Feb. 23 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden plans to travel to Houston later this week to observe the effects of a series of winter storms that crippled Texas' electrical grid and caused millions of people to lose access to drinkable water, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Tuesday.
The president will be joined by first lady Jill Biden for the Friday trip.
"We, of course, remain in close touch with state and local elected officials to monitor the recovery," Psaki told reporters during her daily briefing. "The president will meet with local leaders to discuss the winter storm -- relief efforts, progress toward recovery and the incredible resilience shown by the people of Houston and Texas."
Over the course of nearly two weeks, Texas had temperatures consistently below freezing -- unusual for the state -- and multiple winter storms dumping several inches of snow and ice throughout the region. Overtaxed by millions of residents using electricity to stay warm, the state's power authority instituted rolling power outages that ultimately left many residents without power for days.
The sub-freezing temperatures and lack of heat caused pipes to freeze and burst in many homes and residences, and the power outages hit water treatment plants, which were forced to implement boil water advisories for millions of people.
At least 32 people in the state died from the effects of the storm and power outages, and another two dozen died in neighboring states impacted by the deep freeze.
Psaki said Biden also plans to visit health centers where COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed to Texans.