a trip and go somewhere warm. And Heidi and I, as parents, we said OK, sure,’ he told Sean Hannity.   

On Thursday night, Cruz doubled down on the excuse, telling ABC 13 during an interview at his Houston home: ‘They said, ‘Look, lets take a trip. Lets go with some of our friends and lets get out of here and lets go somewhere warm.  And Heidi and I said … lets go.’ 

Snowflake, the Cruz's poodle, was left behind in their freezing home while they went to Mexico

Snowflake, the Cruz’s poodle, was left behind in their freezing home while they went to Mexico

‘You question what I was thinking, and … I was trying to take care of my family. 

‘I was trying to take care of my kids. It’s unfortunate, the fire storm that came from it. 

‘It was not my intention. In saying yes to my daughters to somehow diminish all the Texans that were going through real hardship.’  

Cruz was fiercely criticized for his jaunt, and swiftly returned on realizing the terrible PR move.

He landed back in Houston on Thursday afternoon and said he ‘regrets’ flying to Cancun in the middle of the state’s energy crisis for a vacation – but insisted he was ‘just trying to be a dad’.  

‘It was obviously a mistake and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it,’ he said, speaking on arrival at home in Houston. 

‘I was trying to be a dad.

‘And all of us have made decisions – when you’ve got two girls who have been cold for two days, and haven’t had heat or power, and they are saying: ‘Look, we don’t have school, why don’t we go, let’s get out of here.”

He added: ‘I think there are a lot of parents that would be like, ‘If I can do this, great.’ 

‘That’s what I wanted to do. As I said, really from the moment I sat on the plane, I began really second-guessing that decision.’ 

On Monday night, Cruz spoke on a radio show which airs from 5-8pm, telling the host: ‘Thankfully, my home, we didn’t lose power.’ 

The power went out at around 6pm on Tuesday, he told Hannity on Thursday. 

His office previously told DailyMail.com that the power went out on Monday night.   

Protesters waited for Cruz outside his home on Thursday afternoon as he arrived home, less than 24 hours after leaving

Protesters waited for Cruz outside his home on Thursday afternoon as he arrived home, less than 24 hours after leaving

Protesters at Houston airport held out signs as he landed on Thursday that read: ’24 dead’. 

Others gathered outside his home to show their anger at his jaunt. 

They yelled: ‘Resign!’ as he spoke to local media outside his home. 

He also claimed that the girls asked him ‘yesterday’ if they could go away, and he and Heidi ‘agreed’. 

Within hours they were all on the plane. 

Temperatures plummeted to as low as -2F in Texas this week and snow and ice has blanketed much of the state. It has been 85 F and sunny in Cancun all week by contrast. 

Cruz was slammed for both the trip and for seeming to blame it on his kids once people started criticizing him for it. 

Before he released his statement, sources told Fox and The New York Times that the trip was pre-planned. 

Cruz was also carrying a large carry-on which suggested he planned to stay for longer than just one night. 

He later admitted he intended to stay ‘throughout the weekend’.

Heidi Cruz’s texts said she planned on returning to Houston on Sunday evening, landing back in the Texan city at 6pm after a four night break at the luxury Mexican beach resort. 

Elmo Houston waiting in line at St. Elmo Brewery in Austin for free drinking water on Saturday after many people lost their water supply

Elmo Houston waiting in line at St. Elmo Brewery in Austin for free drinking water on Saturday after many people lost their water supply 

Volunteers stack cases of water during a water distribution event at the Fountain Life Center on Saturday in Houston

Volunteers stack cases of water during a water distribution event at the Fountain Life Center on Saturday in Houston 

Declaring a major disaster makes federal funding available to individuals across the state, including assistance for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans for losses on uninsured property

Declaring a major disaster makes federal funding available to individuals across the state, including assistance for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans for losses on uninsured property

It comes as President Joe Biden declared a major disaster in Texas on Saturday after at least 30 people died. 

The move makes federal funding available to individuals across the state, including assistance for temporary housing, home repairs and low-cost loans for losses on uninsured property.

The victims of the crisis including 11-year-old Cristian Pavon, who perished of hypothermia in his family’s mobile home a day after he was pictured enjoying the snow – the first he had ever seen in his life.

