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Texas blackouts can be seen from SPACE as state braces for another round of snow

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Texas is even struggling to clear its roads of snow in comparison to neighboring Arkansas as yet another blast of icy weather sowed more chaos in a state where 3.4 million were still without power Wednesday.   

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Footage taken by professional storm chaser Charles Peek shows cars on the Texas side of Stateline Road dealing with icy driving conditions while those on the Arkansas side drive on a cleared roadway. 

Sharing the image Peek tweeted: ‘Big difference in #Arkansas and #Texas snow removal in #Texarkana’, a city that straddles both states.

His colleague Mike Seidel also posted the footage from earlier this week, writing: ‘Can you guess what state has snow plows? It’s the AR side of State Line Ave. that’s clear. The TX side is #snow covered.’   

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Meanwhile, it’s not just snowplows that are an issue: The race is on to restore power to millions of Texans facing subzero temperatures as stunning infrared images taken from space show just how far the blackouts have stretched.  

More than 3million people in the state were left without power for the fourth day in a row – and for the vast majority, it is because of forced blackouts by energy agency ERCOT.  

Texas is even struggling to clear its side of road compared to neighboring Arkansas. Footage taken by professional storm chaser Charles Peek shows Stateline Road in Texarkana, which straddles the line between both states, on Tuesday as cars on the Texas side the street deal with icy driving conditions while those on the opposite side in Arkansas drive on a cleared roadway

Texas is even struggling to clear its side of road compared to neighboring Arkansas. Footage taken by professional storm chaser Charles Peek shows Stateline Road in Texarkana, which straddles the line between both states, on Tuesday as cars on the Texas side the street deal with icy driving conditions while those on the opposite side in Arkansas drive on a cleared roadway

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Infrared imaging shows just how much power has been lost to Houston in the last few days; from February 7 to 16 

Seven million Texans are also under boil water notices after the deadly storm compromised water filtration systems there – a problem exacerbated by the lack of power in many homes. Another blast of ice and snow forecast Wednesday threatened to sow more chaos. 

Meanwhile some Texas hospitals have reported running out of water after pipes were damaged, with some losing heat due to damaged boilers and power outages.

Some facilities, including St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, have been forced to move their most vulnerable patients to other hospitals.

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Conditions at St. David’s became so dire after the water was shut off that staff were asked to use trash bags to empty toilets which could not be flushed, according to KVUE.

Burst pipes at Houston Methodist also left two facilities without water, with staff forced to wash their hands with hand sanitizer instead of soap and water.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday told the state’s natural gas producers to sell the fuel to in-state power generators. He called ERCOT ‘opaque’ and ‘not transparent’ after failing to say when Texans can expect their power back.  

Now, furious Texans want to know why the infrastructure in place wasn’t properly prepared, especially after a similar storm in 2011 caused the same problems. The Texas Tribune reports that not all of the generators in the state were upgraded after 2011 to tackle the issue. 

Jeff Dennis, managing director of Advanced Energy Economy, said: ‘Where did those recommendations go, and how were they implemented? Those are going to be some pretty key questions.’ 

The upgrades are what’s called ‘winterizing’ the energy system but experts say it is regularly put off because the changes are expensive. Texas’ deregulated energy market gives little financial incentives for operators to prepare for the rare bout of intensely cold weather, an issue critics have been pointing out for years. 

David Tuttle, a research associate with the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a recent podcast: ‘There are things that can be done, but it will cost some money. About every decade we have these long-sustained periods. And then, you know weatherization is supposed to happen, and then, it doesn’t because it costs money.’  

An ERCOT official, Dan Woodfin, said plant upgrades after 2011 limited shutdowns during a similar cold snap in 2018, but this week’s weather was ‘more extreme.’

Ed Hirs, an energy fellow at the University of Houston, rejected ERCOT’s claim that this week’s freeze was unforeseeable ‘That’s nonsense,’ he said. ‘Every eight to 10 years we have really bad winters. This is not a surprise.’ 

Restarting the frozen oil wells in Texas also isn’t going to be easy – even after power is restored – experts say, as output has plummeted by 65 per cent. 

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Jim Newman, Executive VP of Operations at Basic Energy Services, told Bloomberg: ‘There’s a good bit of water produced with oil and gas, so in areas with higher water, you’re going to have burst pipes. Safety will be paramount because of the hydraulics being damaged. So there’s going to be a very meticulous reactivation.’

Infrared imaging shows just how much powers has been lost to Houston in the last few days as the bumbling CEO of ERCOT said on Tuesday night he had no idea when power would be restored but claimed his agency managed to avoid an even bigger catastrophe by switching it off.   

Richardson, Texas: Carlos de Jesus takes a selfie in front of the frozen fountain at the Richardson Civic Center after a second winter storm brought more snow and continued freezing temperatures to North Texas on Wednesday

Richardson, Texas: Carlos de Jesus takes a selfie in front of the frozen fountain at the Richardson Civic Center after a second winter storm brought more snow and continued freezing temperatures to North Texas on Wednesday

Dallas, Texas: Leonel Solis and Estefani Garcia use their car to heat their home. The couple, who lost power on Sunday, have been using electricity from a neighbor's generator and heat from their car to stay warm

Dallas, Texas: Leonel Solis and Estefani Garcia use their car to heat their home. The couple, who lost power on Sunday, have been using electricity from a neighbor’s generator and heat from their car to stay warm

Southwest Arlington, Texas: After seeing a posting on Facebook, LaDonna (no last name given) drove from Johnson County, Texas to collect some of the dumpsters-full of ice cream thrown out at a Southwest Arlington, Texas, Kroger store, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Arlington TX. LaDonna said she's collecting the frozen goods for her neighbors. Rolling power outages this week have forced businesses to clear merchandise that needs refrigeration

Southwest Arlington, Texas: After seeing a posting on Facebook, LaDonna (no last name given) drove from Johnson County, Texas to collect some of the dumpsters-full of ice cream thrown out at a Southwest Arlington, Texas, Kroger store, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Arlington TX. LaDonna said she’s collecting the frozen goods for her neighbors. Rolling power outages this week have forced businesses to clear merchandise that needs refrigeration

Texas, which relies on its own electricity supply and grid, and is unprepared for winter conditions, has buckled so much so that Beto O’Rourke said on Wednesday that it was a near ‘failed state’.  

The Texas city of Kyle, south of Austin, asked residents Wednesday to suspend water usage until further notice because of a shortage. ‘Water should only be used to sustain life at this point,’ the city of 45,000 said in an advisory. ‘We are close to running out of water supply in Kyle.’ 

