Wednesday, February 17, 2021


The freeze disaster in Houston (and a large majority of Texas) just gets worse almost by the hour...

Woke up to more sleet and freezing rain.  With the melting snow and rain and temps in the low 20's, things turned to ice on the roads AND now the power lines.

There are now 1.5 million people without power, up from yesterday.  There are homes in Houston where dripping water faucets have turned to solid ice and pet water bowls INSIDE the homes have frozen over.

There are apparently a large number of fatalities that are being reported, not just from carbon monoxide and house fires but just exposure.  They are actually giving people the warning signs of hypothermia for the first time in our history. 

Those up North are probably wondering why all of this is happening.  It's worth reminding people that our homes and indeed our entire infrastructure of electricity, water, roads, bridges, even the internet lines, are built around staying cool in our oppressively hot and humid weather.  They don't build things or prepare for Winter weather like this because we never have it...

And then the hits kept coming.  This morning we all awoke to a mandatory boil water notice for all of Houston.  We noticed pressure was low...and then we received this from our building:

Dear residents,

As some of you may already know, due to the frozen water lines, all of Houston is now experiencing loss of water, including our building. This is a citywide issue and we do not have an expected time frame as to when this issue will be resolved. 

Please be advised that due to our boiler system, with the water lines being frozen, we are expecting to lose heat. For updates you can text the keyword WATER to 713-526-1111 for the latest on the water situation. We also encourage you to call 311 for more information from the city. 

We hope you all are staying safe and warm. We will send more updates as soon as we receive them.

So now we have no water.  I mean, you turn on the taps and NOTHING comes out.  This is for ALL of Houston.  2.5 million people are now without water.

Thankfully we have a 5 gallon water bottle I just loaded into the dispenser the other day and a second one stored.  We have some smaller water bottles as well.  Of course we would have filled the tub to use for the toilet but there was no warning.  We just woke up and got an alert that there would be no water.  Sigh.  Also note in the building message I posted that there may not be heat either.  We're fortunate that because our building is a high-rise, it is built of concrete with 12 inches between units and 16 inches between floors and ceilings.  That makes it kind of like a cave or underground home, the temperature stays within a range (except for Summer, ha).  As long as we have power we have electric an electric blanket to keep warm and plenty of quilts.  Also have some nice flannel pajama pants and sweatshirts.  Oh and wool socks.  When we lived in the house, the floors could get cold in the Winter being pier and beam so I had us well stocked with warm clothing.  Grateful we have it now.

To top it all off, another Winter storm is coming but we think no moisture, which is good.  Lows Friday however could be back into the upper teens.  That will not help an already worsening situation in the Houston area and most of Texas.


  1. Please keep yourselves warm - hug each other and your lovely cat. Very much thinking of you 3 and Texas as you cope with this freeze. Much love, Michelle in Wellington, New Zealand.

  2. I'm so sorry. I hope all stay safe, and will send postive thoughts to the states people impacted.

  3. I am watching the news in horror.
    Stay safe.

  4. i've been following this on the news and it's just awful! can you guys go to the farm if it gets too bad in the city?

  5. we are following this on the news feeds; it's unreal that this is happening to you. I worry about hobart; please keep him warm.

  6. Our county shut our water off this morning so have been gathering up snow, melting it and boiling it so that I can do dishes. One thing we have plenty of is SNOW.
    One lady called into the radio station this morning saying they have no electricity, no water but they do have a fireplace to keep warm but they had run out of firewood so in the meantime they have been sawing up their furniture for the fireplace just to keep warm. She mentioned; right now we have no kitchen chairs or table, their long bench was cut up along with bookcases, etc. They are doing what they can and use what they can just to stay warm.
    What a shame that some have to go to great lengths just to keep warm but like she mentioned; a person has got to do to stay warm.

  7. Wow, I knew it was bad in Texas but not that bad! What a horrific experience for everyone. Many of us out west are prepared for this type of thing and I did not think about the warmer climate areas being unable to deal with the frigid weather. We have family in the Portland area that have been without power for days due to the ice storms that came after the snow storms. Especially tough on the seniors and those with small children. Hope things moderate for you soon there!

  8. I'm so sorry you folks down in TX are in such dire straights. It sounds like the lack of preparedness which folks are expecting their community/city/state leadership to be on top of is in need of replacing.