Among the other dead are a man who reportedly froze to death in his recliner chair with his ‘nearly dead’ wife by his side; three children who perished in a fire as they huddled in a fireplace for warmth; and a mother and daughter died who from carbon monoxide poisoning as they bundled in their car in a garage.  

Cristian’s mother found him unresponsive, huddled under a pile of blankets, on Tuesday – after his home in Conroe lost power at the weekend and temperatures plunged to single digits. His stepfather had checked on him in the night.

The boy, who had no pre-existing conditions, was declared dead that afternoon. Just hours earlier, he’d been excited to see snow for the first time after moving to the US from Honduras in 2019 to live with his mom.

Home video footage taken by family on Monday shows him playing in the snow. 

Other victims include 84-year-old Mary Gee, whose family said she froze to death in her home in Houston before a burglar robbed items from her apartment.  

Over in Abilene, a man was found frozen to death Wednesday in his recliner chair and his wife was  taken to hospital where she remains ‘in peril’ after suffering without power for several days. 

Another man died at a health care facility in the city when a lack of water pressure made medical treatment impossible. 

The three children who perished in a house fire in Sugar Land when they huddled in a fireplace to stay warm during power outages have now been named as Olivia, Edison and Colette Nguyen. 

The siblings and their grandmother Le Loan died in the early hours of Tuesday morning during the blackouts.  

Rakeb Shelemu, seven

Etenesh Mersha

Rakeb Shelemu, seven, and her mother, Etenesh Mersha, died from carbon monoxide poisoning during the power outage in south-west Houston on Friday 

Cristian Pavó, an 11-year-old boy who died in his unheated Texas home. The snow behind him was the first time he had seen snow in his life. He died the next day

Cristian

Cristian Pavó, an 11-year-old boy who died in his unheated Texas home. The snow behind him (left) was the first time he had seen snow in his life. He died the next day 

Colette, Edison, and Olivia Nguyen died on Friday alongside their grandmother after a fire at their house in Sugar Land on Friday. The children's father, Nathan, starts in an HBO show called House of Ho, which chronicles the lives of the members of a wealthy Vietnamese-American family living the American Dream in Houston

Colette, Edison, and Olivia Nguyen died on Friday alongside their grandmother after a fire at their house in Sugar Land on Friday. The children’s father, Nathan, starts in an HBO show called House of Ho, which chronicles the lives of the members of a wealthy Vietnamese-American family living the American Dream in Houston

Firefighters were called out around 2 am and tackled the blaze but the four victims were confirmed dead. The children’s mom Jackie Nguyen and a friend were also injured and taken to hospital. 

The children’s father, Nathan, starts in an HBO show called House of Ho, which chronicles the lives of the members of a wealthy Vietnamese-American family living the American Dream in Houston. 

In Houston, Etenesh Mersha and her 7-year-old daughter Rakeb Shelemu died from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning Monday after they huddled in their car in the garage for warmth amid a blackout in their home. 

Etenesh’s husband Ato Shalemu Bekele and their 8-year-old son Beimnet Shalemu were also rushed to hospital where the little boy was still in ICU two days later.

Wesley Crow, 57, collapsed and died in his old farmhouse just outside Santa Fe after he and his sister Laura were left for almost two days without power.  

‘He just collapsed, his eyes rolled up into his head and just stopped breathing,’ Crow told ABC13

Meanwhile, Carrol G Anderson died of hypothermia inside his car in 19F weather while driving to try and find an oxygen tank. 

It comes as about 78,000 people in the state are still without power according to PowerOutage.US. Officials believe some lingering power outages could drag on for days. 

Carrol G Anderson died of hypothermia inside his car in 19F weather while driving to try and find an oxygen tank

Mary Gee died of hypothermia

Carrol G Anderson (pictured on the left wih his wife, Gloria) died of hypothermia inside his car in 19F weather while driving to try and find an oxygen tank. Mary Gee (right) also died of hypothermia

A relative wrote on a Go Fund Me page for the Nguyen family, who lost three children and their grandmother: 'These angels were witty, funny, each with their owners funky and sassy attitudes, and each were extremely loved by me and the entire family'

A relative wrote on a Go Fund Me page for the Nguyen family, who lost three children and their grandmother: ‘These angels were witty, funny, each with their owners funky and sassy attitudes, and each were extremely loved by me and the entire family’

President Joe Biden speaks to member of the media after exiting Air Force One on Friday at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland

Wesley Crow, 57, died at home in Texas after going without power and heat for almost two days

President Joe Biden speaks to member of the media Friday after leaving Air Force One on Friday at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Also pictured is Wesley Crow, 57, (right) died at home in Texas after going without power and heat for almost two days

President Biden said Friday that he hopes to travel to Texas next week but doesn’t want his presence and the accompanying presidential entourage to distract from the recovery.

