ABC News Live Update: Texas in crisis after winter weather

Plus, severe storms moving across the East Coast and more on the historic mission to Mars.
28:27 | 02/18/21

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Transcript for ABC News Live Update: Texas in crisis after winter weather
Good morning I'm Diana stayed up thanks for streaming with us in today's update a new winter storm is making its way up the East Coast as hundreds of thousands of people. Are still without power in hard hit Texas this is no longer just an hour. It's clear that it is a disaster. Frozen pipes are bursting inside homes and take a look at this image icicles hanging from the ceiling fans. If Dallas apartment building. Now a new storm is moving in warnings are stretching from Florida to Massachusetts lot of south racist or dangerous flooding. And possible tornadoes. In Jersey is tracking it all plus. Also ahead due to the pandemic life expectancy in the US has taken its biggest dive in decades the new report from the CDC is the White House faces backlash. For sending mixed messages about when everyone who wants a vaccine can actually get lunch and when we can expect life to return to normal. And after a seven month journey the groundbreaking mission to Mars is just hours from landing. We could finally know the answer to the age old question. Is there life on Mars. We begin with the crisis in Texas more than 600000 people are still without power in freezing temperatures. But did this in Houston check out the neighborhood completely. In the dark. Now some seven million people are under orders to boil their water as treatment plants are also without power. Marcus mores in Dallas with the latest. This morning he humanitarian crisis in Texas is accelerating millions still without power or water what is going on right now is completely unacceptable. The city of Houston the so called energy capital of the world brought to its knees. Hundreds lining up for much needed supplies as officials here tell residents with power to boil water. A we had been without power for sixty hours now. And without water for at about 24 Stanley you know we've been in the directs and sending neat. Frozen water pipes bursting destroying homes. Some causing ceilings to collapse. We are sitting here under fire in San Antonio Kristen had X is trying to keep her eleven month old baby and her family's life source is does lantern. Turning to glimpse a mortar. So we can make them warm bottles for my daughter. We only have three light sources we have our propane fireplace. One battery powered light that we plugged in before the electricity went out. An otherwise it's candles Julie Crawford has been boiling sulfur profoundly to use as their primary water source. We're running dangerously low on water so now what we've been doing all day is actually coming outside getting snow. Put you at archives. And heating it on our propane grill. Hospitals around the state pushed to their brink relying on generators and water trucks in Austin a facility with 300 patients reporting is losing heat. Even transporting patients becoming an obstacle. It is very district old dry roads. As a starter and yeah yeah ice around the world it is rarity a cool. Just on people out. Officials say this week there have been more customers in Texas without power that there were during hurricane Harvey. They say high demand and overloaded utilities led to the outages. Texas is the only state of the entire countries on its own electrical grid. A nonprofit company called the electric reliability council of Texas or bare cot manages about 90% of the State's power. Company now under fire for not being better prepared. We are working. 24 hours today ever since Sunday night to get power restored Texan but that's not enough obviously we've got to keep moving down as fast as we can because our. Only priority right now is getting. Power to the folks in Texas this morning governor rabbit calling for an investigation into the company and what went wrong I'm not suggesting in any way that. There's been any criminal like tutoring thing like that but. It is something that needs to be looked at. And Marcus Moore joins me now for some more detail on this and markets good morning what's the latest. On the efforts to restore power and means thousands of people without heat and hot water right now. Debra Diane the efforts continue they have made significant progress overnight to restore power to the homes and businesses. In this area but there are still a lot of people left in the dark and we're also still seeing the effects of this. The storm's grip hall all the community here and across the reason wouldn't wanna say the ice that formed on the side of the building Diane to consider running down the walls also covering the landscaping down below. Both frozen pipes that global bursting under the pressure pending you can see the firefighters and maybe hear the alarms. A generator kicked daughter this high rise apartment building overnight during a power outage. Sent smoke the generators and smoke. Pouring into the apartment building and so fire crews had to evacuate nobody was hurt. But he gives you a sense of how this catastrophe is unfolding in so many ways across the region Diane. Dan Marcus says some people were treating overnight some have no heat no water and the roads are so bad so I see that they have. No way out so what do people really need there what he's hearing from people you've been talking to. Won't have a backhand when people need right now it is power reliable. Electricity. Call me you know we