For a part of the country that only rarely gets snow, we are having an event. One weather site calls this Winter Fest 2021; my favorite is our bookstore calling it the Ice-pocalypse and that's probably closer to the reaction. We had freezing rain last night. The weather person had to explain to Houstonians what "sleet" is. Then, there was some snow overnight on top of that. We noted blips in the power Sunday evening and were familiar - we shut down computers and other consuming devices planning on a power outage. Around 2 am ours went out and still is, presumably from lines being down. Other parts of the metro have rolling blackouts because some generator stations are down because of the ice.
When we first moved here, lots of people were getting pools in the back yard or outdoor living areas added-on. We assessed the risks of the area and decided it was having a hurricane in August when it's 100 degrees and losing power. We had a whole-house generator installed. It's been hotter than ever last summer and tonight could be a record low in the single digits. Though we didn't think of ice glaze in Houston, I guess the generator works at both ends of climate change extremes!
So, we are OK for now, limiting consumption. This will be a memorable event for this area for years to come; Iowans would call it "Monday".
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Mon, 02/15/2021 - 08:45
Mon, 02/15/2021 - 09:10
Tue, 02/16/2021 - 07:55
Last night was supposed to be the worst. I see at our airport's weather station that it got down to 13 degrees.
Homes here are slab-on-grade, so the PEX pipes run through the attic. The plumbers string them wherever it's convenient because part of the cost savings of PEX pipe is labor. Sometimes they are in the insulation, sometimes not. When the temps are in the teens, it seems conceivable that our ventilated attic could get below freezing. We got up every hour last night to run every tap in hopes of keeping anything from freezing up.
We are fine with the generator, but we hear news reports (as during any cold weather) of people dying from CO. I'm glad to hear of the federal disaster declaration with funding!
Tue, 02/16/2021 - 08:08
...and still no power
Tue, 02/16/2021 - 13:16
Our power returned at 13:18 Central. We are relieved, but possibly not out of the woods yet. There are more below-freezing lows and freezing rain tomorrow. At least we are past last night's record low. Wilson is elated that school is cancelled tomorrow and overmorrow.
Tue, 02/16/2021 - 19:13
Now the Water
Wed, 02/17/2021 - 07:42
Boil the Water
Wed, 02/17/2021 - 12:16
Wed, 02/17/2021 - 13:57
Mid-Day Wednesday (it's Wednesday, right?)
Wed, 02/17/2021 - 14:50
Thu, 02/18/2021 - 07:35
Water Heater Parts
Thu, 02/18/2021 - 08:02
Politicians from our local Congressperson Dan Crenshaw, Railroad Commission guy Sid Miller (it's a misnomer since they control oil & gas), all the way up to our governor Greg Abbott have said that wind turbines solely to blame for our power outages - claiming they don't work when the temperature is below freezing. Do our friends and family in Iowa and Minnesota have a perspective on that?
Fri, 02/19/2021 - 06:55
I tightened up the leaking connections on our water heaters and we all got showers late yesterday. Two of us appreciated a shower. A teenager in our house gave it a shrug and said he still didn't need one. It's still a boil-water, so we are careful and kept it short.
There were no outages overnight, our last hard freeze of this episode. We are still supposed to conserve because some people are still without power since Sunday night. Tomorrow morning will be the last light freeze and we are out of the woods. Then we have to pick up our Presidents' Day flags!
Thanks to all for your words of encouragement!
Fri, 02/19/2021 - 08:16
We are empathizing with you…
Sat, 02/20/2021 - 11:01
Hopefully you've gotten your water back by now, Kem. We can flush again now, it's a bit of work to fill tanks manually. There's still an advisory, likely until Monday. They say testing is needed, so we presume the testing lab is closed over the weekend. Harumph.
Last night was the last freeze for a while so I think we made it. Lots of neighbors have some sort of damage. Even people who figure they did everything right valving/draining-wise, but didn't have power. Yesterday, I turned off someone's water at the meter since they were gone and had geysers out of their backflow preventer and water softener (they install those outside here - smart!). I've ordered another heating pad and controller just like I installed at Mom's house for the exposed portion of our water supply where it goes around the slab. Once we get the generator serviced because of so many run hours and I get these things installed, we should be ready for the next time.
Figuring we are now out of the woods, Amy and I celebrated with cocktails from our previous natural disaster. The "Houston Hurricane" is actually a real drink I found in one of my old cocktail recipe books. The "Hurricane Harvey Wallbanger" is another I mashed up from two drinks by those names. Neither one is very good, but they put a colophon on our experience.
Mon, 02/22/2021 - 08:04
Back to Normal
Things are about back to normal, hopefully for you too, Kem.
The Boy Scout building didn't do as well: it's supplied with water, but is an uninsulated metal building (at least in that section). I brought them Dad's bucket of copper fittings and he had all the right ones. Several of the Assistant Scoutmasters were there fixing the leaks. They would fix one, turn the water on, then find another. They were on 7 by the time I got there.
Our boil-water was lifted yesterday, but there's still no school today. I suppose maintenance would like to have a day to flush endpoints. Wilson is excited for another "snow" day and we hear from the state education agency that we get a makeup day waiver for all of it. Boo!
Thanks to everyone for all your well-wishes!
We didn't see many people out this morning. Wilson insisted I take a photo to commemorate the event.
Then, he went digging around in the garage. I had to ask what for - he wanted to scoop the walk! "Where's our snow shovel?!?" I had to admit we gave all of ours away when we moved to Texas since there's never any snow here...