Texas check-in February 14, 2021 1:47 AM   Subscribe

Just want to make sure that folks in Texas are staying safe as these storms start coming down. Be careful out there!
posted by Going To Maine to MetaFilter-Related at 1:47 AM (23 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Just want to note that a risk is people using BBQs or whatnot inside to get warm - big risk of CO poisoning. People died that way during power outages up here in Canada
posted by biggreenplant at 8:44 AM on February 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Safe, warm and iced in here in NE Austin. I rarely go out on Sundays after getting home from early morning church, but it feels weird knowing I can’t go anywhere even if I wanted to.

Cooked pozole this morning and planning SansSpaghetti for tomorrow. (That’s our name for a baked spaghetti that I leave the pasta out of.)
posted by erloteiel at 2:16 PM on February 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

Central Austin here. This will be my first deep freeze since I got central heating installed. Used to have a gas floor furnace in the middle of the house and open flame space heaters in most rooms. That kept the crawl space under the house warm so didn't have to worry about the pipes. This year I am worried. its 18° and forecast to go down to 9° overnight only rising to a high of 17° Monday. Been checking the faucets every couple hours and so far they aren't freezing up.

This house was built in 1935 and has very air leaky wooden windows, and no wall insulation. It didn't use to bother me since we had all those unvented space heaters. But this cold convinces me that I need to get this place weatherized. Got the thermostat set at 70° and it's staying around 64°.

I'm wearing two shirts, a jacket, a hat, fleece pants and two pairs of socks and I'm still chilled. Been going to bed off and on all day just to warm up. My cat, Baby Goat, is not coming off the bed at all. We have a heated mattress pad so it's the best place to stay. I feel fortunate that the electricity is still on since it's been off a lot of places in Austin. The streets by my house look icy and I'm not going anywhere until next Friday when it gets over 32°. People here can't even drive in rain so ice causes mass accidents. Sounds like the wind is blowing hard so here comes the snow! Going back to bed.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 7:10 PM on February 14, 2021 [3 favorites]

San Antonio - we have power (in spite of rolling brownouts throughout the city, and some folks without power for hours now). We have some cold water running through taps (but no hot - our HWH is in the attic. Home and safe, with no plans to go anywhere.

My clinic closed - chemo appointments prioritized for rescheduling later in the week. Was able to round via telemedicine on all of my people in the hospital.

We also have one 10-month old bulldog puppy who thinks that snow is THE GREATEST THING EVER, and is asking to go outside every 15 minutes.. and a 3-year old bulldog who is asking to go outside every 20 minutes because she knows she needs to go but can't find her pooping spot because of the snow and is generally a princess who hates getting her feet wet. So yeah. Everything is peachy down here.
posted by honeybee413 at 10:41 AM on February 15, 2021 [6 favorites]

My electricity went out just over 24 hours ago. I am in bed with three shirts or sweatshirt and a light jacket on top of all that, and three layers on my legs to. I’ve got some fresh clean socks on that are dry, and I slipped handwarmers into them. I’ve been out, I ride my bike every day, Sunday was very interesting but not really dangerous, aside from the wind chill or whatever. I dressed for it, layers upon layers, and none of them tight.

Bike ride yesterday was an absolute killer. I wasn’t cold at all except my feet - my toes tend to get me into trouble, and fast. Day before yesterday it was real windy and colder than it was yesterday, but it wasn’t near as dangerous, I didn’t go down once. Yesterday, I went down hard four times, Maybe five. I am sore as hell. Since I had to finish the the ride, By hook or by crook, I ended up pushing the bicycle through 4 to 6 inches of snow I’m at least 85% of the trail. Well, Either pushing through the snow or risking more pain I’m going down.4 to 6 inches of snow packed over ice.

You best believe I’m sure as hell and not at all looking forward to tomorrow. Today it took over four hours on a ride that’s normally 1.25 hours, Give or take.

The funny thing is that I am pretty good at falling, I slip over fast and catch it on my shoulder and on my hip. I was able to do that on the times I went down, but one of those times my tail light jammed into my hip. That is called pain. All in all, a pretty nasty day.

But. Mom Man oh man was it ever beautiful. I saw the sunset from all my very favorite places to see the sunset-


Many people saw the shape I was in and pulled over and asked me if I needed help, or needed a ride, whatever. Really nice people. Austin at its best. But I was determined to get home on my terms. So, I did.

I hope this doesn’t come across too messed up. I’m talking to an iPhone, and while they’re good they are not perfect. I woke up about an hour ago, the pain back on me, giving me no respite. Or, rather, giving me some respite. I sure hope I’m able to sleep long. Hi

Please wish me luck for tomorrow’s ride.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:15 AM on February 16, 2021 [6 favorites]

It snowed 8 inches in Austin! This is the deepest snow I can remember seeing. The electricity went down 2am yesterday (Sunday night) and came back on 3am today (Tuesday). Thanks to the 2 old gas space heaters I still have and the gas stove it stayed about 45°F in the house as opposed to 5°F outside. Still, I stayed in bed most of the time huddled with my cat for warmth. I'm worried about everyone who doesn't have gas space heaters.

