Emergency workers in Odessa, Texas were dishing out bottled water on Tuesday as a burst pipeline emptied the city’s taps – a catastrophic situation that came amid 102 degree temperatures in a powerful heatwave.
Schools, businesses and even hospitals in the city closed, with Medical Center Hospital cancelling all planned surgeries and shuttering for the day for non-emergencies.
The hospital said it was installing temporary ‘port-a-potties’ in its wards because none of the toilets would work until the city’s water system is back online, according to MyHighPlains.com.
Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, said the state was providing support to Odessa, including shipments of bottled water.
The massive heatwave and accompanying storms also knocked out power across swathes of Ohio on Tuesday night thanks to the grid being overloaded and storm damage, leaving at least 230,000 without power. Columbus, the state capital, had extensive outages.
Andrew Ginther, the mayor, tweeted that American Electric Power was working to restore the power to 169,000 homes in the Columbus area.
‘AEP is dealing with the damage from last night’s storms plus high demand because of excessive heat,’ he said.
‘They are working to restore power to everyone. I know it’s tough — I’m without power at my house as well.’
AEP tweeted: ‘AEP Ohio customers in the Columbus area who are currently without power should prepare for the outage to potentially continue into Thursday.
‘We know it’s hot and understand how uncomfortable and inconvenient this is for our customers, especially in this extreme heat.’
The intense heat across much of the central United States is being created by a ‘heat dome’ – an area of high pressure creating a lid which traps any escaping radiation and sends it back to the ground, while the sun’s rays continue to penetrate through.
Crews are seen at work in Odessa, Texas on Tuesday, trying to repair the burst water pipe that has left many in the city of 113,000 without water, as temperatures reached 102 degrees
The burst water pipe came at a terrible moment, with a ‘heat dome’ above much of the central United States
Volunteers are seen handing out emergency cases of water to Odessa’s residents on Tuesday
Odessa Fire Rescue cadet Benjamin Magallanez, right, loads a cart with a box of emergency drinking water for an Odessa resident on his bicycle as city officials distribute emergency water supplies to those in need on Tuesday
Officials are working to try and provide bottled water to all of those in the Texan city without water
A man can be seen handing out a crate of bottled water to an Odessa resident on Tuesday, at one of several distribution centers across the city
On Monday night into Tuesday, 125 million people – a third of the population – were under heat alerts across much of the central and eastern states.
Cities such as Tulsa, Memphis, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Raleigh and Charlotte were all under the heat warnings.
Chicago residents on Monday fled to their basements and nearby shelters when a surprise tornado ripped through the city as it experienced 100F weather for the first time in a decade.
About 44,000 people were left without power after a tornado hit during Monday’s afternoon rush hour, bringing 80 mph winds and powerful storms throughout the area that knocked the lights out for residents.
The National Weather Service forecast that Wednesday will see ‘dangerously hot and humid conditions’ in parts of Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, as the heat dome moved north.
In some of the hottest areas, thunderstorm warnings on Tuesday night replaced heat warnings. The NWS warned those living in the central Plains and Upper Midwest to ready themselves for large hail and damaging gusts of wind.
Odessa, which sits 350 miles west of Dallas, was entirely crippled after the city’s water supply cut off.
‘PUBLIC NOTICE !!!’ the city’s fire and rescue wrote on Facebook on Tuesday morning.
Javier Joven, the mayor of Odessa, spoke to local media amid the ongoing water shut down
The burst pipeline was creating havoc in Odessa on Tuesday, as the temperatures soared
Ector County resident Jose Hernandez fills up jugs of water from a fire hydrant that was opened to reduce pressure on the system on Tuesday
The teams can be seen at work on Tuesday, trying to repair the burst pipe. Those who did have tap water were being told to boil it
Crews are seen overhead in Odessa working to stem the leak
City of Odessa Water Distribution employee Michael Pena, right, puts on a pair of waders as he prepares to assist in the repair of a ruptured water main
A sign is displayed in the window of the Permian Basin Hamburger Company notifying customers that the restaurant is closed due to a water shortage
‘The City of Odessa currently has no water that also includes all Fire Stations.
‘Please Note: No bottle water is being distributed out of the fire stations. Stay tuned for future updates of distribution of bottle water locations.’
Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, said the state was providing support to Odessa.
Those in the city of 113,000 who did have water in their homes were told to boil it, to kill any bacteria.
Tom Kerr, Odessa’s director of public works and utilities, said at 4pm local time that the burst pipeline was being repaired, but he did not give a timeline for the water being back on.
The central cities were sweltering on Monday and into Tuesday, with record highs on Monday in Columbia, South Carolina, of 103F – breaking their old June 13 record of 102, set in 1958.
Temperatures will be above 100 degrees in Odessa and other parts of Texas and Arizona on Wednesday by midday, with Georgia and the Carolinas also seeing scorching temperatures
More than 100 million Americans are under heat warnings. Pictured: Zach Ward of South Bend, Indiana, wipes sweat off his face using his shirt while building a fence. He said he is drinking a gallon of water to stay hydrated
In Chicago, parents and kids are cooling off the Crown Fountain children’s park in Michigan Avenue, pictured
Emese Kovacs Taylor is pictured playing with her 5-year-old daughter, Aliz, in the park on Tuesday
The heat advisory in Chicago is expected to last until Wednesday night as the city temperatures hit 100F
The mercury in North Platte, Nebraska, hit 108F, breaking the record set in 1952; St Louis’s record of 98 degrees from the same year was also broken on Monday, with temperatures reaching 100 degrees.
Charlotte, North Carolina, hit 98 degrees and Nashville, Tennessee, was at 97F – tying the previous record set in 2016.
‘To have an excessive heat warning this early in the year is kind of unusual,’ Mike Johnson, a meteorologist with the Memphis NWS, told CNN.
‘We issue excessive heat warnings maybe once or twice a year.
‘It’s pretty rare because it requires a heat index of 110 degrees.’