‘They’re working like the devil to take care of their folks,’ Biden said of Texas officials. He said he’d make a decision early next week about travel.

Biden, who offered himself during the campaign as the experienced and empathetic candidate the nation needed at this moment in time, is working on several fronts to address the situation – and to avoid repeating the mistakes of predecessors who got tripped up by inadequate or insensitive responses in times of disaster.

Just this week, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas showed how quickly one bad move during a crisis can become a public relations disaster for a politician.

Cruz came under attack for traveling to Mexico while his constituents suffered without power, heat and running water. His explanation – that his daughters pushed for the getaway because they were out of school – was particularly panned. Cruz later said the trip was a mistake.

Biden has tweeted about Texas and the other affected states, while the White House has issued numerous statements aimed at demonstrating that the federal government is in command of the situation. The president is getting regular updates from his staff and already declared states of emergency in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana – adding the disaster designation announced Saturday for Texas.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has shipped dozens of generators and supplies, including fuel, water, blankets and ready-to-eat meals, to the affected areas.

Biden has spoken to the governors of the seven states most affected by the winter weather. He tweeted a photo of himself on the phone with Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas. 

Huge queues form outside a Costco in Austin on Saturday following widespread power outages caused by a series of severe storms

Huge queues form outside a Costco in Austin on Saturday following widespread power outages caused by a series of severe storms 

The recent weather has the supply chain to stores causing many stores to run out of food supplies for customers. Pictured are shoppers at a Costco on Saturday

The recent weather has the supply chain to stores causing many stores to run out of food supplies for customers. Pictured are shoppers at a Costco on Saturday 

Oklahoma´s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, a staunch supporter of Trump’s, was quick to praise Biden for swift action on a disaster declaration.

After speaking with Biden by telephone earlier this week, Stitt specifically thanked the president for ‘taking the time to reach out this afternoon and offer the federal government´s help for Oklahomans. We had a very productive call and I look forward to working together to find solutions as we recover from this historic storm.’

Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, said Biden is ‘well-suited’ to deal with the disaster because of his decades of service in the U.S. Senate and as a former vice president and because of ‘his genuine concern for people.’

‘He’s got to show empathy right off the bat,’ Perry said in an interview. ‘It’s important for a president to go to a place that´s been battered, but be careful about the footprint. He doesn´t want to make things worse.’

Biden, should he decide to visit Texas next week, could also use the trip to press his point that climate change is real and must not go unaddressed, and that the state could do things like winterize its power plants to be better prepared for future storms, Perry said.

But he should take care to not do so in a scolding kind of way.

‘We know he cares about climate change, and this is a way to convince people,’ Perry said.

Texans have seen electric bills surge as high as $17,000 after two powerful storms knocked out power.   

Volunteers unload bales of water at the Astros Youth Academy in Houston on Saturday as millions of people were left without water

Volunteers unload bales of water at the Astros Youth Academy in Houston on Saturday as millions of people were left without water 

Much of Texas is still struggling with historic cold weather, power outages and a shortage of potable water after winter storm Uri swept across 26 states

Much of Texas is still struggling with historic cold weather, power outages and a shortage of potable water after winter storm Uri swept across 26 states

While most Texans are on a fixed rate plan on which they pay the same monthly amount throughout the duration of their contract, some are on a variable or indexed plan which sees rates vary based on the market.

One of these customers, Ty Williams, told WFAA-TV that his combined electric bill last month for his home, guest house, and office was $660.

As of this month, he owes more than $17,000. ‘How in the world can anyone pay that?’ Williams asked.

Meanwhile, temperatures as low as -2F have burst many of the state’s water pipes, leaving residents forced to scrape snow off the walls to boil to make it safe for cooking and drinking.  

Ty Williams was a subscriber with Griddy, the Houston-based wholesale electricity company that charges customers a monthly fee to connect members to the wholesale energy market.

He said: ‘I mean you go from a couple hundred dollars a month…there’s absolutely no way…it makes no sense.’ 