I am the only person left that doesn't have a cell phone and thus incommunicato while the power is off, so my sister and friends have been worried about me. It's way too icy to drive so my out-of-town sister, called her in-Austin friend, who called his friend who lives about a mile from me, and he trekked through the snow with soup and apples and water in case mine was frozen. He comes from Germany so he has the clothes and boots for snow hiking. So even shivering in my multiple shirts and pants and socks, I felt warmed by how many people care about me to send in a rescuer.

Just read the weather forecast online and it looks like more below freezing all day. Texas is warning of more rolling blackouts. Even with the heat back on, it's still only 50°F in here at 3:45 am so I think I'm going back to bed. Baby Goat, the cat, is meowing for me to get back in bed and warm him back up!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 1:55 AM on February 16, 2021 [5 favorites]

Just got power back after 22 hours without (2:00am until midnight). House was getting COLD. I had the entire family (two adults, three kids, one dog) huddled in the large master bedroom closet with 20 degree sleeping bags to get through the night, but we're back to a normal temperature now. Not a fun week so far! Hoping the power lasts until at least mid-morning.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:06 AM on February 16, 2021 [5 favorites]

Please wish me luck for tomorrow’s ride.

Good luck on your ride!
posted by Going To Maine at 9:58 AM on February 16, 2021

Arlington here, we had no electricity for 24+ hours. Got down to 35f inside last night. Thanks to a lot of blankets and multiple layers, we all made it. My daughter got some hand warmer packets so the bearded dragon and boa survived and they were honestly a bigger worry than the humans. Lesson learned on that one.

Our heater has been on solid for the past 4 hours and it's about 54 in here. Which means I can use my hands outside of the blankets. I basically just hid under blankets when I wasn't clearing snow or walking the dog, or eating.

The city offered a discount for hotels and any affordable ones were quickly sold out, so I was relieved when the electricity came back on. I wasn't sure I could handle another night.

Texas needs to get it's shit together. How many people are going to die from this outage? This was not just a short hiccough.

Sending warm and thoughts to all!
posted by haunted by Leonard Cohen at 11:54 AM on February 16, 2021 [10 favorites]

Arkansas as a state isn't handling things a lot better than Texas, but, where I live, all the utility lines are underground, so I haven't been too worried about losing power or water in an individual way. That said, both the electric and gas utilities are encouraging people to minimize consumption now to avoid rolling outages later, and the Army Corps of Engineers' hydroelectric dams are running to create reserve power. I turned the thermostat and hot water heater way down, and have resolved to not do laundry or run the dishwasher until we're on the other side of this thing. Most of the rest of the house is pretty energy-efficient (lots of insulation, LED lighting, etc.), so there's not a lot more I can do there.

Friends that live in old houses, or in more rural areas, have not been so lucky. I know people that have lost electricity for extended periods, somebody who has no water after a pipe burst (fortunately, they filled their bathtub early), and someone who's calculating whether they should keep the faucets trickling and take a chance on the well running dry, or close them off and take a chance on the pipes freezing. A lot of people are taking this occasion to be like 'on second thought, maybe I do need a generator.'

I work at a place that's visited by a lot of people experiencing homelessness, and things are really rough for them right now. Two of the day centers have closed this week because they can't safely get staff to the buildings, and one of the overnight shelters shut down after a coronavirus outbreak. City buses aren't running either. A place that does outreach to unsheltered people opened a building at the state fairgrounds that's basically a warm space with running water where you can sleep on the floor. Police are giving people rides there, but many people have very understandable reservations about getting into the back of a police car, even voluntarily.
posted by box at 3:20 PM on February 16, 2021 [6 favorites]

One man, known to people in the homeless community and among the people who work with them, froze to death last night. We haven’t been able to determine if it’s someone who’s a regular at my place, but it’s a distinct possibility.
posted by box at 5:16 PM on February 16, 2021 [4 favorites]

Have family in Shreveport, LA. There's water mains out, mom and grandparents (seperate household a few miles from each other) are under a boil warning, they are having rolling blackouts but haven't lost power completely. Mom reports that the water pressure is very low at her place, she's attributing that to the problems with the city lines not her own pipes. She's very concerned about the ice storm that's going through, because of tree limbs. But they seem to be prepared and safe for the time being.
One family member in Austin lost power. She relocated her and her family to a friend and is holding up fine. The other is experiencing blackouts, but otherwise is holding up well.
posted by AlexiaSky at 1:07 AM on February 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

Since Monday, we've had been without power more than we've had it, but we are lucky that our longest outage so far was only about 18 hours. Some pipes are frozen but nothing has busted yet (that we know of), and we have at least some running water. So we're definitely feeling lucky to be inconvenienced instead of in danger.

