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Friday September 24th, 2021 5:03PM

The Latest: Deep freeze harming drinking water systems

By The Associated Press
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The Latest on winter weather across the U.S. (all times local):

Days of freezing temperatures are taking their toll on some drinking water systems. The utility in Memphis, Tennessee, is asking customers to use less water through Friday.

Memphis, Light, Gas & Water says several water mains have burst and pressure has dropped across the distribution system. The utility also said in a news release late Tuesday that it's seeing reduced reservoir levels at pumping stations.

It says customers can help by asking customers to refrain from leaving the water running while rinsing dishes and hold off on washing clothes until Friday. Tennessee has seen temperatures in the single digits for about three straight days.

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At least 20 people have died as a result of the winter weather that has most of the United States in its grip.

One of the victims is Mary Guillory, a 74-year-old woman found dead outside her neighbor’s home in Lafayette, Louisiana early Tuesday.

Lafayette Police Lt. Wayne Griffin says her body was found more than six hours after she wandered away from her own home as temperatures hovered in the teens. Authorities said it appeared she died from exposure.

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The National Weather Service says more than 100 million people live in areas covered by some type of winter weather warning, watch or advisory as yet another winter storm hits Texas and parts of the Southern Plains. Winter storm watches were in effect from there to Boston.

About 3 million homes and businesses in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi remained without power early Wednesday, and forecasters said freezing rain and more snow is possible.

Weather service lead forecaster Bob Oravec told The Associated Press that “there’s really no letup to some of the misery people are feeling." But he offers some hope on the horizon: He says temperatures in Texas, at least, are expected to rise well above freezing by the weekend.

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia says the oil producing nation stands ready to extend any support needed to Texans and other Americans struggling without electricity in winter weather.

The country's energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, opened his speech at Wednesday's International Energy Forum with the gesture. He spoke of "friendship and partnership and a sense of family" with oil and gas-producing states in the U.S.

OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo also mentioned the Texas blackouts, lamenting the storm's “disruptive impact on our oil industry." He said the extreme weather shows “we cannot take energy security for granted, even in a country like the United States.”

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WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris has addressed the people suffering through the loss of heat and electricity in Texas and other states.

Harris said at the top of a live interview Wednesday on NBC’s “Today" show that she knows people without electricity can't see her and the president right now.

But she said “the president and I are thinking of them and really hope that we can do everything that is possible through the signing of the emergency orders to get federal relief to support them."

More than three million people were still without power Wednesday morning in Texas and seven other states, according to the poweroutage.us website, which tracks utility outages nationwide.

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