Unlike fixed-term pricing, Griddy charges customers based on fluctuations of the market, which could change minute to minute.

This week, Griddy took the unusual step of urging its customers to switch providers, knowing that the bills they would be charged would be exponentially higher than normal.   

Containers are filled with non-potable water at a water distribution site in Houston on Friday. The city's 2.3 million residents have been told by the mayor to boil water due to safety concerns

Containers are filled with non-potable water at a water distribution site in Houston on Friday. The city’s 2.3 million residents have been told by the mayor to boil water due to safety concerns

Water is loaded into the trunk of a car at a City of Houston water distribution site on Friday

Water is loaded into the trunk of a car at a City of Houston water distribution site on Friday

Shane Morning checks the pipes under his house for leaks while his neighbor (not pictured) turns on the home's water following an unprecedented winter storm in Houston on Friday

Shane Morning checks the pipes under his house for leaks while his neighbor (not pictured) turns on the home’s water following an unprecedented winter storm in Houston on Friday

Some 14 million Texans continue to experience water outages, forcing residents to scrape snow off walls and boil it for drinking water while hundreds of motorists wait in line outside a Houston stadium to get bottled water.

The disrupted water service left many longing for a hot shower just as the state’s power grid jerked back to life after five days of blackouts.

All the state’s power plants were functioning again, although more than 195,000 homes remained without electricity on Friday morning.

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 1,000 Texas public water systems and 177 of the state’s 254 counties had reported weather-related operational disruptions, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. 

With power back on, officials hope to replenish the state’s water supply. 

Experts said the dangerously low water levels posed a threat to residents who needed to boil water in order to do mundane tasks like brushing their teeth, cooking, or drinking. 

The situation has inflicted yet more misery throughout the state. 

Some residents returned to homes only to find that the ceilings had collapsed because of water pipes that burst as a result of the record low, sub-freezing temperatures that engulfed the region over the course of the past week. 

In Austin, hospital staffers were forced to use trash bags to vacate waste from the toilets while not being able to wash their hands or take a shower because of a lack of water.  

Tyler Riese, a plumber, reaches underneath a house in Houston to investigate a pipe, which burst after freezing

Tyler Riese, a plumber, reaches underneath a house in Houston to investigate a pipe, which burst after freezing

Contractors remove material from a ceiling in a recently-purchased home that sustained water damage due to busted pipes in Houston on Friday

Contractors remove material from a ceiling in a recently-purchased home that sustained water damage due to busted pipes in Houston on Friday

Jim Curtis helps a woman search for a way to shut off her water after she found a leak following an unprecedented winter storm in Houston

Jim Curtis helps a woman search for a way to shut off her water after she found a leak following an unprecedented winter storm in Houston

More than two dozen sick patients who had been hospitalized in the state capital had to be transferred to other facilities as temperatures in hallways and patient rooms plummeted and frigid conditions took hold due to a lack of heat, according to the Austin American-Statesman

‘Out of caution, yesterday we transported approximately 30 patients who were either vulnerable or could easily be cared for at another facility,’ David Huffstutler, the CEO of St. David’s HealthCare, said in an email on Thursday. 

‘We continue to work with the City of Austin in an effort to resolve the water outage, but they have been unsuccessful in resolving the water system issue affecting service and water pressure to our hospital.’ 

Record low temperatures expected in Texas tonight where 100K are still without power and 10 have died from hypothermia 

Some Texans are expected to face more record low temperatures overnight Friday into Saturday morning, before temperatures begin to rise. 

On Saturday morning, 35 cities including Memphis, Dallas and Baton Rouge, will still have record low temperatures. 

A warming trend is expected to relieve some of the pressure on the region on Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

‘One more night of below freezing temperatures at some areas, then a warm up is expected into the weekend,’ the weather service’s Houston office wrote on Twitter on Friday.

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center on Wednesday reported a loss of heat and water pressure. Officials there said they were taking steps to get water to the hospital. 

Huffstutler said water tank trucks have been deployed to three hospitals – St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, St. David’s Medical Center and Heart Hospital of Austin – to connect and pressurize their systems due to water outages and low pressure.

‘While the duration of this issue remains unknown at this time, all St. David’s HealthCare facilities are prepared to handle the situation and have a sufficient supply of water to help ensure that we can continue to provide our patients with exceptional care,’ he said. 

