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Winter storm aftermath: Abbott signs waiver allowing alcohol delivery trucks to carry groceries

Latest headlines and resources as Texans clean up after historic winter storm.

HOUSTON — The winter weather is gone, but now Texans are tasked with cleaning up the mess left behind by the storm we saw this week. 

The power is back on, but boil water advisories remain in effect for millions of people across Texas. Bottled water and food are in short supply, and residents are dealing with the mess left behind by broken water pipes.

Winter Storm Resources

Winter Storm Relief

Saturday updates

8:25 p.m. — Alcoholic beverage companies are now allowed to use their trucks to deliver non-alcoholic grocery supplies, including bottled water and other necessities, to grocery stores in Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a temporary waiver on the regulation Saturday, so these delivery vehicles can help expedite the restocking of products in grocery stores across the state.

7:17 p.m. — A spur-of-the-moment relief effort for Texans impacted by the winter storm has raised more than $4 million since it was launched Thursday, according to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 


5:09 p.m. — More than $350,000 has been raised on GoFundMe in honor of three Sugar Land children whose lives were claimed in a devastating house fire during an unprecedented Texas winter storm. Learn more about the campaigns honoring siblings Colette, Edison and Olivia.  

3:53 p.m. — Katy ISD will remain closed Monday, Feb. 22, as more than 40 campus remain under water advisories, according to school officials. The district plans to give an update on Monday.

Teachers and staff, will report to their campuses and worksites for planning purposes, as well as to check in with students to provide updates and/or assist students who are able to log on to the District’s learning platform to catch up on assignments. However, the district will not be taking student attendance for Monday.

3:42 p.m. —  Environmental Protection Agency has issued waivers to increase access to gasoline and diesel fuel in certain Texas communities impacted by winter weather. These waivers temporarily allow for the use of an additional or alternate type of fuel for Texas Low Emissions Diesel and oxygenated gasoline fuels. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality submitted a request for these waivers yesterday, according to the governor's office.

3:14 p.m.  Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's Office will be hosting a drive-thru food and water distribution event Sunday from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. or until supplies run out. Location: 5900 Canal St. Houston, TX 77011.

12 p.m. — There will be a food distribution site set up at NRG  SUNDAY from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. It's in the blue lot.  You can also visit the Houston Food Bank and enter your zip code to find other pantries near you.

11 a.m. — The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) launched an investigation into the power outage to millions of Texas homes.  Watch their open meeting.  The PUC also waived deadlines on the Provider of Last Resort program in which retail electric providers volunteer to accept the customers of other providers leaving the market.  These “volunteer” providers are required to charge a competitive rate, rather than the higher so-called provider of last resort rate.” The changes include:

  • Extending the registration deadline for REPs willing to serve as a volunteer providers in order to expand the pool of available providers.
  • Delaying customer transitions to volunteer providers until Wednesday, February 24, 2021 to allow the new POLR REPs time to register and prepare for the influx of new customers. 

10:30 a.m. — KHOU 11's Jeremy Rogalski found plumbing supplies hard to come by.

8 a.m. — President Biden approves a major disaster declaration for Texas, paving the way for those affected by the storm to apply for grants and low-interest loans.

6 a.m. — Hot meal giveaway at James Harden's Thirteen Restaurant from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The address is 1911 Bagby Street in Midtown.

Friday updates

6:55 p.m. —Walmart, Sam’s Club and the Walmart Foundation announced a commitment of up to $1 million in cash and in-kind product donations to help with response efforts in Texas and other states impacted by this week's winter storm. 

Funds will also be used to support Feeding Texas’ emergency response efforts in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, the Rio Grande Valley and other areas across the state.

6:16 p.m. — Precinct 2 will be hosting a pair of drive-through food giveaways on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s event begins at 10 a.m. and will be held at Grayson Community Center (13828 Corpus Christi St., Houston, TX 77015). Sunday’s food distribution will be held at 10 a.m. at Leonel Castillo Community Center (2101 South St., Houston, TX 77009).

People are asked to stay in their vehicles during the distribution, and Precinct 2 Staff/Volunteers will place food in recipients’ trunks.

5:35 p.m. — Mattress Mack and Gallery Furniture delivered 500 dinners to the Harris County Sheriff's Department and Jail in partnership with World Central Kitchen and Churrascos. They've delivered 1,500 total meals.