Problems first began with Winter Storm Uri – a brutal weather system that is sweeping the country. Every other state in the storm’s path has been able to withstand it because they operate on a shared power source which means that if one state’s supply goes down, it can draw from the shared reserve. 

The outages are the widest Texas’ grid has suffered – but hardly a first in winter.   

Some 600,000 had power switched back on by 6am and even more were turned back on before lunchtime but millions remain in the dark and without heating. With ongoing, forced blackouts in being carried out in different parts of the state, it is difficult to track exactly how many people don’t have it and where they are in real-time.   

ERCOT – which is in charge of managing the distribution of all of the energy in Texas and maintaining its grid – underestimated the storm so didn’t produce enough reserve energy beforehand and now, plants can’t produce more power because they were unprepared for the bad weather. 

The agency claims it predicted that peak energy demand would be 67 gigawatts but it reached 69 gigawatts on Sunday night – the first night of the storm. The agency then cut the power across the state by close to half – reducing it to just over 40 gigawatts. Each gigawatt powers some 500 homes. 

What compounded the sudden demand for energy was that ERCOT didn’t anticipate not being able to produce more energy during the storm.   

The vast majority of the state’s energy (40 percent) comes from natural gas, and the plants that produce it are propped up by an infrastructure that, unlike other states, cannot withstand severe winter weather; pipes have frozen in subzero temperatures and wells have been blocked with snow. It is preventing the fossil fuels from being pumped from the ground to the plants and into homes and businesses.    

The system was forecast to move into the Northeast on Thursday. More than 100 million people live in areas covered by some type of winter weather warning, watch or advisory, the weather service said.

‘There’s really no letup to some of the misery people are feeling across that area,’ said Bob Oravec, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service, referring to Texas. 

Seven million Texans are under boil water notices after the storm compromised systems - a problem exacerbated by the lack of power in many homes. Another blast of ice and snow threatened to sow more chaos Wednesday

Seven million Texans are under boil water notices after the storm compromised systems – a problem exacerbated by the lack of power in many homes. Another blast of ice and snow threatened to sow more chaos Wednesday

Fort Worth, Texas: Gas stations such as this 7Eleven/Exxon on Highway 377 can not get deliveries of fuel, having run out on Sunday and not expecting another shipment until next week

Fort Worth, Texas: Gas stations such as this 7Eleven/Exxon on Highway 377 can not get deliveries of fuel, having run out on Sunday and not expecting another shipment until next week

Dallas, Texas: Houses covered with snow on Wednesday afternoon as millions throughout the state were still without power

Dallas, Texas: Houses covered with snow on Wednesday afternoon as millions throughout the state were still without power 

Desperate Texans waited for more than an hour in freezing rain to fill propane tanks in Houston on Wednesday as more than 3million people remain without power. Some 600,000 had power switched back on by 6am Wednesday and even more were turned back on before lunchtime but millions remain in the dark and without heating. With ongoing, forced blackouts in being carried out in different parts of the state, it is difficult to track exactly how many people don't have it and where they are in real-time.

Desperate Texans waited for more than an hour in freezing rain to fill propane tanks in Houston on Wednesday as more than 3million people remain without power. Some 600,000 had power switched back on by 6am Wednesday and even more were turned back on before lunchtime but millions remain in the dark and without heating. With ongoing, forced blackouts in being carried out in different parts of the state, it is difficult to track exactly how many people don’t have it and where they are in real-time.

Carlos Mandez waits in line to fill his propane tanks Wednesday in Houston after the CEO of ERCOT - the Texas energy agency responsible for the deadly blackouts that have driven people to burn furniture and accidentally poison themselves with carbon monoxide just to stay warm -  said he had no idea when power would be restored but claimed his agency managed to avoid an even bigger catastrophe by switching it off

Carlos Mandez waits in line to fill his propane tanks Wednesday in Houston after the CEO of ERCOT – the Texas energy agency responsible for the deadly blackouts that have driven people to burn furniture and accidentally poison themselves with carbon monoxide just to stay warm –  said he had no idea when power would be restored but claimed his agency managed to avoid an even bigger catastrophe by switching it off

Frozen: More than 4million people in Texas were without power yesterday afternoon in subzero temperatures for the fourth day in a row.

Frozen: More than 4million people in Texas were without power yesterday afternoon in subzero temperatures for the fourth day in a row.

ERCOT switched off millions of people’s power on Monday which reduced usage from around 70,000 megawatts to (70 gigawatts) to just over 43,000 megawatts (gigawatts). 1 gigawatt (1,000 megawatts) is enough to power 500 homes

ERCOT says that had it allowed the power to continue being used, the entire grid would have gone down and it would have taken longer to get up and running than the current, forced outages will. The explanation has fallen on deaf ears in Texas, where millions want to know why the crisis wasn't averted

ERCOT says that had it allowed the power to continue being used, the entire grid would have gone down and it would have taken longer to get up and running than the current, forced outages will. The explanation has fallen on deaf ears in Texas, where millions want to know why the crisis wasn’t averted 

Texas uses its own power grid and has done since the 1970s. The energy-rich state wanted to use its own resources but also sit beyond federal energy regulation. Other states to the north of it share resources. Oklahoma has been just as affected by Winter Storm Uri but because it pools resources with neighboring states, it hasn't run out of power

Texas uses its own power grid and has done since the 1970s. The energy-rich state wanted to use its own resources but also sit beyond federal energy regulation. Other states to the north of it share resources. Oklahoma has been just as affected by Winter Storm Uri but because it pools resources with neighboring states, it hasn’t run out of power 

Some 4.4million households don't have it. In Texas, the average household size is 2.8 people. There are around 30million people in Texas. It means an estimated 12million people - 41 percent of the state - doesn't have power

Some 4.4million households don’t have it. In Texas, the average household size is 2.8 people. There are around 30million people in Texas. It means an estimated 12million people – 41 percent of the state – doesn’t have power

ERCOT CEO Bill Magness - who made $880,000 in 2018 - claimed on Tuesday night that the situation could be worse. He refused to take responsibility for the fact his agency didn't upgrade systems to make sure plants would withstand the cold, and instead chalked the whole crisis down to a 'supply and demand imbalance'

ERCOT CEO Bill Magness – who made $880,000 in 2018 – claimed on Tuesday night that the situation could be worse. He refused to take responsibility for the fact his agency didn’t upgrade systems to make sure plants would withstand the cold, and instead chalked the whole crisis down to a ‘supply and demand imbalance’ 

 

Now, ERCOT has deliberately switched off people’s power to try to stop them from draining any remaining reserves. 

It has created a diabolical situation in the face of freak weather in the southern state where temperatures on Tuesday plummeted to -2 F – the lowest they have been since 1903- and where eight inches of snow have fallen in some parts. 