More than 1 million gallons of water was being trucked Friday to the Texas capital. 

But Austin’s water director, Greg Meszaros, implored residents to minimize the use of home faucets because ‘there’s still a lot of unknowns as we pressurize the system.’

According to Meszaros, 325 million gallons of water have been lost due to burst pipes – and that’s just in Austin alone. 

‘We know that there are tens of thousands of leaks,’ Meszaros told CNN

‘As the fire department indicated they have responded to thousands upon thousands of burst pipes.’  

In Dallas, David Lopez said the plumbing company he works for received more than 600 calls for service over the last week.

‘It’s pretty much first come, first served,’ said Lopez, as he and a colleague manhandled a new water heater out of their van on Friday. 

‘Everyone’s got emergencies.’

Houston residents probably will have to boil tap water in the fourth-largest American city until Sunday or Monday, said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Water service was restored Friday to two Houston Methodist community hospitals, but officials were still bringing in drinking water and some elective surgeries were canceled, spokeswoman Gale Smith said. 

The winter storm has been blamed for more than 30 deaths in Texas and 58 across the country.

Lang Le fills up a container of water at the Georgetown Community Center in Austin on Friday as the crisis continued

Lang Le fills up a container of water at the Georgetown Community Center in Austin on Friday as the crisis continued 

City of Austin Water Utility workers Joey Putman, front, and Salvador Tinajero repair a broken water main near 11th and Red River streets in Austin on Friday

City of Austin Water Utility workers Joey Putman, front, and Salvador Tinajero repair a broken water main near 11th and Red River streets in Austin on Friday

The image above shows water trickling from a fire hydrant as utility workers in the background repair a broken water main in Austin on Friday

The image above shows water trickling from a fire hydrant as utility workers in the background repair a broken water main in Austin on Friday

A warming trend is expected to relieve some of the pressure on the region on Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

‘One more night of below freezing temperatures at some areas, then a warm up is expected into the weekend,’ the weather service’s Houston office wrote on Twitter on Friday.

Bitter cold weather and snow have paralyzed Texas since Sunday, shutting down much of the state’s electricity grid and freezing pipes and waterways, leaving communities across the state either without water altogether or forced to boil it for safety.

Monday was the third coldest day since record keeping began, according to Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon, with a statewide average temperature of 16.7 degrees Fahrenheit, citing records dating back to 1899.

That same day, temperatures in the state capital Austin dropped below those in parts of Alaska.

Jennifer Jordan, 54, of Midlothian just south of Dallas, said she and her husband were without power even though the family’s online account with the provider indicated their issues had been ‘resolved.’

‘I have no power at my house – not one drop of power,’ the high school special-education teacher said in an interview. 

‘It’s really hard. You are really longing to get a hot shower, eat a hot meal.’ 

Empty shelves are seen at snack section in Fiesta supermarket after winter weather caused food and clean water shortage in Houston on Friday

Empty shelves are seen at snack section in Fiesta supermarket after winter weather caused food and clean water shortage in Houston on Friday

Houston residents probably will have to boil tap water in the fourth-largest US city until Sunday or Monday, said Mayor Sylvester Turner

Houston residents probably will have to boil tap water in the fourth-largest US city until Sunday or Monday, said Mayor Sylvester Turner

A shopper grabs one of the few remaining packages of bottled water in a Houston supermarket on Friday

A shopper grabs one of the few remaining packages of bottled water in a Houston supermarket on Friday

But even as services in many neighborhoods return, broken pipes and other damage continue to render some homes uninhabitable.

In Houston on Friday, plumbers worked on Friday to repair pipes that froze and ruptured in Drew Ainscough’s 1920s bungalow, damaging several rooms. 

Water service has been returned to his block, but remains turned off for their home as repairs continue.

‘Right now, we’re not really able to live in there,’ said the 33-year-old engineer, who has been staying with his in-laws for the past several days. 

‘Hopefully, by this weekend we’ll be able to have everything cleaned up enough.’

In parts of the state, frozen roads remained impassable. Ice-downed lines and other issues had utility workers scrambling to reconnect homes to power, while oil and gas producers look for ways to renew output.

Hospitals in some hard-hit areas ran out of water and transferred patients elsewhere. Millions of people were ordered to boil their drinking water after water-treatment plants lost power, which could allow harmful bacteria to proliferate.

