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Rebuilding From Disaster: Texas Cold

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 4:05 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 4:29 PM EDT
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(WHSV) - In the middle of February 2021, historic cold hit the Great Plains.

“It’s already cold in my apartment,” said Treasure Thaggard, a Texas resident.

The state of Texas was hit particularly hard. Two winter storms with several inches of snow and significant ice hit the state, followed by brutal cold.

“It’s colder inside our house now than it is outside,” said Sherry Mushinski, a Texas resident.

The cold stressed heaters as people were trying to stay warm. The electric grid was overloaded and millions lost power. “It’s very unbearable. I mean we had the car but you know if you leave a car too much on, your battery will die so we had to turn it off sometimes for up to like 4 hours just so the battery wouldn’t die,” said Texas resident, Jennifer Mendoza.

Many areas in Texas dropped below zero. One of the coldest spots was in Liberal, Texas which is in the northwestern part of the state. Temperatures dropped to -16 degrees at one point.

“A lot of the generation in Texas is well designed for our summer heat but it’s not as well designed for the colder temperatures that we’ve experienced over the last few days.” said Thomas Overbye.

This wasn’t a one night event. Many places in Texas did not get above freezing for 10 days which led to numerous pipes frozen and busted. “They were thawing out some of the piping with blow torches, small propane torches. Crews were working through the night in cold temperatures,” said Arturo Garcia, a utility manager.

Some electric bills skyrocketed to tens of thousands of dollars. “I can’t afford a $17,000 electric bill,” said Johnny Saginileni,” who was charged with one of these bills.

The farming industry suffered major consequences especially with cattle. “We couldn’t just sit in the house. We had to feed every day. It was pretty devastating every day and it sure got old and it sure got cold,” said farmer and rancher, Joe Wilder.

There was a silver lining though for farmers. “We should have one of the best farmer years we’ve had and its just because the ground froze,” said Wilder.

Electric companies had to re-evaluate their operations to avoid another situation like the one in February. Six months later, Texans received great news. Texans did not have to pay for the thousands of dollars in electric bills since electric companies were at fault.

More than 200 people died due to the cold just in Texas.

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