The nationwide death toll from the storm is 31.

It’s unclear how many people have died in Texas so far but the death toll there includes a mother and daughter who died from carbon monoxide poisoning because they left a car running in their garage to stay warm, and a grandmother and three children who died after the fire they were using to keep warm spread throughout their house in Sugar Land.

There are delays to the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and many doses that were being stored are under threat because the freezers storing them can’t operate without power.

The outages have crippled water pressure which also threatens drinking water supply. It is a particular problem in hospitals, where pressure is dwindling. 

There are also fears that without any new gas becoming available soon, prices are about to skyrocket by as much as 20 cents per gallon. 

People are also being told to boil water before they drink it or use it for cooking because it is no longer safe, due to the shortage in power plants. 

Many can’t – because they do not have power – and stores where they could buy bottled water are closed or empty.  Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday night called the situation ‘completely unacceptable’ and ordered a full investigation into how ERCOT had failed the state so drastically.  

Texans covered in blankets wait in line for more than an hour to fill propane tanks to heat their homes in Houston on Wednesday. Millions across the state remain without power after a historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created a surge of demand for electricity to warm up homes unaccustomed to such extreme lows, buckling the state's power grid and causing widespread blackouts

Texans covered in blankets wait in line for more than an hour to fill propane tanks to heat their homes in Houston on Wednesday. Millions across the state remain without power after a historic snowfall and single-digit temperatures created a surge of demand for electricity to warm up homes unaccustomed to such extreme lows, buckling the state’s power grid and causing widespread blackouts 

A Texan looks for information on his cell phone as he rest at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston on Wednesday as winter storm Uri prompted countless people sought warmth in pop-up shelters after rolling black-outs left millions without heat and power

A Texan looks for information on his cell phone as he rest at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston on Wednesday as winter storm Uri prompted countless people sought warmth in pop-up shelters after rolling black-outs left millions without heat and power 

An apartment complex in Dallas, Texas, where icicles have formed on ceiling fans

An apartment complex in Dallas, Texas, where icicles have formed on ceiling fans

A long line of cars snakes out of the H-E-B gas station and into the supermarket's parking lot Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021 in Brownsville, Texas

A long line of cars snakes out of the H-E-B gas station and into the supermarket’s parking lot Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021 in Brownsville, Texas

Natural gas runs in the home of Cynthia Valadez off of East Cesar Chavez Street in Austin on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021

Natural gas runs in the home of Cynthia Valadez off of East Cesar Chavez Street in Austin on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021

Customers wait outside at a Home Depot in Pearland, Texas to enter the store to buy supplies on February 17, 2021. The store has no power so is only letting one person at a time

Customers wait outside at a Home Depot in Pearland, Texas to enter the store to buy supplies on February 17, 2021. The store has no power so is only letting one person at a time

City of Richardson workers close a water main valve for a pipe that burst due to extreme cold in a neighborhood Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Richardson, Texas. Millions remain without power in the record-breaking cold, mostly in Texas

City of Richardson workers close a water main valve for a pipe that burst due to extreme cold in a neighborhood Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Richardson, Texas. Millions remain without power in the record-breaking cold, mostly in Texas

Brett Saint, right, and Joetta Myers sit on a sofa inside a Gallery Furniture store which opened as a shelter Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Houston

Brett Saint, right, and Joetta Myers sit on a sofa inside a Gallery Furniture store which opened as a shelter Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Houston

People line up to fill their empty propane tanks Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Houston. Temperatures stayed below freezing Tuesday, and many residents were without electricity

People line up to fill their empty propane tanks Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, in Houston. Temperatures stayed below freezing Tuesday, and many residents were without electricity

BETO O’ROURKE – WE’RE NEAR A FAILED STATE

 Beto O’Rourke, the failed Senate hopeful and former Congressman, said on Tuesday night that Texas was close to becoming a ‘failed state’ because of the energy crisis.

‘We’ve seen that extraordinary spike in demand and then the same storm has caused real challenges to the delivery of electricity to the supply, with wind turbines freeze and can’t run, the storm blows through and there’s .. you have problems with the equipment at some of these plants, they trip off and have to get fixed.

‘There’s a number of factors where a storm like this that’s been so historic and we haven’t seen much precedent for, pushes the system where demand up and supply down… the only way we can keep it in control is to do outages.’ 

He said that if ERCOT hadn’t switched power off, the systems would have completely broken and wouldn’t have been able to be turned back on, but he also failed to give a firm answer on when that will happen. 

‘If we had let the system go into a stage where a blackout would happen, we wouldn’t be talking about when are we going to restore the power, when are we going to turn it back on. We would be talking about rebuilding portions of the electric system. We wouldn’t be able to do this in days. 

‘The goal today is to find ways to get as many Texans back on as we possibly can,’ he said. 

Magness admitted that the agency knew the storm was coming and tried to prepare for it but that the crippling of the infrastructure hindered the efforts. 

 

Gov Abbott also blamed renewable energy and wind turbines for the disaster, telling Fox’s Sean Hannity on Tuesday night: ‘This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America. 

‘Our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10 percent of our power grid, and that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis… It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary,’ he said.

The disaster in Texas has happened because of failures in both fossil fuel production and renewable energy.

On Tuesday night, ERCOT CEO Bill Magness said he thought his agency had actually avoided an even bigger problem by taking the steps they have. 

In an interview with CBS Austin, he said: ‘The reason why is these outages have to exist is the electric system has to be managed where supply and demand have to be balanced all the time. 

‘These outages, while they are extremely difficult and we are tying to get them to end as fast as we can, are a controlled method of making sure we don’t lose the system – that we don’t have a much bigger, catastrophic event on the system.’ 

He refused to take responsibility for the fact that the reason supply is down is because the plants were unprepared, and even seemed to boast about Texas’s response to the crisis. 

‘If you have a big imbalance between the supply and the demand, you can have catastrophic failures of the system, blackouts like we’ve seen in some parts of the country but haven’t seen here in Texas that can take a very long time to repair.’

He also said that the same amount of energy was being used now as it is in the summer, when Texans use their air conditioners. 

‘What we saw this time was the demand side with the storm the temperatures, all the snow, has brought power demand higher in Texas than it’s ever, ever been – even close during the winter – we’re using electricity at a rate that Texas uses it in the summer time when we’re pumping all our air conditioners.

‘I know there were certainly efforts to plan, and then we saw some events when the storm blew in that made it a lot more challenging.’  

Last night, Governor Abbott fumed that the blame lies with ERCOT and that an investigation must be launched. 

‘The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has been anything but reliable over the past 48 hours… Far too many Texans are without power and heat for their homes as our state faces freezing temperatures and severe winter weather. This is unacceptable,’ Abbott said. 