I'm in hippo territory & my approx. location is in my profile- if anyone is close enough or desperate enough to get here, you're welcome to come charge devices and have a hot meal, electricity permitting.
posted by Ann Telope at 10:14 AM on February 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

I lost power a few minutes after I made the last post 3:55 AM on February 16 and it just came back on at 1pm Wednesday. Still have partial gas heat, and water is still flowing. Gas space heater kept iy about 45°F in the house. More friends trekked over on foot to check on me. Elec may not stay on as rolling blackouts continue in Texas.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:41 AM on February 17, 2021 [1 favorite]


a little bit cold.

Today was the first day since all the CoVid stuff happened where I was sent home early from work. I'm tech support for a hospital. We went from ~12 on campus at the start of the day to 1. We do that during hurricanes and... hurricanes. We had to because we had pretty much zero water pressure for the hospital, much less the city. Reports of 95% of the city without electricity, too.

Totally worn out.

Totally frustrated.

I have lived a large part of my life in US Midwest states. I am handling this fairly well just knowing we have to live through it, as I have done in many a winter storm. It's not easy watching others stress about this and it's not easy watching the infrastructure here fail, as it was not designed for this type of event.

I'm practically right on the Gulf, to give y'all an idea of why our community isn't prepared.

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE! We have electric, heat and gas. Where we live was just was told to start boiling water. So, as a family unit, we are doing pretty well. Watching systemic failure around us sucks. But, I think I get to go back to the hospital tomorrow and do some good to offset that.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 4:24 PM on February 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

I checked in with Devils Rancher in Austin, they're cold but were doing okay as of mid-day.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:07 PM on February 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

East Ft Worth, had blackout for about 30 hours and spent the night at friends with my two alarmed cats. Now back home really hoping I won't have another one/plumbing issues.

What's irritating about losing power in cold is that your stuff in fridge will still thaw and you can't even cook it. Saved what I could in a plastic box with a locking lid buried in snow in backyard.

My friend in San Antonio is staying with another friend after burst pipes flooded her apartment. She saved some clothes and her laptop but all her furniture may be a loss. And since half the complex had damage they can't just move her to another unit.

About half of my Texas staff have been dealing with burst pipes, no power/relocating and the other half are trying to fill in on their deadlines. And we still had to raise the roof to make an exec back down on a project she wanted to assign them. I barely restrained myself from asking her if she wanted them to handwrite her fucking proposals by candlelight.
posted by emjaybee at 8:49 PM on February 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

And Ted fricking Cruz just flew to Cancun. What an asshole.
posted by mefireader at 10:33 PM on February 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

Another ATX person. We had power outages during the actual ice storm, but have been up since as we're on a hospital/grocery grid.

We have a burst pipe in my kid's closet, I think? But I got it to dry out. We've been running faucets the whole time, so maybe it's from someone else's unit, I dunno. Other units had actual big pipe bursts, though, so our water is going off at some point and not coming back on 'til the weekend, at the earliest.

Which is good that we packaged up a bunch of water when we found out, because now we're under boil water notice even for handwashing.

It's so hard seeing so many people suffering. Folks in better off areas are starting to feel the pinch. I wonder if that will help them make better voting decisions, but I guess we'll see.

Loads of misinformation flowing around. It's so nice to see more people than usual fighting to counter it.

So curious about how our food service/grocery providers are going to recover from loss of perishables and what is bound to be extraordinary demand as soon as driving is a thing again.

FEMA is putting people in hotels, now, and Red Cross will pick people up. Mutual aid orgs are working their frozen butts off trying to save the unhoused and underserved. I'm not sure if anyone needs links to any of that for themselves or their people, but if you're online, easy to look up.
posted by batmonkey at 10:47 PM on February 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

I have a friend down in Benton, Arkansas who I'm a little worried about. They've got power and everything, but don't have a car and rely on deliveries for food and I'm not sure if they are going to run out before everything gets functioning again...
posted by Zalzidrax at 6:17 PM on February 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

And Ted fricking Cruz having been caught, just flew back from Cancun, wasting resources that could help others. What an asshole.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:18 PM on February 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

And then Ted fricking Cruz's friends and neighbors leaked text messages that prove he was lying to The New York Times, because Ted Cruz's friends and neighbors like him about as much as you do.
posted by box at 1:04 PM on February 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

The best thing about Ted Cruz is how much everyone around him loathes him.

The FEMA hotel thing was misinformation, ironically.
posted by batmonkey at 9:24 PM on February 19, 2021

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