    I follow a guy on YouTube who tends to post some pretty smart and usually pithy political commentary. I don't share his stuff to large groups because he has been pretty critical of our former president and the recent GOP, and folks I would have never imagined were Trump supporters are upset by his opinions. He is NOT a democrat btw.

    Anyway, Beau has made a number of potentially really useful suggestions for some ways to produce heat safely. And then he adds a bit of a rant about the sad state of the power grid in TX and the useless politicians who knew this EVENTUALLY would happen, yet did nothing to prepare for it.

    Check it out, and share his ideas. It may help someone you know.

  9. My sister-in-law lives in Pasadena and hasn't had power since Sunday. I hope you all stay safe and warm until the weather breaks.

  10. Terrible situation to be in. Stay safe and be patient. You guys are smart and will get though this. Thanks for the update. I've been wondering how you've been.

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  12. Its scary for you guys. Even in the North, where we are used to this stuff, we would still need a little warning about the water. But even that wouldn't be devastating if there was snow available. For us, if our backup generator failed, we would simply drain the pipes and go to the neighbors where there is a wood stove and unlimited firewood. It would be tough living in an apartment building. Even if you do everything right, there is always a chance that your neighbor's pipes will freeze and flood you out.

  13. Somebody needs to quit effing shaking the snow globe! All kidding aside I'm praying and my thoughts are with everyone affected. Statewide it's bad and here in Austin they are making the tough call to even evacuate hospitals because of power and water issues. All of Austin on a boil water notice that's if you even have power. So many businesses unable to open and lost perishable grocery goods causing shortages as well.

  14. We haven’t had water since Monday, something froze on the well head. On the plumber and the well guy’s list but who knows how long that will take. Fortunately I had filled the tub half way with water and we had 3 Costco cases of water. We even scraped snow and added to the tub for toilet flushing water. But 3 days and counting...I’d love a shower. Be sure to budget for a whole house generator at the farm. We installed one after Harvey but never expected a freeze would be the first time we use it. Worked like a champ for the 5 hours we were out of power. On our list now is a well insulated well house! Good luck on keeping your heat for another day at least!

  15. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers, it's such a worry.
    We are experiencing the ice and snow, but nothing like Texas, hopefully a little sunshine will emerge before too much longer.
    Stay warm and safe, and sending well-wishes your way !

  16. How are you flushing the toilet? You need at least 1-2 gallons every time. I feel so bad for you guys. We see the horror stories on the news. I live in VA and we are now getting our ice storm. Hoping we don't get downed power lines, but we do have a gas stove, so we can eat and stay relatively warm. Good Luck.

  17. I think Houston has it much worse the we do just 40 miles sw on Hwy 59. Having spent the first half of my life in the city, I am sympathetic with the problems. Hope things improve over the coming day. Next week looks pretty nice.

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  20. Since weather patterns are changing constantly, and you have now experienced cold, perhaps you will take advantage of your knowledge to make sure that, when you build your new farmhouse, the walls, roof, and floors or crawl spaces are insulated properly so that you don't have property damage.

    Though we in the north do get way worse cold than you can imagine, we *also get extreme high temperatures every summer, often in the 90s and occasionally up over 100 degrees fareneheit; the same insualtion that protects our homes from the cold protects us from the heat of the sun.

    Not meaning to sound like a jerk, but I honestly don't understand why your insulation doesn't do the same, unless it is because a lot of southern homes are built on uninsulated concrete slabs(?) -- I'm asking because I don't get it.

    Even here, the concrete floor of our workshop & our attached garage (for example) had in floor heating strips installed inside the floor...and, there are people here who also have heated driveways installed the same way, they never have to shovel their driveways even in the worst weather... and roofs, a lot of roofs use the same kind of technology to avoid snowload issues.

    I don't mean at all to make light of your situation, I hope you know, stay warm & stay safe.
    Stay warm.

    1. Also in October of 2020, this area actually had a massive province wide storm which saw power knocked out in many areas for 28 straight days -- as we say in the Red Cross, better to be over-prepared than under.
      (This province is 402,522 square miles, vs Texas 432,264 square miles, or vs Virginia 110,786 square miles, for perspective)

  21. I was wondering how you were faring there. It 's a sad state of affairs plus your senator takes off for Cancun! Governor blames it on the Green New Deal!

  22. No helpful comment I'm afraid, just sending you my best wishes and I am thinking of you. We're getting news items in the UK about your situation, and it sounds terrible.
    Just hope the weather changes soon - the weather systems seem much more unstable now, and seem to swing from one extreme to another.


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