Store limits water — and brisket — purchases as Texans face power outages, supply issues

Chain grocery retailer H-E-B said Tuesday that it is limiting sales of some items to help protect supply chains as Texans without power scramble to get food and water amid record low temperatures.

The Texas-based retailer announced that it was limiting purchases to two per customer to ensure that people have access to products they need. Some of the items are those one might expect to be in high demand during severe weather events, such as water and propane, while others are slightly less typical, such as brisket and chitterlings.

“Limiting product purchases is a proven way to ensure the best service and product availability for all customers,” it said.

Social media users reported waiting in long lines at H-E-B locations, as well as other stores, around Texas.

More than 3.1 million customers were without power in Texas, according to poweroutage.us, following an unusual cold front that brought freezing temperatures to the state. Residents in the Galveston and Houston areas were hit particularly hard, according to the information from poweroutage.us.

Dr. Cassandra Khatri said her family expected some rolling blackouts due to the weather but weren’t prepared for the extreme outage they’re experiencing. Khatri, who lives in a suburb of Houston, said her family slept in the same room under about a dozen blankets without heat Monday night.

“We did grocery shopping ahead of this, but all the food in our fridge needs to be tossed, so we are getting creative with noodles,” Khatri said. “We still have stove access, because it’s gas.”

Noah Douglas, also from the Houston area, said his apartment was at 38 degrees when he woke up in the morning. He and his roommates are rationing food, hoping they won’t go hungry before power is restored.

“We can’t cook food, because our stove is electric,” Douglas said. “We can’t go to the store, because they’re all closed. We are living on bread that’s almost all gone.”

At least 25 people have died from weather-related causes since Thursday, most of them in Texas, as the cold front began to sweep over the country. Houston police said Tuesday morning that two people, one of them a child, died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a car being used for heat.

Texas officials urged residents to stay off the roads, conserve power and seal up drafty windows and doors as temperatures remain low.