Updated: Feb 25
On February 14th, Texas encountered the most fierce snow storm anyone in our lifetime had ever endured. If your from Texas, a snow blizzard is not common. There is a population of people who travel from the north's treacherous weather to Texas to escape such frigid climates and conditions- Winter Texans they call themselves. For Texas is known for mild winters, usually in an occasional cold front dipping down to 20 or 30 degrees. Some years we have even seen an occasional snow flurry which can prove to be somewhat exciting for we don't normally, EVER get snow. But on February 13th, the forecast predicted snow, specifically fierce ice, with temperatures reaching below 9 degrees, later to be named, Winter Storm Uri.
I have never lived in an area that routinely gets snow, neither do most people living in Texas and as the weather continued to worsen over the course of 5 days, we would all soon find out how unprepared anyone was for these conditions. We would all endure a Texas Power crisis unlike no other. Rolling black outs due to the strain of our power grids, a shortage of power,heat and electricity needed for our Texas homes. Food shortages, limited gasoline, water restrictions and water outages. Unfortunately all leading to a climate of scarcity, fear, and a frenzy of people demanding answers.
Our state was not prepared, as we have never experienced such crisis. Warming centers were created in giant conference centers for people at risk who could not heat their homes such as people with small children, the elderly, and people with health conditions. A man in Houston opened his furniture store as a place of refuge against the severe, icy weather. Obtaining gasoline for your car became a problem, lines outside grocery stores waiting to obtain scarce food and water also became an issue. Trucks that normally transport all the essentials across our state and to our stores were restricted as road closures were mandatory due to the conditions of the weather.
Its hard to even comprehend how quickly everything turned to pandemonium in just a matter of days. How society can turn to desperation, and just how much we rely on the resources of our community. Everything happened so quickly, as my husband and I had just spent the day prior renewing our wedding vows with a few family and friends at out local church.
We planned a small celebration on February 13, 2021, to celebrate our commitment to one another, a celebration of our lives, our marriage, and everything we had endured in the year of Covid, which requires a story all on its own. A happy celebration with a few close friends and family members and within a day our world was taken to a completely different extreme. We went from happily celebrating our wedding anniversary, to a wide city shut down due to the icy road conditions. As the frigid weather continued to swirl its madness we worried how the weather would affect our lives. Bracing for an impact never felt or endured most definitely leaves a feeling of worry with uncertainty. I recall everything like a slow black and white movie of years past, because today, only a few days after the storm. Life has returned to normal, somewhat. The weather is 72 degrees and the sun is shining brightly, while there is no sign or snow or ice. Its literally three days later and it feels like a completely different world.
Today I reflect on Winter Storm Uri and all the destruction it caused. I'm saddened that there was loss of lives, and people left without the essentials of heat, warmth, food, water, and electricity in the middle of a global pandemic. I empathize with the fear and anxiety it caused to so many.
In our own home, we went without power, without heat and without running water. The coldest day resulted in the interior of our home getting to as low as 44 degrees, it was cold, very cold. A feeling we had never endured on the inside of our home. Only to be battled with multiple layers of clothes, blankets, and staying together, nestled in our living-room, surrounded by the light of candles and our fireplace. Hubby doing everything he could to defrost pipes, cover pipes, keep water dripping, and constantly trying to safe guard our little home from the powerful elements outside. And although bleak as the whole situation sounds, we were given warmth and comfort in so many other ways.
I had a dear friend reach out, to welcome me and my little chihuahua into her home, while my husband worked the night shift at the hospital. She lovingly opened her darling, cozy, warm, and fully functioning home. Her husband prepared a delicious meal and we enjoyed a glass of Prosecco. I enjoyed her company and her warm heart. We were able to catch up on life under the most extreme and coldest of circumstances. As many homes were lucky enough to dodge the power outages by having there homes close enough to a mandatory power grid- her home was one of the many that was blessed and it was there that I found a peaceful sanctuary for one night. Thank you Amy. My heart will forever be indebted to you and your husband for your kindness. Thank you to her sweet pups Maggie and Bolt whom welcomed my sweet chihuahua, Cha-cha.
Other people came to aid and offer assistance through supportive text messages, offerings, and acts of kindness. Our neighbors offered the use of their generator to which we connected to with an extension cord. This provided enough power to run a small space heater in our living-room, they also prepared a large carafe of hot coffee. Oh how we appreciated that! And our other neighbors offered up their bathroom for a hot shower and also gave us a gallon of almond milk! Now talk about some awesome neighbors!
Of course the act of receiving is just as good as giving, so thankful to Domino's Pizza, as we were able to pick up a few pizzas for our neighbors as a thank you. I delivered a pizza with a bottle of wine to one set of friends, while my hubby delivered pizza and a mason jar of Bullet Rye Whiskey to another. Most definitely felt like a modern day system of graceful, compassionate bartering. Everything is back to normal now, our power and water have returned, we have been able to restock our essential supplies.
So despite the extreme weather and the desperation due to lack of essential resources we absolutely felt the love of God through our generous, compassionate,loving friends, family, and neighbors. There is no question in my mind that He was right by our side through the kindness of other peoples hearts. So even in the worse and the most extreme, I am grateful for the blessings we received in the coldest of winter storms. Thank you.