met a lot of people. Men and women and lanes. Whom some of them have been without power. Since Sunday morning can you can if you can imagine that since Sunday morning they've had absolutely no electricity. And the temperatures since that time have been in the teens and in the single digits. And saw the people we have met. Com I have not heard them talking about politics I've not heard them pointing the finger about let you know who's to blame. They want their lights back on May also want clean water to drink. And so when you ask what people want or what they need it is those essentials that people need at this point and you have seen Diane the pictures yourself. In the images from Houston. Where people have lined up outside grocery stores trying to get just basic supplies and food. And how those supplies have become I have becomes scarce we know that officials. Have been working to get people help clean water. Those who do have water service Diane have been told to boil their water and those who don't. Have water service are having to find bottled water somewhere wherever they can solve. This has certainly become a very complex and compound it situation that people are enduring. And they just want relief soon. Understandable Marcus Moore and Dallas thank you. And the mayor of Galveston Texas talked to Good Morning America about the conditions his town is facing saying this storm is more difficult to deal with senator. Hurricane but let's talk about that water situation first we saw was burst pipes. Yes we had burst all right so through the island here to clear our complete water source. Who bringing quarterback on the island am should be restoring more today how about power. How are we can't Ballard and who still have a lot of people and our 90% of our entire population. Was cut off blue book. And we know that hospitals have been struggling all over Texas what's the situation it would hospitals in Galveston right now. Our hospital is up and running we ran dangerously low low low water but now we're back we've got a tilt their tanks it. We're doing fine it to us so what are your greatest needs right now would end and who think changing for help. Well read this need right now is you need to get our power. We need immediate term moral doll lease. I should person bringing the system to working with the citizens on the and we have a sued. And water concerned bureau were bringing watery and today these human suffering though that is occurring through this is bigger neighbor sir. You guys get hit by hurricanes all the time if he ever seen anything like this. We have were we have a history of recovery but this is worse than her day in her K you can go to the main lending get what it from lists in this particular situation a man. We're usually testers still proud of and they concerned it is similar to hear how much is the Texas is unique electrical grid to blame here. You know that's so I don't know I'm reading concerns so we have a system and policies. They'll promote the concerns and fears kids say this recent letter to the governor from Galveston. We re question investigation. Quickly. To determine what's going on here it shall. Hopes he hitting everything you need from the federal government right now. We are in the state government but as you can tell. As you know the entire state scenes S substance or paralysis this. And a we're getting bit surprised that not as quickly as we need them. Our thanks to Georgian mayor Craig brown. For that interview and the East Coast is also bracing for more severe weather ten states and the District of Columbia. Are under states of emergency declarations right now dangerous flash flooding and tornadoes are expected in the southeast. While the northeast is on alert for more snow and ice Victor komando is in Greensboro, North Carolina where the governor has declared. The state of emergency Victor good morning. Diane really a quick break in this freezing rain but it has been coming down for hours all morning long and there is a lot more. All the way we're already hearing reports of power outages and that's where these guys come in. Overnight this parking lot was transformed into a sea of these bucket trucks they've come in for as far away as Florida and Indiana Duke Energy is warning that this storm. It could cause up to a million power outages and I could last. For several days north Carolina's governor declared a state of emergency with the chief concern being Ike's UC some icicle sort of form here on the sign. Just a quarter of an inch in this part North Carolina the lead to some real problems downed trees downed power lines we could be twice that amount. Half an inch. So right now officials are warning people urging them to stay inside stay off the roads keep him clear for emergency responders. And these crews the winter weather warning for this area is in effect until 7 AM tomorrow a very long day ahead. Diane. Sure is great advice there Victor candor Greensboro, North Carolina thanks Victor. And that winter storm is moving up the East Coast right now all federal offices are close in Washington DC today in our rob Marciano. Is there rob good morning how is that they're so far. Hey good morning Diane for all the cold and snow that has made it really debilitating. Across the southern plains this may be to call it part of this event. Which is sleet and freezing rain this is not snow that I am I'm standing on here on the sidewalks of DC this is sleet and freezing rain is very slick to walk on get a Mac now slick it is. To drive out which makes facilities like this one. Even more important today this is one of four salt depots across the district. 