Nearly a year after a deadly winter storm left Texans freezing and in the dark, state officials say they know the final death toll.
The Texas Department of State Health Services adjusted the number of people who died from last February’s storm to 246 people — up from July’s tally of 210. The victims, who spanned 77 counties in Texas, ranged in age from less than one year old to 102.
Last February’s massive winter storm spread ice, snow, and freezing temperatures throughout Texas. The state’s weak utility grid couldn’t stand up to the record-breaking cold and left millions without power for days.
Most of the storm’s victims died from hypothermia, according to the state’s report.
Dozens of people also died from accidents on roads, falls, and fires. The prolonged loss of power also led to some victims losing access to necessary medical equipment, such as oxygen tanks or dialysis machines. At least 19 people died from carbon monoxide poisoning as they tried to heat their homes or cars as the unrelenting cold continued.
The state’s new report counts victims of the storm as those who were found after the storm passed and people who were injured during the storm, but died at a later date.
Since the deadly blackout, regulators in Texas have implemented changes forcing power companies to ramp up weatherization requirements at their facilities. So far, officials there are feeling confident that the “lights will stay on,” according to Texas Public Radio.
The state’s Public Utility Commission says it is enforcing those new regulations. Power plants had until December to file winter preparedness reports, though 13 of them did not do so.