He has been criticized for seeming to sidestep the crisis. 

‘You can always count on Greg Abbott to pass the buck when he fails,’ Julian Castro, the Mayor of San Antonio, tweeted.  

HOUSTON: Karla Perez and Esperanza Gonzalez warm up by a barbecue grill during power outage caused by the winter storm on February 16, 2021 in Houston, Texas

HOUSTON: Karla Perez and Esperanza Gonzalez warm up by a barbecue grill during power outage caused by the winter storm on February 16, 2021 in Houston, Texas

HOUSTON: Bryan Mejia and Elias Mejia try to connect power cable to a car battery to change their smartphones during power outage caused by the winter storm on February 16, 2021 in Houston, Texas

HOUSTON: Bryan Mejia and Elias Mejia try to connect power cable to a car battery to change their smartphones during power outage caused by the winter storm on February 16, 2021 in Houston, Texas

A man walks to his friend's home in a neighborhood without electricity as snow covers the BlackHawk neighborhood in Pflugerville, Texas

A man walks to his friend’s home in a neighborhood without electricity as snow covers the BlackHawk neighborhood in Pflugerville, Texas

Texas’ perfect storm: How the Lone Star state’s independent electric grid, shoddy winter infrastructure and ‘wild west’ approach to energy regulation left millions in the cold 

Millions of people in Texas awoke on Wednesday without heat again, as catastrophic power failures continued to plague the state following a historic winter storm that has killed 23 people so far.  

A week of below-freezing temperatures has knocked about a third of the state’s generating capacity offline, resulting in the greatest forced blackout in U.S. history and exposing the weaknesses of Texas’ unique approach to power grid management.

Experts blame Texas’ independent energy grid, which avoids regulation in favor of market incentives, for allowing generators to shirk preparations for a once-in-a-decade winter storm.

Texas is the only contiguous state with its own power grid, meaning it is not linked to other states and so cannot borrow power from them.

It’s a ‘Wild West market design based only on short-run prices,’ Matt Breidert, a portfolio manager at a firm called TortoiseEcofin, told the Washington Post

Nearly 3 million people in Texas were without power early Wednesday, including 1.4 million people in the Houston metropolitan area. A quarter of homes in Dallas were dark. 

Though some have blamed the catastrophe on frozen wind turbines, the power grid in Texas relies heavily on natural gas, responsible for nearly half the electricity generated.    

Alone among the contiguous states, Texas maintains its own power grid that does not cross state lines, in order to avoid federal regulation. It is called the Texas Interconnection

Alone among the contiguous states, Texas maintains its own power grid that does not cross state lines, in order to avoid federal regulation. It is called the Texas Interconnection

Wind shutdowns accounted less than 13 percent of the 30 to 35 gigawatts of total outages, said Dan Woodfin, a senior director at the state’s grid operator. 

Poor winter infrastructure in Texas has brought the natural gas system grinding to a halt, with drilling fluid freezing in gas pipes, frozen wellheads unable to produce, and diesel-fueled pumps refusing to start. 

Even coal plants went offline as coal piles were frozen to the ground, and one of the two reactors of the South Texas Nuclear Power Station had to be shut down after the cooling pumps froze.

While similar facilities in the Northern states are equipped to handle extended temperatures below freezing, Texas, which hasn’t experienced a similar cold snap in a decade, simply didn’t have the infrastructure in place to weather the storm. 

As the state’s electrical supply plunged, demand soared to levels normally only seen during the hottest summer days. Texans, many in poorly insulated homes, were trying desperately to keep warm, plugging in electric heaters and cranking up their thermostats.

The result was an epic crisis of supply unable to meet demand. In other states, broad regional power grids allow states to tap into their neighbors’ generating supply during a crisis, but Texas is unique.   

Alone among the contiguous states, Texas maintains its own power grid that does not cross state lines, in order to avoid federal regulation. 

Called the Texas Interconnection, the grid is managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) — the system operator that has faced heavy backlash for the planning failures that led to the catastrophe.

Even as its own projections showed a crisis in the making last week, ERCOT has been accused of downplaying the issue and failing to properly warn Texans of impending widespread outages.

On Monday, ERCOT sent out a tweet urging people not to do laundry on Valentine’s Day to conserve energy — a measure some viewed as inadequate in proportion to the crisis.  

People seeking shelter from below freezing temperatures rest inside a church warming center Tuesday in Houston. Millions in Texas still had no power on Wednesday

People seeking shelter from below freezing temperatures rest inside a church warming center Tuesday in Houston. Millions in Texas still had no power on Wednesday

ERCOT officials still can’t say when power will be restored. ‘I know it’s frustrating we can’t offer a time certain, but it’s a process we’re engaged in to get the grid back in balance,’ ERCOT chief executive officer Bill Magness said during a news conference Tuesday. 

Ed Hirs, an energy fellow at the University of Houston, said the problem was a lack of weatherized power plants and a statewide energy market that doesn’t incentivize companies to generate electricity when demand is low. 

In Texas, demand peaks in August, at the height of the state’s sweltering summers.

He rejected that the storm went beyond what ERCOT could have anticipated.

‘That’s nonsense. It’s not acceptable,’ Hirs said. ‘Every eight to 10 years we have really bad winters. This is not a surprise.’ 

The outages are the widest Texas’ grid has suffered but hardly a first in winter. 

A decade ago, another deep February freeze created power shortages in Texas the same week the Super Bowl was played in Arlington. A federal report later flagged failures in the system, including power plants that are unable to stand up to extreme cold.

The latest breakdown sparked growing outrage and demands for answers over how Texas – whose Republican leaders as recently as last year taunted California over the Democratic-led state’s rolling blackouts – failed such a massive test of a major point of state pride: energy independence. 

And it cut through politics, as fuming Texans took to social media to highlight how while their neighborhoods froze in the dark Monday night, downtown skylines glowed despite desperate calls to conserve energy.

‘We are very angry. I was checking on my neighbor, she´s angry, too,’ said Amber Nichols, whose north Austin home has had no power since early Monday. ‘We´re all angry because there is no reason to leave entire neighborhoods freezing to death.’

She crunched through ice wearing a parka and galoshes, while her neighbors dug out their driveways from six inches of snow to move their cars.

‘This is a complete bungle,’ she said.

The toll of the outages was causing increasing worry. Harris County emergency officials reported ‘several carbon monoxide deaths’ in or around Houston and reminded people not to operate cars or gasoline-powered generators indoors. 

Authorities said three young children and their grandmother, who were believed to be trying to keep warm, also died in a suburban Houston house fire early Tuesday. 