7500 times here total 42000. Times across district to try to keep these roads from freezing up and we have seen trucks like this. Lining up all morning wanna get a load it up and to go out and to treat these trees they have been pre treated class double days in brine to streets in anticipation of this event. They just hope that it doesn't pile up but they can treat the streets. I would say hopefully we'll get a handle on today. But those most concerned the biggest concern is going to be what this frozen precept. Does to the tree limbs and potentially power lines here in the district. Across Virginia and the Carolinas where we expect to see a quarter to a half an inch of ice builds up. Over the next 24 hours now we'll certainly I'd take sound some power lines with the stormont. There is this operation not Diana's and at a tavern a couple times already this winter. Vote last stop here in the south officially before this storm spreads its wings across the northeast. Set up. Right rob Marciano for us in Washington DC thanks rob. And the snow is already coming down here in New York City chief meteorologist ginger -- across the river in Hoboken and Jersey with more on where this storm is heading neck ginger. Good morning what can we expect. Good morning that I am obviously liberty seeing two to four inches with some heavier bands and snowing now you can barely make out the beautiful skyline of New York City. And you know we are in a place a lot of the Tri-State that closed a foot and a half above average up piles of old IC smell like this and now they're gonna get covered and slammed again. But there is a lawless same system that made its way through the south the mid south and you can see the pictures. From interstate forty Little Rock, Arkansas had nearly a foot of snow and yesterday. You gotta realize this is a place that is just over three inches annually on average so they're closing in on what could be their snowy S. This season on record thanks to all of this and else wanted to share with you this image out of Austin, Texas to get those icicles on what's obviously being moved by wind. Not collar because that's been such a problem in many of these places now they are going to still see issues today sell from. Austin San Antonio even up to Tyler Texas on the southern and you've still got that ice and snow making its way through Texas and then things get better but we'll get to that. Those advisories and warnings stretch all the way up into the East Coast down. And says kind of this elongated system. Really this morning we've already seen the severe storms and that's why you have that tornado watch and a tornado threat on the map. Which we will get to that icing that rob was talking about will continue and be spotty today New York City gets the snell and then a little bit of a break some drying overnight until tomorrow morning look at 7 AM. From New Jersey. All the way through Connecticut you're ending up with more snow sizzle wander -- event I think a lot of places could end up with more than a half foot but it's gonna take time. So that's good for plows because not only are they prions by such as season. But they also will have time to get it out but look at along the south BC Dothan Alabama. Parts of southern South Carolina all the way back to Tallahassee Florida that's where we're looking for that dangerous severe storms could just enough heat. And just enough spin the atmosphere you could even see a tornado. Lots to talk about here Diane. There sure as in ginger the south has taken such a hard hit here and as you explain these are areas that are used to dealing with heavy snowfall when we expect. The roads to clear there and and for them to get have been a break. Yet it faking his wait one more day tend not the on the roads that day is today especially get a San Antonio up through Austin and an almost a Tyler there because of the frozen precipitation. Things start to improve temperatures. Get back into the fifties even. As we end the week so that big dip in the jet stream that has been locked in by this too high pressure systems sandwiched there it's gonna start to release. That jet stream pulls north and you even get to see sixty. In Houston by the end of the weekend Diane. New Hampshire sixties sounds pretty gad particularly those who brought up power and now chief meteorologist ginger zee in Hoboken, New Jersey thank you. And disturbing new data from the CDC shows Coleman nineteen has led to a sharp drop in life expectancy something this country hasn't seen in decades. We'll tell me what community suffered the most. And the latest on when things could start to get back to normal. Welcome back the CDC says the corona virus pandemic has taken a year off American's life expectancy. A baby born today is expected to live an average of 77 point eight years that's the lowest level since 2006. And the numbers are based on data from January to June of 2020s that doesn't include the recent winter surgeon -- cases meaning we could see that number dropped. Even lower chief White House correspondent Cynthia Vega has the latest. Overnight this CDC revealing that has the corona virus spread during the first half of 20/20 life expectancy dropped a full year with minority communities suffering the most Latinos losing nearly two years black Americans losing almost three. The staggering news comes as Americans are desperate to return to normal life. But when exactly will that happen the president's prediction by a easy next Christmas I think will be