Texas Struggling with Water and Heating Outage Amid Heavy Snow

Dallas-Texas-Snow-Bushes1 by BigSisLilSis is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

As America deals with record cold temperatures and a sweep of snow storms that have cut power and water in many areas of the South, Texas is one of the hardest hit.

Millions of Texans have lost electricity and heating and frozen water pipes are preventing them from basic necessities of life.

With the roads covered in ice and snow in many areas, people have resorted to melting snow as they wait for the weather to subside.

Tragically, others have died after trying to seek shelter in their car and dying from carbon monoxide and another family trying to light a fire that spread out of control.

What’s it going to take to turn the situation in Texas around?

West Texas Snow by Perry Nichols 1941 American Egg tempera on masonite by mharrsch is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Worst Thing You Can Do

If you are in Texas dealing with freezing temperatures and lack of water, the worst thing you can do is to turn on gasoline-powered engines or devices indoors including generators. The carbon monoxide fumes can kill you much faster than you might think, and even going to the garage to heat up in the car for a few minutes can be extremely dangerous.

The family who died in the house fire were three young kids and their grandma who were trying to stay warm, and Galveston is expanding its ability to store dead bodies, with the actual death toll unknown at the time.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is demanding that an investigation take place into the grid manager of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), but it comes after Abbott has seemed to backpedal a little before that, saying ERCOT was on the job and would have power back in no time.

With some people without power or water for days, reassuring – and incorrect – words from the Governor don’t exactly do anything to help. In fact, just after Abbott promised the situation was taken care of the number of power outages in the state spiked to over 4 million Texans, which is an awfully high amount of people.

The Heart of the Problem

In addition to the infrastructure and power grid failures in Texas which caused this disaster, there are two other key factors that are making it much worse.

One is that the icy roads are making everything else worse. It’s not as bad as what people are used to in the Midwest and north of the country, but for Texans who don’t have winter tires it’s a nightmare that makes getting around extremely difficult.

Texas simply isn’t prepared to get rid of large amounts of snow and ice on its roads because it rarely has to deal with any snow at all. Only a few inches of snow and thin coating of ice are enough to make it very hard to drive, which then gets in the way of finding basic supplies and trying to head somewhere warmer.

Add in accidents and pile-ups and you have a tragic reminder of the other dangerous things that can happen when people get desperate and make a go of it trying to drive in icy conditions.

The second key problem in Texas is that the power outages are even worse because of water outages. Bursting frozen pipes is a disaster and will take a long time to fix after the weather warms up. People didn’t open up their pipes prior to the cold weather spell because they weren’t expecting it, and now the consequences are making this snow storm a lot worse.

As Texas deals with this challenging situation please keep it in your thoughts and prayers.