In Houston, a mass distribution of bottled water opened at Delmar Stadium on Friday, the city’s Office of Emergency Management said.  

A worker waits to load cases of water into vehicles at a City of Houston water distribution site on Friday

A worker waits to load cases of water into vehicles at a City of Houston water distribution site on Friday

The drive-thru stadium location was setup to provide bottled water to individuals who need water while the city remains under a boil water notice or because they lack water at home due to frozen or broken pipes

The drive-thru stadium location was setup to provide bottled water to individuals who need water while the city remains under a boil water notice or because they lack water at home due to frozen or broken pipes

The image above shows cars lined up in the drive-thru location at a parking lot at a Houston stadium where water was being distributed

The image above shows cars lined up in the drive-thru location at a parking lot at a Houston stadium where water was being distributed

Around midday, the line of cars waiting to enter the stadium stretched for at least half a mile, one police officer told Reuters.

Speaking at the stadium distribution site, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city aimed to distribute more than 1 million bottles of water to its residents on Friday and that another mass distribution would take place on Saturday.

A boil-water order for the city might be lifted as soon as Monday, he said.

Lina Hidalgo, the top elected official in Harris County, which encompasses Houston, said she was pleased with progress, but warned residents to brace for more hardship.

‘The grid is still fragile,’ she said, noting cold weather would persist for a few days, which would ‘put pressure on these power plants that have just come back on.’

President Joe Biden said he would accelerate federal emergency assistance for Texas and had directed his administration to identify other resources to help the state.

Biden said he would meet with the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Friday and ask him to issue a major disaster declaration to speed up aid.

‘God willing, it will bring a lot of relief to a lot of Texans,’ Biden told reporters at the White House.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott confirmed that all power-generating plants were online as of Thursday afternoon. 

He urged lawmakers to pass legislation to ensure the grid was prepared for cold weather in the future.

‘What happened this week to our fellow Texans is absolutely unacceptable and can never be replicated again,’ Abbott told an afternoon news conference.

A pedestrian in Houston on Friday walks by a sign denouncing Senator Ted Cruz of Texas after he flew to Cancun while the state was in the grip of a major crisis

A pedestrian in Houston on Friday walks by a sign denouncing Senator Ted Cruz of Texas after he flew to Cancun while the state was in the grip of a major crisis

The digital billboard on the truck shows an image of Cruz wearing a sombrero hat while drinking a Corona beer

The digital billboard on the truck shows an image of Cruz wearing a sombrero hat while drinking a Corona beer

The governor lashed out at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), a cooperative responsible for 90 per cent of the state’s electricity, which he said had told officials before the storm that the grid was prepared.

ERCOT officials have defended their preparations and the decision to begin forced outages Monday as the grid reached a breaking point. 

Officials said during a press call on Friday that ERCOT has enough generation in its system to return to normal operations.

‘I really want to acknowledge this immense human suffering we saw throughout this event,’ ERCOT Chief Executive Bill Magness said at a news conference on Friday.

‘When people lose power, there are heartbreaking consequences.’

Two community hospitals that are part of the Houston Methodist system in Texas’ largest city had to get ‘creative’ when their water supply was cut off this week, said Public Relations Director Stefanie Asin. 

A shower trailer was brought in for frigid, exhausted staff, and laundry bins were deployed to collect rainwater to flush toilets.

As of Friday, water service had been restored at those hospitals, Asin said in an interview.

‘The water will be challenging,’ she said.

We’ve handled it so far, we’ll continue handling it. … But we’ll still need to take precautions.’ 

‘Stay in New York. Don’t those people need your help too?’ AOC’s critics accuse her of ‘pandering’ with visit to storm-hit Texas after she raised $2million for supplies

‘Stay in New York. Don’t those people need your help too?’ AOC’s critics accuse her of ‘pandering’ with visit to storm-hit Texas after she raised $2million for supplies

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been told to ‘stay in New York’ by critics over her plan to visit storm-hit Texas after she raised $2million to pay for emergency supplies. 

The New York congresswoman flew out to Houston on Friday to meet fellow Democratic congresswoman Sylvia Garcia after a whirlwind of fundraising over just 48 hours. 

But she did not receive a universal welcome, with Twitter user Karen Jean writing: ‘Pure pandering, You have no empathy for anyone but yourself. Stay in New York, don’t those people need your ”help” too?’ 

