Sea Turtle Inc. in South Padre Island started rescuing stunned turtles on Sunday and told locals to contact them if they see turtles in need.
Sea turtles become “cold-stunned” when water temperatures go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cold-blooded animals become sluggish and lethargic when their body temperatures plunge, according to National Geographic.
Temperatures on the state’s southern coast dipped into the 20s this week, even though average highs for this time of year are in the 70s, according to the National Weather Service.
The nonprofit issued an emergency alert via social media at 2 a.m. Monday when it lost power and could not sufficiently heat the turtles’ tanks. By afternoon, it had hundreds of turtles in its facility and moved hundreds more to the city’s convention center.
“We have been so pleased with the community acceptance … but all of these efforts will be in vain if we do not soon get power restored to our facility,” Wendy Knight, the executive director of Sea Turtle Inc., said in a Facebook video posted Monday.
By early Wednesday morning, however, SpaceX installed a commercial generator that was able to bring power back to the facility. Knight said organizers still need to “assess the damage that has been done” while the power was out, and 10 of Sea Turtle Inc.’s tank heaters broke during the outage.
Meanwhile, volunteers throughout the area, many without heat and power in their own homes, volunteered to rescue as many turtles as they could, city officials said.
Utility crews raced Wednesday to restore power to nearly 3.4 million customers around the U.S. who were still without electricity. The latest storm front was expected to bring more hardship to parts of Texas, Arkansas and the Lower Mississippi Valley before moving into the Northeast on Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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