in a very different circumstance god willing. Then we are today here's the press secretary's we don't know at this point what that time is going to look like. And doctor Frye what she's. Culturally as you alluded to all the time we start injuring 21 and soon we really will have a degree of normality that would approximate the kind of normality that we've been used to. 200 million additional vaccine doses secured by the White House will not be delivered until summer doctor out she's saying a substantial amount of doses from Johnson & Johnson will arrive later than expected. As for when everyone who wants vaccine will get one. President Biden is revising an earlier prediction it's no longer going to be screen and windy is it every American who wants it. Going to be able to get a vaccine. By the end of July and this year but this morning a glimmer of hope. As some studies show encouraging signs that the vaccine could prevent transmission of this deadly virus. When your turn to get vaccinated comes up get vaccinated it's not only good for you and your family in your community. It will have a very important impact. On the dynamics of the outbreak in our country. The by the administration has made it clear all along that the number one priority here for the president is coping relief but today the Democrats working. Which provide the White House are going to introduce their version of immigration reform is to be a comprehensive immigration reform package so let me tell you. What it would look like that would be an easier path to citizenship for the eleven million undocumented people. In this country folks like dreamers farmworkers and other immigrants who are considered to be among the most vulnerable from places like war zones. Would essentially get on to the fun of front of the line and they would get green cards immediately if they could craft passed. Background checks and other requirements. This would only apply to people who have been in this country since before January 1 of this year so anyone who came illegally after that would not qualified but Diane that big reality check this morning. Is whether or not they can actually pass this the Democrats don't appear to have enough Republican support to pass this bill. As it stands right now. So the question is will they go at it alone or with just Democrats and no Republican support that could end up being a very watered down version of this bill is still a very long way to go on this one. I am fantasy of native forests of the White House thank you. And conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh died of lung cancer yesterday at the age of seventy. Limbaugh was both polarizing and influential paving the way for the kind of politics that eventually got Donald Trump elected. Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl has a closer look at his life and legacy. From his perch at a radio station in Sacramento in the 1980s. Rush Limbaugh invented modern right wing talk radio members of congress are our employees it's not your way around spawning an army of bombastic imitators they are many of whom now dominate cable television or. The right wing media universe that help. Basically mainstream status was an influential in changing the nature of how politics is expressed he boasted of fighting liberals with half his brain tied behind his back. And built a massive audience of twenty million at the peak of his popularity. This is not to retail politics is it's always been derided feminists is Femi Nazis. And made disparaging comments about aids patients in the LG BTQ community. His brief careers and ESPN analyst came to an abrupt end. When he said NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated because he's black the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well and when Barack Obama became a national political figure Limbaugh was among those promoting the racist myth that Obama had not proved he's an American citizen. During the Tories sixteen presidential campaign Limbaugh did not support trump. Until almost all of the other Republican candidates were defeated and even then he said trumps not a true conservative. At some point Twomey of the conservative on the ballot. What do you Raj you wouldn't didn't trumps not until certain camera earlier. Honored what Limbaugh became a fervent trump supporter. And early last year the day after Limbaugh told his listeners he had advanced lung cancer. Trump gave him the presidential medal of freedom dramatically awarding it during his State of the Union Address Rush Limbaugh thank you. It's. Good he. And I. And news of Rush Limbaugh's death divided the political world almost as much as his radio show did but Republicans of all stripes paid tribute. Former president George W. Bush said quote. Well he was brash and at times controversial and always opinionated he spoke his mind as a voice of millions of Americans. And Sean Hannity said last night quote there is no talk radio as we know it without Rush Limbaugh it just doesn't exist. And in Hannity added. That he would also argue that without Limbaugh quote in many ways there is no Fox News. And on that even many of Limbaugh's harshest critics would certainly agree Diane. John think Ron Washington Forrest thanks John. So is there life on Mars is a question humanity has been asking for centuries today we could finally get some answers. We'll take you inside NASA's historic mission to Mars. When we come back. Welcome back NASA is just hours away from hopefully landing its most advanced robot ever sent into space on the surface of Mars. The