However, allies praised AOC and contrasted her behaviour to Texas Senator Ted Cruz‘s much criticized decision to fly out to Cancun on Wednesday with his wife, Heidi, and their two daughters, rather than stay at home to help his constituents.

‘Beth’ tweeted: ‘AOC doing more for Texans than @SenTedCruz! It seems she understands government of the people, by the people and FOR the people.’

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez flew out to Houston on Friday after raising $2million for relief in 48 hours. She is seen speaking to the media in the city on Saturday 

AOC was seen helping at the Houston Food Bank with with Texas representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Sylvia Garcia in Houston on Saturday

AOC was seen helping at the Houston Food Bank with with Texas representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Sylvia Garcia in Houston on Saturday

AOC said 'charity isn't a replacement for good governance' in a veiled swipe at how local Republicans have handled the crisis - but not everyone was pleased about her trip

AOC said ‘charity isn’t a replacement for good governance’ in a veiled swipe at how local Republicans have handled the crisis – but not everyone was pleased about her trip

AOC did not receive a universal welcome, with Twitter user Karen Jean writing: 'Pure pandering, You have no empathy for anyone but yourself. Stay in New York, don't those people need your ''help'' too?'

Another critic on Twitter

AOC did not receive a universal welcome, with Twitter user Karen Jean writing: ‘Pure pandering, You have no empathy for anyone but yourself. Stay in New York, don’t those people need your ”help” too?’ 

Cruz returned back to Texas on Thursday following anger that he was abandoning his home state at its time of crisis, as GOP allies and right-wing commentators leapt to his defense.

AOC announced her trip at around midday EST on Friday, tweeting: ‘We’ve now raised $2 MILLION in relief for Texans & are adding more orgs.

‘I’ll be flying to Texas today to visit with Houston rep Sylvia Garcia to distribute supplies and help amplify needs & solutions.’

She added in a second tweet: ”Charity isn’t a replacement for good governance, but we won’t turn away from helping people in need when things hit the fan.

‘People understand that now is the time for collective action and doing what we can w/ whatever we’ve got. Thank you y Pa’lante!’

Later, she announced that she was visiting the Houston food bank with her Democratic colleague and appealed for donations.

AOC’s trip was met with a mixed reaction, with some thanking her for helping out while others questioned whether her time would be better spent helping her needy constituents in New York.   

Twitter user Randy Phelps wrote: ‘I thought @AOC was one of 435 house members, not from TX, but with a district in NY. Are there really no cold and needy constituents there for you to serve, where today it is near freezing with snow?’ 

Pamela Cash tweeted: ‘We’ve got this. Things are almost back to normal. Thanks for the help, but don’t bother coming down here. Texas doesn’t need or want you here.’

Another critic wrote: ‘She should concern herself with the astronomical death toll of elderly people in her state due to that states failed policies in handling Covid.

‘What happened here pales in comparison to the amount of death in New York nursing homes.’

AOC was told by critics to 'stay out of Texas', while other people welcomed her support at a time of crisis

AOC was told by critics to 'stay out of Texas', while other people welcomed her support at a time of crisis

 AOC was told by critics to ‘stay out of Texas’, while other people welcomed her support at a time of crisis

Trey Florance was more blunt, writing: ‘Stay out of Texas. We don’t want you here.’

Meanwhile, Karen Jean tweeted: ‘Pure pandering. You have no empathy for anyone but yourself. Stay in New York. Don’t those people need your ”help” too.’

Texans have seen electric bills surge as high as $17,000 after two powerful storms knocked out power and caused a 300-fold surge in demand – as 14million people struggle to get clean water in a ‘health catastrophe’.

While most Texans are on a fixed rate plan on which they pay the same monthly amount throughout the duration of their contract, some are on a variable or indexed plan which sees rates vary based on the market.

One of these customers, Ty Williams, told WFAA-TV that his combined electric bill last month for his home, guest house, and office was $660.

As of this month, he owes more than $17,000. ‘How in the world can anyone pay that?’ Williams asked.

Meanwhile, temperatures as low as -2F have burst many of the state’s water pipes, leaving residents forced to scrape snow off the walls to boil to make it safe for cooking and drinking. 

AOC (left) with Texas representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Sylvia Garcia in Houston on Saturday

AOC (left) with Texas representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Sylvia Garcia in Houston on Saturday 



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