A letter from the dark, thirsty and frozen Texas

Below is a letter from a good friend, Steve Huntley, who moved from Chicago a few years ago to Texas. Think you have it bad? Keep reading:
Greetings from the frozen tundra of central Texas. Snow and ice every where.
Yes it’s cold down here — what you Chicagoans expect in a normal winter, but what we’ve experienced the last several days, like 14 degrees at 10 am with a wind chill of 6 the other day or 7 degrees at daybreak, is historic stuff down here. The only heat being generated is from the raging debate over how significant to the power losses was the failure of wind turbines. Who knew Texas was a national leader in wind energy?
I’m sure you’ve read about the millions in Texas without electricity, some for 3 or 4 days. We’ve been lucky that we haven’t be suffered from a power failure or from one of the rolling blackouts. But my wife worries about the possibility constantly.
On Tuesday, I spent more than half an hour raking snow — yes, you read that right, raking snow. I of course don’t have a snow shovel and my garden shovel isn’t a good substitute. So I first tried using a broom to push the snow away. That might have worked Monday right after the 3-4 inch snowfall when the snow was fluffy, but not Tuesday after the night’s freeze hardened it. So I tried a rake and it worked surprisingly well. After all that work, my wife called the nearby supermarket to learn that it had had no food shipments so there was no reason for me to go there — and therefore no reason to rake the snow.
Like I said, the good news is that we haven’t lost power. That’s good if for no other reason than yesterday afternoon we got a boil-water notice from our utility. Then last night came a notice to conserve water because of the lack of reliable electric service at the water plant.
More freezing rain and ice came yesterday and we may get more tonight. I haven’t left the house since Saturday except to take the dog out, to rake the snow off the driveway (a waste of time since the supermarket reported no food shipments) and to rake the ice off the back porch in case we needed to use the grill to cook.
The supermarket didn’t even open yesterday and was open for reduced hours today but we didn’t go out because of the hazardous icy roads. We’re down to two eggs, a quarter of a gallon of milk, a half-loaf of bread, a couple of cans of soup, a can of beans, a few slices of turkey breast, a couple of boxes of cereal, some meat in our freezer and a few other things. We’re not in danger of going hungry but the reduced circumstances of our freezer/refrigerator are producing some unusual dinner options. We may soon be eating the ribs my wife bought to cook for her mother’s 94th birthday dinner celebration. Because we live so close to the supermarket (2 minutes away) and pass it every time we come home, we got out of the habit of doing a big weekly shopping trip to stock our refrigerator and instead fell into the habit of to just picking up what we need every day or two. I expect that will change.
A Chicago friend suggested he could FedEx some food to us. My response: lol. Haven’t see a FedEx or Amazon Prime truck, usually daily visitors to our neighborhood, in nearly a week.
A change in the weather tomorrow will rescue us with a warming trend that will reach 70 in the middle of next week. Happy days will be here again! Or, if you prefer, the warming will make Texas great again!
    Cheers, Steve
Here’s an update:
Made it to the supermarket today. No eggs, no milk, no meat, no fresh produce, a few cans of peas and beans, row after row of empty or mostly empty shelves. Cream of mushroom must be a very unpopular soup as it was the only one still on the shelf. Did manage to get some wine.
Thankfully, the big thaw has set in. Melting ice and opening roads should mean food deliveries to supermarkets later today or tomorrow.

Filed under: Weather

Tags: Steve Huntley, Texas weather


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  • I feel bad for the people in Texas. I'm happy to see my tax money be spent trying to provide some relief for the people there and I hope it warms up soon, so they can provide some relief for themselves.

    I also hope they remember this when it comes to choosing the people who make decisions about maintaining their power grid. This is the second time in less than a decade the decision not to winterize their power supply has had catastrophic consequences for the people in Texas. Their current Governor has stated that they would rather have these sorts of outages than fall under federal regulations. That is certainly their choice. But, I'd be willing to say that they've now fooled the rest of us twice and shouldn't be given a chance to fool us a third time. The next time their power grid fails them because they've chosen not to take even the most basic of steps to prepare it, they can use that freedom to keep themselves warm and maybe my taxes can go towards something else.

  • In reply to dave77:

    Edit: I misattributed a quote from a recent Governor of Texas to the current Governor of Texas. Mea culpa... The current Governor of Texas did blame something that isn't law and hasn't been implemented anywhere for all of this, so we'll see what happens the next time the people of Texas go to the polls.

  • Texas is a miserably run state, period.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    How miserable does that make Illinois, considering the number of people from Illinois who migrate to Texas?

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Texas is a great state,except for the Republicans that run it.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Illinois is a great state except for the Democrats who have run it into the ground. With the help of the RINO Republicans who are a subset of the Democrat Party here in the Land of Leavin'.

  • I read somewhere that most of the members of the Texas power commission don’t even live in Texas and appoint each other to the board. The names of the board members have been deleted from the website. This sounds like an Illinois/Madigan type of situation.

  • In reply to Get out of IL now!:

    Get out, Get out. Madigan has nothing to do with the problems they've had in Texas. No matter how you feel about him, why use what's happened in Texas to take a cheap shot at him.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Madigan can afford all the cheap shots taken at him, considering how much he and his law firm profited from his legislated corruption.

  • Texas and Florida are expensive for all of us. Between 2017 and 2020 FEMA spent $7.7 billion on Texas and another $6.3 billion on Florida. The two of them combined account for nearly a third of FEMA expenditures for those years.

    I wonder how many dollars Illinoisans will be sending to Texas this year.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    If rate stays constant, it is about $10 per person per year... So, IL has about 12.5 million people, so about 125 million from Illinois this year. That seems fair, right? Reasonable cost for the people of Illinois to pay so that the people in Texas can keep their freedom from regulations.

    Maybe that's why people leave IL for Texas and Florida... It's cheaper.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    The Demokratik People's Republik of Ill-noise (also known as Lord Pritzker's Fiefdom) doesn't have a pot to piss in - they have a huge budget hole thanks to the egregious pensions and handouts to unions they've been granting for decades to buy votes

    Illinois isn't sending ANY money to Texas, it's hoping China Joe Bribem will send billions in federal tax dollars to help temporarily patch over their long-term structural budget defects that were aided and abetted by life-time criminals like Madigan

  • > Illinois isn't sending ANY money to Texas

    True. It's just the people who live in Illinois doing so. Thank goodness you clarified. Given that jnorto said:

    > how many dollars Illinoisans will be sending to Texas this year

    Good thing that you spoke up. I mean, how many people will think that 'Illinoisans' doesn't mean 'people from Illinois'? I feel better.

  • This works really well for us, thank you!

  • In reply to Brandonn:

    This works really well for us, thank you!

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