Texas residents persevere through storm, power outage

First-person account

Following is personal account of recent strange weather in Texas, supplied by a 60-year-old relative and her husband, who live there.

We knew the cold was coming, but reports told us to expect four to eight inches of snow and rolling electrical blackouts that were predicted last 15-45 minutes every few hours.

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The system came in around midnight Saturday (Feb. 13) with freezing rain and cold all day Sunday. We lost power around 2 a.m. Monday, but it didn’t roll. It was just gone.

We woke up Monday morning to a very cold house, but expected the power would come back on soon. But with no response from the utility company by Monday afternoon, we figured we were in for the long haul. Luckily, we had bought two pallets of firewood at a nursery auction last spring. It was still in our shop so not only were we able to keep warm but were able to share with friends who had none. Friends without a fireplace came and spent the day(s) with us, and we added about four extra quilts on our bed and slept soundly that night.

Apparently the wind turbines in west Texas had frozen, and then the generator stations started freezing. Investigations are now going on to find all that went wrong.

Some residential solar panels froze. All the in-ground pools froze, as did the equipment for them. People in Texas don’t drain their pools in winter, as they are built with safeguards for cold weather. Unfortunately electricity is needed for the safeguards to work.

Most in our area who had a water heater/hot water tank in their attics also had pipes freeze. There were broken pipes and flooding. Ours was in our attached garage, as most are

We know of three families in our area who lost their homes to fire trying to heat with propane heaters or fireplaces. We heard about 70 people lost their lives to hypothermia while waiting for electricity to come back on.

We were able to share some firewood, but were on the receiving end as well. Friends who decided to travel into town (just six miles) always called to see if we needed anything, and we were gifted with at least one delivered meal each day.

The coldest temperatures we know of in our area were -3 F, with a wind chill of -19 F, which translates to -28 C which is very cold for us.  A cold temp would typically be between 10-20 F, and seldom would last for more than a day or two.

We are in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and I heard today there are still some 20,000 or so without power. Our power was finally restored around 5 p.m. Wednesday, and we are back to normal. Personally we had little damage, but many of our friends and neighbours will be cleaning up for weeks.

Many wonderful people in this area  opened their homes to others, delivering food and blankets, firewood, water and whatever was needed.  We consider ourselves blessed.


 

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