In Galveston, the medical examiner’s office requested a refrigerated truck to expand body storage, although County Judge Mark Henry said he didn’t know how many deaths there had been related to the weather.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott called for an investigation of the grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. His indignation struck a much different tone than just a day earlier, when he told Texans that ERCOT was prioritizing residential customers and that power was getting restored to hundreds of thousands of homes.

But hours after those assurances, the number of outages in Texas only rose, at one point exceeding 4 million customers. ‘This is unacceptable,’ Abbott said.

By late Tuesday afternoon, ERCOT officials said some power had been restored, but they warned that even those gains were fragile and more outages were possible.

The grid began preparing for the storm a week ahead of time, but it reached a breaking point early Monday as conditions worsened and knocked power plants offline, ERCOT president Bill Magness said. 

Some wind turbine generators were iced, but nearly twice as much power was wiped out at natural gas and coal plants. Forcing controlled outages was the only way to avert an even more dire blackout in Texas, Magness said.

‘What we’re protecting against is worse,’ he claimed.

On Tuesday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Texas had requested 60 generators and that hospitals and nursing homes would get priority. 

Thirty-five warming shelters were opened to accommodate more than 1,000 people around the state, FEMA said during a briefing. But even they weren’t spared from the outages, as Houston was forced to close two on Monday because of a loss in power.



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‘Firefall’ illusion makes waterfall at Yosemite Park’s El Capitan look like molten lava

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‘Lava’ lights up Yosemite Park: Stunning annual ‘firefall’ illusion caused by setting sun’s reflection makes waterfall on El Capitan look like molten rock

  • Amazing pictures show the annual ‘firefall’ phenomenon at California’s Yosemite National Park
  • For just a few days in February, the setting sun illuminates Horsetail Fall each evening for a matter of minutes, making it glow like a cascade of molten lava 
  • The event typically attracts thousands of visitors, but numbers had to be cut this year due to the pandemic 
  • Park rangers have set up travel restrictions and an online booking system amid COVID social distancing fears 
  • The waterfall flows down the granite face of the park’s famed rock formation, El Capitan
  • Horsetail Fall only flows in the winter or spring, when there is enough rain and snow 
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No, these stunning pictures from Yosemite National Park don’t show lava falling down the side of a cliff. 

The amazing spectacle is actually the park’s annual ‘firefall’ phenomenon, where the setting sun illuminates Horsetail Fall making it glow like a cascade of molten lava.

The optical illusion occurs for just a few days each February – if the conditions are right – and lasts for a matter of minutes in the evening.

The 2,000-foot waterfall plunges down the granite face of the park’s famed rock formation, El Capitan.

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The firefall spectacle typically draws thousands of photographers and Instagrammers from around the world.

But this year, the National Park Service brought in entry restrictions and required people to book online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

There are also concerns that the thousands of photographers were damaging the nearby landscape.

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The firefall can be seen only in mid- to late February when the light from the setting sun illuminates the cliff where Horsetail Fall is flowing

The firefall can be seen only in mid- to late February when the light from the setting sun illuminates the cliff where Horsetail Fall is flowing

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Sunlight hits the Horsetail Fall, turning it into a 'Firefall', at Yosemite National Park, California, in February 2021

Sunlight hits the Horsetail Fall, turning it into a ‘Firefall’, at Yosemite National Park, California, in February 2021

The optical illusion occurs for just a few days each February, and lasts for a matter of minutes in the evening.

The optical illusion occurs for just a few days each February, and lasts for a matter of minutes in the evening.

The natural phenomenon creates a brief pink and orange hue that is visible for only a matter of minutes each day

The natural phenomenon creates a brief pink and orange hue that is visible for only a matter of minutes each day 

Photographers usually flood to the area each year hoping to catch a glimpse of the optical illusion, but restrictions are in place this year due to the COVID pandemic

Photographers usually flood to the area each year hoping to catch a glimpse of the optical illusion, but restrictions are in place this year due to the COVID pandemic

The stunning sight is actually an optical illusion created by the setting sun, but only when the weather conditions are just right

The stunning sight is actually an optical illusion created by the setting sun, but only when the weather conditions are just right

The Horsetail Fall is a seasonal waterfall that flows in the winter and spring.

If the weather conditions are right, the setting sun illuminates the water flowing down the rocky face, making it look like fierce orange lava. 

Because the so-called ‘firefall’ needs a warm enough temperature to melt snow at the top as well as the sun to set at the right angle and clear skies, the effect is not visible every year.

The firefall also needs evenings with a clear sky, as even a slight haziness of cloudiness can diminish the effect.

Many visitors are disappointed when conditions are not exactly right for the phenomenon.

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Yosemite National Park warns on its website: ‘This unique lighting effect happens only on evenings with a clear sky when the waterfall is flowing. Even some haze or minor cloudiness can greatly diminish or eliminate the effect.’ 

The glowing light makes it seem like the cliff is flowing with molten lava

The glowing light makes it seem like the cliff is flowing with molten lava

Yosemite National Park is one of the most spectacular sights in California, filled not just with the annual firefall, pictured, but with an expansive wilderness, granite cliffs taller than buildings and Sequoia trees, some of the largest living things on Earth

Yosemite National Park is one of the most spectacular sights in California, filled not just with the annual firefall, pictured, but with an expansive wilderness, granite cliffs taller than buildings and Sequoia trees, some of the largest living things on Earth

Photographers could be seen wearing masks as they took photos of the phenomenon amid the COVID pandemic. The park has reduced access and brought in restrictions requiring people to book reservations in advance to prevent overcrowding

Photographers could be seen wearing masks as they took photos of the phenomenon amid the COVID pandemic. The park has reduced access and brought in restrictions requiring people to book reservations in advance to prevent overcrowding



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10 Amazing Photos You Missed This Week

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Amid the ever-changing news cycle, it’s easy to miss great images that fly under the radar. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered.

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We’re highlighting exceptional photos from around the world for the week that just ended. Check them out below.

Above: Hikers watch the sunset Saturday from a peak at Papago Park in Phoenix.



A protester wears a golden mask during a demonstration Monday against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar.

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A portrait of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed young Black man shot and killed after being chased by a white former law enforcement officer and his son, is pictured during a candlelight vigil Wednesday at New Springfield Baptist Church in Waynesboro, Georgia, to mark the first anniversary of his death.



Confetti explodes as Mathieu van der Poel, center, of the Netherlands celebrates a win Monday during the UAE Tour 2021 road cycling race in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.



People take photos Friday next to a display of lanterns decorated with lights during the Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the Lunar New Year celebrations in Taiyuan, in northern China’s Shanxi province.



