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Central Texas experienced historic winter weather the week of Feb. 14, with a stretch of days below freezing. Sleet followed snow followed freezing rain, leading to a breakdown of the electric grid and widespread power outages. Water reservoirs were depleted and frozen pipes burst, leaving some without service for days.

The Travis County Medical Examiner Is Investigating 86 Deaths During The February Freeze

Ice covers tree branches and telephone wires during the winter freeze.
Julia Reihs

Nearly 90 people died in Central Texas during February's historic freeze, according to the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office.

Sixty-four deaths were in Travis County; another 22 were in nearby counties. The medical examiner will determine whether the deaths were due to hypothermia, carbon monoxide poisoning, crashes and other causes linked to the freeze that crippled the state.

Travis County Public Information Officer Hector Nieto said the office will release a report after concluding its investigation. It can take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to investigate a single death, he said, so it's unclear when that will be.

The number of deaths in Travis County, first reported by the Houston Chronicle, far exceeds the official state count of nine.

The Department of State Health Services says 111 people in the state died overall as a result of the freeze. The Chronicle on Thursday put that figure at 194. It based its number on analysis of news accounts, medical examiner investigations and lawsuits. Still, that's likely an underestimate, given Texas' system of reporting deaths in smaller counties, which can take months.

Got a tip? Email Andrew Weber at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.

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Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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