perseverance rover is on a mission to find signs of life on the red planet but half of previous Mars landings. Have ended in disaster. GO but he does has more on what we can expects today. Are we alone who. We only want. I think we're just fundamentally serious and an honor please and depositors. We live it big even about the possibility of life on other planets 400 some years now and this is our first opportunity. To perhaps find it. She. I that is the incredible mission on March 20/20 to determine if life exists or more has ever existed on another plant have. Trio of billion years ago when white was just getting it will hold him. Here Bloomberg. Morris was wet and warm and very similar environment that I wish her it's. So there's a possibility. That. Early Muller's was habitable for life and that life could have. Also started the only good. To answer that question NASA scientists have created. The most advanced robot ever sent to displace. Perseverance hasn't been the most complex and sophisticated robotics system that percent outside of her. Brill and didn't have his view. The only good press and terrorism abruptly decided to car it's about ten people on. She is the biggest rover the heaviest rover. She has gotten. We've firsts. From the bottom to the top. It's part of a mission that has been more than eight years in the making her with a price tag of two point seven billion dollars. Its destination and ancient dried up Blake called jazz are only three and a half. Billion years so yeah. Based on everything we know about that in part. It was habitable life should have been there. So I think we are very optimistic I'm very optimistic that we will find signs cities like they're if they ever existed on Mars. There's no reason why they shouldn't be there. Don't expect them to find creatures like we've seen in movies like from Mars attacks. Using cruise. What they hope for is to find something much simpler and ancient evidence of tiny micro size slice I'm Barbara Barbara Barbara but none of this will happen until the rover safely on the planet earth. The space is hard. When I started this work over 65%. Of all low emissions did. Went to bars and field temple had ended in disaster officials it is so difficult that only one country has been successful. Elated or wherever so far. And that's United States. Looking forward this NASA mission is the first of three part of a plan called the Mars sample return. That will ultimately retrieved rock samples perseverance gathered from just a rogue trader. And bring them back to earth and hopeful yet definitive proof of extraterrestrial. Life. We did find evidence of life on Mars. Maybe we're gonna realize that we are a bigger part of the life story is not just an old story this universe stories. I hope that happens obvious and exciting. And didn't see. There's a lot of things that have to have been an order of removal dissolved. Whether and how you can do it absolutely yes and cities he absolutely not who have been. I don't know I also. One sweeps through the new questions are rocks not our we'll look. But now what or who is out. It now when will we actually see images once this land will hear the full scale model perseverance you see that mess right there there are five cameras on that alone. The whole thing has about 23. Cameras seven of those cameras are going to be dedicated just to those seven minutes of terror so we're gonna start seeing that role in. Later tonight and you're gonna see it right here on ABC news line Diane. So many of us are peaking out over energy this is awesome thank you and we will get full coverage the mission to Mars today at 330 and then at 10 PM eastern right here. On ABC news live and a few more things to know before you go beyonce and her daughter Blue Ivy have teamed up for a major fashion moment. The nine year old and her mom model who looks from beyonce is fashion line item part together. One fan says in the collections of about thirty seconds she's giving blue I read the whole credit. The new collection drops mind. And scientists in Siberia have discovered a mass. DNA and some of the oldest skeletal remains ever uncovered. Researchers say some of the discovery dates back more than a million years one of the skeletal fragments is believed to be from the first commandments. Ever to colonize North America. And Jim Mack and they'll also known as mattress Mac continues to spread the love in Texas turning his furniture stores. It's a temporary shelters for locals about power. The talked about the initiative this morning I'm Jim and let's us. Routine at home the routine. Lights and water and being warmed has been totally destructive they don't know when they're giving back to your house. They're calling almost every out of the neighborhoods and your department gum place. The lights I Johns sterilized and totally disrupted by this terrible power outage in the water shortage so. It's a situation we threatening to leave them by. Get him to give him repeat Matt just make you they have lots of warm billion. Lots of camaraderie here please 300 people here hundreds you're about 200. No it's not unveiled in the same thing during hurricane Harvey. People can stop into his stores for things like free food and blankets and a masked and socially distanced. And that does it for this ABC news live update I'm Diana CNN thanks for joining us and I remember ABC news live is here for you all day. With the latest news context and analysis we'll see you right back here at 11 AM eastern. The new update Stacy.

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