Emma Banker, left, Jessi McIrvin and Valerie Sanchez record vocals in pop-up tents during choir class Friday at Wenatchee High School in Wenatchee, Washington.

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A Kyrgyz berkutchi (eagle hunter) launches his bird, a golden eagle, during the hunting festival “Salburun” Wednesday in the village of Tuura-Suu, Kyrgyzstan.



A Chinese tourist visits the snow-covered Mutianyu Great Wall on Wednesday in Beijing. The number of visitors to Mutianyu Great Wall in 2020 dropped by about 60% due to the coronavirus pandemic.



British Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes part in an online class during a visit Tuesday to Sedgehill School in Lewisham, southeast London, to see preparations for students returning to school.

Cars line up in a parking lot at NRG Park in Houston as people wait to receive a COVID-19 vaccines at the federally supported



Cars line up in a parking lot at NRG Park in Houston as people wait to receive a COVID-19 vaccines at the federally supported supersite Thursday.

Cars line up in a parking lot at NRG Park as people wait to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a federally supported supersite at the Harris County facility, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Houston.



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CNN’s Jim Acosta Surrounded By Jeering Crowd At CPAC

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The network’s White House correspondent had just arrived when a crowd surrounded him.

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Video taken by Bloomberg reporter William Turton shows people chanting “CNN sucks!” while one woman urged the crowd, “Get him! Get him!”

“Sorry, I’m conducting an interview,” Acosta responded to the reporter’s initial question.

“When are you going to start covering Cuomo?” The Federalist reporter proceeded, repeating his initial question.

“We do,” Acosta replied before the reporter fired back, “No, I’m asking you a serious question.”

 “But, David, we do cover that. We have, too,” Acosta insisted.

Acosta responded to Turton’s video with a pointed joke.

Other Twitter users had strong opinions about the situation as well.

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Ted Cruz trolled by colleagues with ‘Bienvenido de Nuevo’ signs in Senate gym locker room

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Ted Cruz’s colleagues troll him by putting memes of his Cancun trip in the Senate gym locker room with ‘Bienvenido de Nuevo, Ted!’

  • Lawmakers printed the memes and posted them in the Senate gym locker room this week 
  • Cruz returned to Washington after a week of damage control in Texas
  • He is now in Orlando, at CPAC, where he joked about the trip shamelessly
  • Cruz flew to Cancun with his wife Heidi and their two daughters on February 17 
  • At the time, millions of Texans were still without water, power and heat 
  • He flew back in disgrace the next day after photos of him emerged at the airport and sparked uproar 
  • He has since played it down, claiming it his daughters who wanted the trip 
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Ted Cruz‘s colleagues mocked him over his ill-fated Cancun trip when he returned to work by posting memes in the Senate gym locker room which read ‘Bienvenido de Nuevo, Ted’. 

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Cruz and his family flew to Cancun from Houston during the worst of the Texas energy crisis after a winter storm last week.  

He was slammed for the decision and returned in disgrace but he has been unapologetic about it, blaming it on his daughters and claiming he was just being ‘a good dad’. 

This week, when he returned to Washington, he was trolled by other lawmakers who, according to NBC, printed memes from his trip and posted them in the Senate gym locker room.

Ted Cruz (pictured on Friday at CPAC) was trolled by fellow lawmakers who posted memes about his Cancun trip in the Senate gym locker room in Washington this week

Ted Cruz (pictured on Friday at CPAC) was trolled by fellow lawmakers who posted memes about his Cancun trip in the Senate gym locker room in Washington this week

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The signs read ‘Bienvenido de Nuevo, Ted,’ which means ‘Welcome back’ in English. 

Cruz, on Friday, brushed off the trip again as he arrived in Orlando for CPAC. He took to the stage and shamelessly joked: ‘Orlando is awesome. It’s not as nice as Cancun!’ 

He went on to denounce cancel culture, saying: ‘This is the Rebel Alliance. 

‘Darth Vader and the emperor – and let’s be clear, they’re not your father – are terrified of the rebels that are here. And I’m telling ya, Gina Carano stands with us!’

‘We believe in individuality – different people have different views. We are the not the Borg,’ he said, referring to the villains in Star Trek. 

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‘I may have committed a cardinal sin mixing Star Wars and Star Trek.’ 

Cruz was trolled relentlessly with memes after abandoning his home state to go to Cancun with his friends and family while millions in the state were still without power and water. 

Cruz returning to Houston on Thursday

Heidi and her family appeared to be met by a security detail, but the senator was nowhere to be seen

Heidi and her family appeared to be met by a security detail, but the senator was nowhere to be seen

Protesters have given dubbed the Texas senator 'Cancun Cruz' after his brief trip to Mexico on Wednesday

Protesters have given dubbed the Texas senator 'Cancun Cruz' after his brief trip to Mexico on Wednesday

Protesters have given dubbed the Texas senator ‘Cancun Cruz’ after his brief trip to Mexico on Wednesday

A mariachi band outside Ted Cruz's $2million home in Houston, Texas, on Sunday

A mariachi band outside Ted Cruz’s $2million home in Houston, Texas, on Sunday 

It was an epic failure by ERCOT – the state’s energy distributor – which neither prepared enough reserve energy before the storm hit, nor did it upgrade power plants to be able to withstand the frigid temperatures. 

The combination resulted in them having to perform rolling blackouts across the state to try to preserve the electrical grid. 

Millions were without heat, power or water during the coldest temperatures for more than one hundred years. 

Governor Greg Abbott has ordered an investigation into ERCOT’s failings. 

Cruz claimed initially that his 10 and 12-year-old daughters asked to flee the cold temperatures. 

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Text messages then showed how his wife Heidi asked neighbors and friends who wanted to join them. 

Cruz also invited along his college roommate.  

While the Cruz family soaked up the sun in Mexico, millions in Texas battled frigid temperatures

While the Cruz family soaked up the sun in Mexico, millions in Texas battled frigid temperatures 



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Your Gym May Not Be Safe Enough

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting two COVID-19 outbreaks that originated in fitness center classes.



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How James and Julia Corden became the unlikely power couple of Hollywood

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After first finding fame as Essex lad Smithy in British sitcom Gavin and Stacey, James Corden has seen a meteoric rise to Hollywood A-lister and now spends his days rubbing shoulders with the industry’s elite.

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The actor, 42, who started his career as an actor in Hollyoaks, relocated from the UK to Los Angeles six-years-ago to anchor The Late Late Show and has since amassed a fortune of over £50 million thanks to high profile hosting gigs and roles in films like Into The Woods, Cats and Prom.  

