Winter Storm Uri left Texans powerless last week, including many of us at C&I.
Last week, temperatures in Texas dipped to historic lows. In Dallas, where C&I is headquartered, the low on Tuesday, February 16, was -2 degrees. And although we joke about the weather in Texas, this past week was no laughing matter. With no power, no water, and frozen roads preventing travel, many of our fellow Texans suffered devastating damages. But there are ways to help, and we hope you’ll consider supporting the Lone Star State. Take it from us, it was a rough week.
Hunter Hauk, editorial director
I chose to decamp to my folks’ house in East Texas through the winter storm, partly because we could combine all of our food stocks to get through the frozen days, and partly because they have a fireplace right in their den that we could all huddle around when and if the power went away. We were blessed to avoid most of the long-term outages and water woes, but we had the rolling blackouts for several days. Some cousins who live at the nearby lake were not so lucky with their heat and power, so they took up residence in a guest room for the duration. We fed the fire, we fed ourselves, we listened to a crank-up radio, and we looked back on the people and stories that make our family so special. Warmth through togetherness, even when it dipped below zero. Reminded me of that old George and Tammy song, “We’re Gonna Hold On.”
Joe Leydon, senior writer [by email from Houston on February 17, during the middle of the storm]
Well, it obviously wasn’t bad enough for me to simply be without power since Monday. Tonight, a water pipe burst in my attic, and my kitchen and laundry room began to flood (and part of the ceiling caved in) before 311 guided me where to trudge outside in the snow (oh, yes, there’s still snow outside) to shut off the water. I will likely be out of pocket until Friday at the very least. But my heart will go on.
Dana Joseph, editorial director
I was so lucky on the power: Mine stayed on except for one scary second. Water was another story. I lost water pressure early on and almost entirely for several — four? — days and was starting to worry about how I was going to keep my family of dogs in water. I filled sinks, shower, and bath with every big Farberware pot and stray tub I could find and harvested the tiny plops and trickles that I could get from the taps. Scant as it was, we had just enough water dripping to get us through and to keep pipes from bursting. My ex-husband kept Skyping me from Indiana to make sure I was doing everything I could to avert disaster. He had me walking the perimeter of my house a couple of times a day to make sure there was nothing crazy-bad going on outside, and he was frantically checking multiple times a day that I knew where to turn off my water at the street. Let me tell you, when the water pressure finally came back and I moved all the water-filled pots out of the way, I was never so thankful to have a nice warm shower.
Click on the slideshow to see images of the snow from our staff.
Michele Powers Glaze, contributor and fact-checker
I’m a tough old broad. I spent those 72 hours under a pile of 2 comforters, 1 quilt, 1 afghan, 2 fleece blankets, and a fleece throw. None were tucked in, so it became quite the tangle! Miss Jones, my loyal kitty cat, also shared my shelter, so I had another warm body at my feet. Pretty boring, though – from 2 am Monday til about the same on Thursday. When I awoke at 2:27 am Thursday, I thought it was morning because there was a soft light in the room. I assumed it was dawn. I was so excited when I discovered it was the glow from the digital clock on my cable box that I couldn’t go back to sleep! I gobbled up all the news I could. So happy to be back in the land of the living!
Andrea Thorp, fashion editor
As a native Iowan, I’ve weathered my fair share of winter storms, complete with fireplace-toasted grilled cheese and candle-lit nights with no return to modern convenience in sight. Even with those experiences under my belt, my home proved unprepared for the Texas “snow-pocalypse” that left my husband and I (and our two fur kids) without power for four consecutive days. A Midwesterner humbled, I laughed with neighbors in a mile-long Walmart line as we prepared to feast on PB&Js for the foreseeable future. While sitting in the dark and cold is never ideal, the conditions brought forth encouragement and camaraderie in the most unexpected circumstances.
Emily C. Laskowski, managing editor
We lucked out. Somehow we kept our power and water and only suffered one burst pipe, which was outside. A few streets in our neighborhood seem to have escaped the storm’s wrath, despite outages all around us. The worst thing about all this for me was wanting to shelter people in your home but there’s no way to get to them. My parents’ house in Austin was 38 degrees inside for 3 days straight. My friends with small babies had no heat, no fireplaces, and no water—and now they’re on a boil-water notice and grocery stores are depleted of things like milk. Yet still for many, it was much worse and isn’t over yet.
Here are some resources and ways to help:
Feeding Texas helps food banks throughout Texas support warming shelters, replace perished food, and feed Texans in need. Feeding Texas also has comprehensive list of food banks across the state, searchable by zip code.
Mutual Aid Funds for Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio are working to provide housing, food, and other support systems to those in need.
Austin Pets Alive!, SPCA of Texas, and Operation Kindness are helping animals in need.
AirBnB Open Homes hosts people in need of emergency housing. If you have space to spare, this program gives free, temporary housing to those in need.
American Red Cross in North Texas, Central & South Texas, and Texas Gulf Coast are all supporting their respective regions.
Photography: (cover image) First Sign of Winter by Kellie Carter