Greetings from the disaster zone that is central Texas.
Don’t worry about me. We were in a better position than many Texans, since we had camping gear, plus we grew up in cold climates. So we endured several days without electricity, heat, or running water, but we found workarounds. I even managed to get a little bit of work and writing done—between huddling under blankets and putting food in the snow and figuring out how to recharge devices.
Let me tell you about the Icepocalypse! Songbirds froze to death. Cars were stranded on every road, as people desperate to buy food or water ventured out of their freezing homes. “Open” signs remained in the windows of stores that were closed and abandoned, including major chains. No one had time to take the signs down. People went skiing or snowboarding or sledding on hilly streets that normally carry tons of traffic. People chopped ice out of swimming pools in order to be able to flush toilets.
It’s pretty surreal. I grew up in a place where ice storms were a regular thing, but obviously, Texas ain’t prepped for that. Southern homes are not well insulated. They get cold easily, and apartments have sprinkler systems with delicate pipes that are not designed for deep freezes.
I’m not going to pretend to have answers about how to strengthen the electric grid. I’m sure it’s complicated af.
But I will voice my criticism about the electric utilities’ poor communication. Millions of people got one text message that said: “Expect rolling blackouts that may last up to 40 minutes.” That was it. Nothing more. The second-most populated state in the U.S. lost power for nearly a week without any warning, with no updates, and no apologies. Who’s in charge of public relations over there?
The icicles started to melt today. It will be in the 60s F next week, and we should have running water by then. Yay!