And yesterday Corden pulled off the biggest coup of his career – stealing a march on Oprah Winfrey by airing a candid interview with his friend, Prince Harry, days before her own prime time interview is due to air. 

By his side on this ride to the upper echelons of celebrity is his wife Julia, 41, co-founder of interior design brand Charles & Co which counts the Clooneys and the Beckhams among its A-list clients – giving the couple even more connections.

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From brushing shoulders with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to multi-million dollar hosting gigs, James Corden and his wife Julia have become the most unlikely power couple of Hollywood

From brushing shoulders with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to multi-million dollar hosting gigs, James Corden and his wife Julia have become the most unlikely power couple of Hollywood 

The star's recent success is a far from cry from the small role he had in Hollyoaks at the start of his career (pictured)

The star’s recent success is a far from cry from the small role he had in Hollyoaks at the start of his career (pictured) 

James has been close friends with the Duke of Sussex, 39, for a decade, with the presenter previously revealing they met 'out and about' in London

James has been close friends with the Duke of Sussex, 39, for a decade, with the presenter previously revealing they met ‘out and about’ in London

The Cordens, who were guests at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding, count Harry Styles and Dominic Cooper among their social circle, while James has had everyone from Sir Elton John to Tom Hanks and Lady Gaga on his show. 

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The couple also boast a home worthy of Hollywood superstars, living in a £7.3 million mansion in Brentwood, an upmarket LA suburb, with their three children. The property hast five bedrooms, eight bathrooms and a pool, plus such typically Hollywood features as a wood-panelled library, cinema room and gym.

It also has its own spa and an office complete with high-tech film editing facilities. 

As well as keeping up with his hosting and acting roles, Corden recently added a major endorsement deal to his name. 

And at the start of the year, it was revealed James would join the likes of DJ Khaled and Robbie Williams in representing WW after becoming ’embarrassed’ about his body.

Not bad for a guy who started his career with a small roles in Hollyoaks and a Tango advert. 

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Here FEMAIL reveals how the unexpected pair have been catapulted into the centre of the celebrity world. 

HOW THE BRITISH TV STAR BROKE AMERICA 

With the immense popularity of segments like Carpool Karaoke, James has become one of America's most beloved late night presenters

With the immense popularity of segments like Carpool Karaoke, James has become one of America’s most beloved late night presenters

After first finding fame as Essex lad Smithy in British sitcom Gavin and Stacey, James Corden has seen a meteoric rise to Hollywood A-lister (pictured, in the sitcom)

After first finding fame as Essex lad Smithy in British sitcom Gavin and Stacey, James Corden has seen a meteoric rise to Hollywood A-lister (pictured, in the sitcom) 

The Late Late Show: An A-list favourite

James Corden has played host to many A-lister guests on the Late Late Show. Famous faces who’ve appeared on his show include:

  • Tom Hanks
  • Lady Gaga
  • One Direction 
  • Britney Spears
  • Chris Martin
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Elton John 
  • Madonna
  • Julia Roberts
  • George Clooney
  • Christina Aguilera

The Gavin And Stacey star first cracked America when his stage show One Man Two Guvnors transferred to Broadway in 2012 after a successful stint in the West End. 

He was then catapulted to worldwide fame after he made his debut as the presenter of The Late, Late Show in 2015, taking over the role from Craig Ferguson.

With the immense popularity of segments like Carpool Karaoke, James has become one of America’s most beloved late night presenters.

And thanks to his success on The Late, Late Show, James has landed a number of roles in Hollywood films like Into The Woods and The Prom, and he has also hosted the Tony Awards.  

He has since reportedly more than doubled his wealth to a whopping £50m after moving to Hollywood. 

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Following his move to LA,  James has become one of the partners at film production company Fulwell 73 and seen his assets swell. 

He was previously estimated as being worth around £22m, however in the latest accounts from his company the business’ assets are declared as £140m.  

The star also has earnings from his film and TV roles, with him thought to earn $7m for The Late Late Show, as well as millions of dollars tied up in his properties. 

HOBNOBBING WITH THE HOLLYWOOD ELITE

James and Julia were snapped chatting with fellow guests at the royal wedding, including George and Amal Clooney

James and Julia were snapped chatting with fellow guests at the royal wedding, including George and Amal Clooney

Close friends for the presenter and actor include One Direction star Harry Styles, who James recently lent his Palm Springs home to

 Close friends for the presenter and actor include One Direction star Harry Styles, who James recently lent his Palm Springs home to 

From decorating the homes of celebrities to hosting them on a chatshow, Julia and James have settled into the centre of life in Los Angeles. 

Since relocating to the States, Corden has drawn other high-profile pals into his circle, including U2 frontman Bono and actor Sean Penn. Mary Poppins actress Emily Blunt and her American husband John Krasinski – one of Hollywood’s most popular power couples – are regular guests at his home.

… AND THE TRAPPINGS OF AN LA LIFE 

When he was still a jobbing actor, known mainly for his role in the Alan Bennett play The History Boys, Corden shared a flat above a London doughnut shop with Dominic Cooper (now star of hit TV show Preacher).

Corden joked that there was no furniture and only one piece of cutlery, a spatula, and that the fridge contained only ‘half a vitamin water and a Lindt chocolate bunny’.

Today, he shares a £7.3 million mansion in Brentwood, an upmarket LA suburb, with Julia and their three children.

There are five bedrooms, eight bathrooms and a pool, plus such typically Hollywood features as a wood-panelled library, cinema room and gym.

It also has its own spa and an office complete with high-tech film editing facilities.

While he stays in LA, Corden rents out the family’s £3 million London home in leafy Belsize Park for about £15,000 a month.

His neighbours in Brentwood –just a 20-minute drive from the CBS studios where his chat show is filmed – include Gwyneth Paltrow, Cindy Crawford, Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg.

‘The children are happy and healthy and love their circle of friends,’ says the source. ‘James is a devoted dad and spends a lot of time with the kids. His weekends are sacrosanct.

‘James knows none of this success would mean anything without Julia’s love and support. His family means everything to him.’

Out on the town, Corden favours the luxurious Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood, where phone calls and photos are banned. Jennifer Aniston held her 50th birthday party there in February. Corden’s tipple? Don Julio 1492 tequila at £120 a bottle.

‘The best parties are at his house,’ says the source. ‘He’ll hire a team of private chefs and you never know who will be there, from the heads of TV networks to stars like Emily Blunt.’

There is, too, an unlikely friendship with Anna Wintour, the formidable British editor of American Vogue. They met after Anna saw Corden in the Broadway version of the play One Man, Two Guvnors in 2011 and sent him a card telling him she was his biggest fan. ‘Through her, he has met everyone,’ says the source.

