Sunday night’s forecast of 100% chance of 1-3 inches of snow and a low temperature of 11 degrees was almost totally correct. Those of us deep in the heart of Texas awoke to a temperature of 9 degrees F and a wind chill of -7 degrees F. The deck behind my house had 3.5 inches of snow accumulated overnight. It thrust us into a winter wonderland with many complicated problems, the most serious was the lack of power in most places.
The power story is too complicated to share here and really isn’t anything worth reading right now as the facts need to be sorted out. While we rarely have temperatures this cold, it does happen and we have to cope as best as we can. Let’s just say the Texas power grid has not been managed well.
We don’t have snow plows and road equipment, plus elevated freeway interchanges make road closures a standard procedure. Not to mention that most of us don’t know how to drive on ice and snow. I had made a quick trip to the grocery store on Thursday morning for a few items and it was already 31 degrees and raining, time to get home and stay there. Little did I or the forecasters know that this would turn into a multi-day journey in winter’s vengeance!
I made quite a few pictures, but none are stellar as I never ventured past the street in front of my house. I had good, ridged sole boots, but I knew there was a thin layer of ice under the snow and walked carefully. I had hoped to walk up to the corner and check out the main street through my neighborhood, but it was just too cold. Of course, it might have been accomplished if I had just put on a coat and a cap, but I was content with just pictures of the house and then back inside!
The snow was beautiful, but only for a while. The oak trees continued to drop their leaves and in a short time they littered the snow. In time, I walked out around the edge of the driveway and left my foot prints. I walked very carefully so as not to disturb the smooth snow surface and to avoid icy spots.
The dogs had to wait briefly before I let them out Monday morning so I could get pictures before they charged out the door into the winter wonderland. They weren’t too sure about it at first. One turned right around and came back inside to her potty pad, one couldn’t stop exploring and running through it like a snow plow, the others ran around a bit and then got to business.
Everything was wonderful, or so I thought. I had power and water and a crock pot of leftover soup for the day. The snow was beautiful and the day promised to be enjoyable and relaxing. But around 10 a.m. the trouble began when I turned on the hot water faucet in the kitchen and…nothing came out. At first I thought the pipes leading into the hot water heater were frozen somewhere in the wall and had all kinds of horrendous thoughts of the pending disaster. The water heater resides in a small closet in the garage with two openings for ventilation on the outside wall, making it very cold in the closet. I managed to seal them off with no small difficulty and put a small space heater in the cabinet. After a day of worry and spending the rest of the day going from faucet to faucet in the house to make sure they were running at least cold water, by the Grace of God the space heater did the trick and at 5 p.m. the kitchen hot water faucet gave a loud sigh and water burst forth! The tank, and not the pipes, was frozen.
Tuesday morning dawned only a little warmer with power issues becoming more critical. By late afternoon our water supply was threatening to shut down. The snow was getting a little old and boring. Cars had gone up and down the street enough that all remained was the dirty slush which iced over late in the afternoon. The neighborhood kids had enjoyed playing in the yards, but the powdery snow wasn’t yielding any snowmen that looked decent. I swept off the front porch with a broom while wishing the snow would just vanish. Where was the deck? Where was the yard? Where was the driveway? Was it all still there? Enough!
Much to my surprise this morning instead of waking up to freezing rain and 23 degrees, I woke up to a thawing driveway and 33 miraculous degrees. Let it melt was my thought. Of course, the melting process is a big mess and the temperature isn’t really warm enough to do any significant melting. Tonight’s forecast is for more snow to arrive and continue through tomorrow, but temperatures are forecast to remain in the 20’s. After this system moves through we are supposed to warm back up gradually.