Extraordinary satellite images show how a massive snowstorm has blanketed more than 70% of the US, the widest coverage in at least 17 years.
By Tuesday ice and snow had coated around 73% of the country by Tuesday, with imagery from Thursday showing almost three quarters of America covered in white, according to the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC).
Only one other year in the NOHRSC database has had more than 70% snow coverage, which was in January 2011, when snow covered a broad area of the country, including the Southeast, according to Weather.com
At least 20 people have died as a result of cold weather incidents in Texas, Oregon and Mississippi, nearly three million residents in Texas still suffering black outs of power.
Texas power grid officials say they do not know when outages caused by the record-breaking winter storms to hit the state will end.
Officials at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said on Tuesday that they are trying to prevent a total blackout in the state by asking energy companies to cut power to customers.
“We needed to step in and make sure that we were not going to end up with Texas in a blackout, which could keep folks without power — not just some people without power but everyone in our region without power — for much, much longer than we believe this event is going to last, as long and as difficult as this event is right now,” said ERCOT CEO Bill Magness said.
West Virginia, Louisiana, Kentucky and Oregon are also badly affected by outages caused by the brutal cold spell, according to PowerOutage.us.
The roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine has also been disrupted by the weather with some sites being forced to close due to the weather.
Further storms are due to hit the east and south throughout the rest of the week.
The National Weather Service tweeted on Wednesday: “Snow and ice is forecast for a broad swath of the US through Friday night. Many of these areas have recently experienced significant impacts from wintry precipitation already this week.”