Was this the breaking or rather freezing point for Texas?
Below-freezing, ice-cold, and frigid temperatures are a huge part of people’s lives during the wintertime in Colorado. Since in Colorado we are used to the snow and sleet and ice, it was difficult to wrap our minds around how dire the situation in Texas was. Texas, however, does not have all the precautions that Coloradans have. However, this was definitely not the case as everyone in Texas is accustomed to very warm, sunny, and definitely not freezing temperatures.
People died, not knowing how to deal with this weather, and Texas’ not very efficient power lines failed during the storm, leaving so many people without power. Not knowing how to drive in these strange conditions, there were many accidents, and trucks couldn’t get to stores, leading to food shortages. A huge problem has been the homeless population during the freak storm. Having no home and due to COVID restrictions in all of the homeless shelters, many have been left out in the cold. Many people could freeze to death or get life-threatening injuries such as frostbite and hypothermia. So, volunteers have been rushing to make space and get food and blankets out to people in need. Not only can people die in the cold, but issues like hypothermia can rise.
Many people died as a result of the frigid temperatures which resulted in frozen roads and as a result, fatal car crashes. A bigger car crash went down with 133 cars getting piled up. There was an estimate of about 6 people dead and about 65 more being taken to hospitals to receive treatment.
133 car pile-ups are very uncommon and deadly. With these frigid conditions, ambulances were having trouble driving as well. No one was prepared for this awful weather, even emergency services. People who have lived in warmer states are not accustomed to driving on icy
roads. Not only are their vehicles appropriate to drive in these conditions but the citizens of Texas do not have the adequate knowledge to know how to brake, drive, or what gears to appropriately drive.
Millions of people are still without power in their homes, causing an inability to take baths, cook, and turn on heaters.
During cold weather, a huge threat is hypothermia and properly regulating body temperature. If there is no heating in the house, people cannot stay warm and healthy. An issue many parents are facing is how to keep their children warm as children are much smaller and need more help from outside sources to maintain a healthy and normal body temperature. This has also caused a dilemma in school. With COVID, many schools were online or hybrid of some sort. However, with lots of electricity being down, teachers and students alike are unable to get online or stay online. So, education is getting backed up. Adults are unable to work in these awful conditions as well, especially those who work in the outdoors of some sort. Even people who have to drive to work are unable to at this time.
Working from home via computer and the internet is also a challenge as many people don’t have electricity right now or don’t know how long their electricity will last before going out again. People have been having to boil water to create some sort of heat.
Shortages of water have also been taking place as pipes have all frozen over and cracked. Not only is this an issue now, causing shortages of water, but experts have estimated that repairs in total will cost an insane 10 billion to 20 billion dollar range. This is an insane amount of money, worrying government officials and taxpayers alike.
An issue has been hospital patients. Those who are on life support or have oxygen machines that are operated through electricity have had issues as the electricity has been flickering on and off constantly. Unfortunately, there is also a global pandemic going on right now. So, those who have COVID and need breathing machines and treatments 24/7 to stay alive and recuperate from this awful disease were unable to receive the extremely important treatment that they need. Governor of Texas, Ted Cruz, also temporarily vacated the state during this crisis, vacationing to Mexico.
This resulted in Governor Cruz receiving lots of backlashes. It was portrayed as Cruz fleeing his defenseless state in the middle of a huge crisis instead of providing support in any way. However, from the other side, people argued that even if Cruz had stayed, there was nothing he could’ve done to improve the conditions for the people of Texas at the time.
Texas experienced something that was seen as a “once-in-a-century” crisis. Much of the state has now recuperated and gone back to normal life. There are still many ways to help, such as donating to homeless shelters or volunteer organizations that help in these situations. Despite the hardships, as stated by the revered Walt Disney, “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” The people of Texas have learned and come together from this difficult experience showing that unity is possible, even in the most difficult of situations.
Story By: Joey Jung, Class of 2023