Weather woes on Wednesday
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
It's no smiling matter, but I couldn't help the alliteration - it just begged to be written.
Things are very dire here in Texas. Millions of people are without power, and thus heat, during the coldest weather of the winter, much colder than we would even see in a typical winter. Having lost power (and water) myself, I appreciate these things much more than ever before.
I blogged about a dangerous trip home on icy roads last Sunday evening. I thought I was home to stay, safe and warm. No such luck! The power went out very early on Monday morning, around 1 AM. And, for some reason, the loss of electricity set off *all* of our smoke detectors, screaming and wailing nonstop. I was too tired to think clearly, so dd and I got almost no sleep. We may well have lost some of our hearing as well, because the smoke detectors were so loud.
We then started experiencing 'rolling blackouts.' Only that really isn't what they were. To me, a rolling blackout would be having a few hours with power, and then maybe one hour without. What we got would be two to three minutes with power, then an hour or two without. Then another two to three minutes with, etc., etc. Believe me, two to three minutes is *not* enough to charge one's cell phone, let alone to heat one's house. And it kept on like this for the entire day! We stopped getting excited when we had power, because we knew it wouldn't be for long.
Meanwhile, after consulting with ds, who said he had no idea why the smoke detectors were going nonstop, I took his advice, and pulled the battery compartments out, and silenced the detectors. Blessed relief! Then there was the other sound problem - every time the power came back on, our security system alarmed - very loudly - for probably two or three minutes. The smoke detectors had been bad enough, but their noise stayed in the house. The alarm blasted the whole neighborhood - in the middle of the night, or whenever. I was just mortified, but had no idea how to stop it. The alarm system came with the house, was worthless to begin with, and has been nonfunctional for years. I knew all our neighbors hated me. :-(
Luckily for us, we have a fireplace, and I had put in a decent supply of boxed firelogs, not to mention a few real logs, so I kept a fire going, and sat in front of it. But when the power came on, I saw that the temp with the fire going was only 51 degrees. Not exactly pleasant.
And, right around the time our power went out, we also lost our water. Double whammy. We had some bottled water, and Cecily gathered some snow to melt and flush with, but the situation was beyond horrible. At that point, a very sweet friend, who was one of the lucky ones who hadn't lost power, insisted that I get a motel room. She found one nearby and made the reservation for me. And my wonderful neighbor Dennis told me how to stop the alarm from going off (find the control box, which was hidden deep in my bedroom closet, and unplug it).
Dd and I drove to the motel Monday evening - even though it was very close, it was a hazardous trip, since all the snow, snowmelt and rain on the roads was frozen. But we made it safely, and have been here ever since. We have heat, and we have water, and we are so unbelievably lucky to be able to be here. My son's house had had power off and on, more like what a rolling blackout should be, but they also were without water. His fiance and her housemates had water, but no power. (Ds came to our motel just to get a hot shower, and he was *so* happy to finally get one.)
More people got power back today, but there are still millions without it, And my house and my son's house are still without water. Texas is being blasted every which way to Sunday. I hear that west Texas still has power, because fewer people, but they are making up for it by having huge snowstorms, plus of course sub-zero weather.
During the days, with the sun shining, many of the roads are clear and drivable. However, at night, everything freezes over again. And tonight in particular, we are getting more freezing rain. I think it's predicted tomorrow night too. Aaaaaargh!