James’ Carpool Karaoke has seen the funny-man bantering with megastars like Madonna, Britney Spears and Adele. 

Meanwhile stars among their closest circle include One Direction star Harry Styles, with Corden recently lending him his Palm Springs home while the musician was shooting his part in Wilde’s new movie.

His relationship with Mamma Mia star Dominic Cooper dates back to 2004 when they were rooming together and starring in The History Boys, a British campus comedy.  

Speaking of their days sharing a flat in London on James’ chat show, The Late Late Show, Dominic reminisced on how they would often sleep in the same bed due to the lack of furniture.

He said: ‘We were never there at the same time much, were we? But when we were, there was absolutely no furniture. 

We had a bed, one bed. We only had one piece of cutlery which was a spatula.

‘I remember one depressing evening, he caught me, he came home and I was eating baked beans with the spatula.’

James added: ‘We rented it furnished. It had no furniture in it and we never thought to complain.’

It was Dominic who introduced James to now wife Julia, who was an old school friend of his. 

He told People: ‘I said, ‘Hi, Jules. You might be the most beautiful woman in the world.’ She said, ‘Well, thank you very much. That sounds like something you say a lot.’ 

‘And I said, ‘I’ve never said it before in my life.’ That was it. That was it, really. I was in. And by an absolute miracle, so was she.’

Later, the two slinked off to a corner to plan the rest of their lives, with James revealing: ‘I remember saying to her, ‘Well, what about on Friday we could do nothing together? You could come over and we could just do nothing.

“And then maybe we could do nothing on Saturday, and we could do nothing on the Sunday. And if our evenings are enough of nothing, then maybe this would become something.”

‘And she said, ‘That sounds like a fun idea.’” 

James proposed on holiday in the Maldives in 2008, while Julia was expecting their eldest son Max.

They married in September 2012 at Babington House, with a spectacular guest list including Lara Stone, comedian Michael McIntyre, and Snow Patrol lead singer Gary Lightbody.

The couple also have two daughters, Charlotte, six, and Carey, three.

CLOSE FRIENDS WITH HARRY AND MEGHAN 

Prince Harry and James Corden on the Late Late Show yesterday. The pair have been friends for years

Prince Harry and James Corden on the Late Late Show yesterday. The pair have been friends for years

The couple recently appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden, with Meghan Markle appearing over FaceTime

The couple recently appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden, with Meghan Markle appearing over FaceTime 

James and Prince Harry have been friends for years, telling People: ‘The friendship mostly started with being out and about the same places in London.’

The chat show host and his wife Julia attended the royal wedding to Meghan Markle in May 2018. 

The funnyman joined a whole galaxy of stars including George and Amal Clooney as well as David and Victoria Beckham. 

At the time, he described the nuptials, revealing: ‘It was so lovely. I’ve known Prince Harry about seven years now and it was wonderful.

‘It was one of the most beautiful ceremonies I’ve ever been to. It was gorgeous, it was a whole affair, it was happy, it was joyous, it was uplifting.’ 

James made a showstopping entrance to the palace afterparty as it was claimed he arrived at Prince Harry and Meghan‘s wedding reception dressed up as King Henry VIII.

At the time, People Magazine reported the presenter arrived last to the reception, clad in the monarch’s signature Tudor costume, saying he ‘didn’t know what to wear’. 

He said: ‘Harry asked me to do some kind of performance…it was fun, it was a really special day.’  

Meanwhile the presenter also stole the march on Oprah by airing his antics with Prince Harry days before the prime-time interview that enraged Buckingham Palace. 

In a wide-ranging chat mostly carried out on an open-top bus, the Duke of Sussex – or ‘Haz,’ as Corden calls him – reveals he went from ‘zero to sixty’ with Meghan and how the pressures of living in London were ‘destroying my mental health.’ 

HIS WIFE’S CELEBRITY INTERIORS COMPANY

Meanwhile Julia is co-founded of the interior design company Charles & Co, which counts  The Beckhams among its clients

Meanwhile Julia is co-founded of the interior design company Charles & Co, which counts  The Beckhams among its clients 

While James has a successful acting and presenting career, his wife Julia runs a hugely successful and popular interior design company.

With a background in TV production, talent management and PR, she founded Charles & Co in 2016 with Vicky Charles, who was the design director for Soho House having worked for the group for 20 years.   

The pair were introduced by Soho House CEO Nick Jones and set up the business while Julia was taking time off to have her children.

She handles the business side of Charles & Co, recently telling The Telegraph her role is ‘to allow Vicky to be as creative as possible.’

High-profile clients include the Beckhams, the Clooneys, Emma Stone, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis. 

Builds for the pair usually include a ‘social, club-like spaces’ within their homes, including bars, wine cellars, playrooms and even libraries. 

Meanwhile others might value a recording studio, with Julia revealing: ‘Being able to record a little voiceover without having to leave your house can make a huge difference, especially if you live outside the city.’  

A WW SPONSORSHIP DEAL TO ADD TO HIS EARNINGS

Slimmed down: The star revealed in the New Year that he has signed up to the health and fitness programme to help shift the conversation around wellness

Younger days: He shot to fame on TV scripted series Fat Friends back in 2000 (pictured)

Slimmed down: The star revealed in the New Year that he has signed up to the health and fitness programme. Pictured left in 2018 and right in 2000

Earlier this year, James was unveiled as the new ambassador for WW, previously known as Weight Watchers, after becoming ’embarrassed’ over his body. 

During a chat with Oprah Winfrey on WW’s Facebook page he revealed he ‘hates’ doing exercise but his wife Julia plans circuits for them to do. 

James revealed in the New Year that he has signed up to the health and fitness programme to help shift the conversation around wellness.

He said: ‘I want to change the way that I live. I want to be better for my children and for my family. I don’t want to wake up tired, or feel embarrassed when I’m chasing my son on the soccer field and out of breath after three minutes.’

James joins fellow stars DJ Khaled and Robbie Williams in representing the brand and using the platform to get in shape and change their lives.

The TV star, who first burst onto TV screens in scripted series Fat Friends in 2000, said: ‘The weight is not the issue, it’s the wellness of it I am ready to tackle. I’m going to take this year and work towards getting healthy… 

James has been candid about his weight struggles in the past and back in 2017 he shed six stone in weight and found major success in Hollywood, however he has also admitted the one food that he can’t stop eating is bread.

Speaking about the last time he was ‘off bread’ for dietary reasons, James recalled an incident while he was out at dinner saying: ”[I have] a sort of battle with food…

‘Then they delivered this basket of warm, fresh bread and we’re like, “It’s happening, we’re doing it. Who are we trying to kid?” ‘It’s our nemesis, it’s out to destroy us!’   



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