Residents across the state, including in North Texas, had to deal with several issues related to the winter storm, including prolonged power outages.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) initially said the outages would last 15-45 minutes but it ultimately lasted for three days or more for some residents.
Because of the unusually cold temperatures and in many cases the inability for heaters to function a new problem emerged – busted water pipes.
Brandon Barth, emergency services manager for the town of Flower Mound, said the fire department received 379 calls for service between Sunday and Friday. Tuesday the department had an 85-percent increase in calls.
“Some were standard, and some were related to the snow, the ice and the power outages,” Barth said.
Barth said multiple departments in the town helped in the responses.
In addition, the Flower Mound Fire Department sent its ambulance bus to 52 nursing homes in the region to help with evacuation. It also sent a water tender truck to Southlake to help with a water deficiency.
Residents across North Texas took to social media to either share their experiences, ask questions on how to manage or offer assistance.
Josh Miller, a Denton County plumber, described on social media what he witnessed earlier in the week as residents began feeling the effects of the freezing temperatures.
“In all my years of plumbing I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. “I talked to over 200 people throughout the day (Monday). Saw five homes completely flooded, multiple customers in tears because of their homes being destroyed and nothing that could be done to help them.”
Miller described the challenge residents faced with trying to protect their plumbing but not having the heat to do so.
“Even with faucets dripping, if you don’t have heat it’s just not helping … still seeing pipes freeze and bust,” he said.
Denton County resident Jennifer Turner was one of several residents whose water line froze and burst. On social media she said, “… we had Niagara Falls spewing and flowing. Our water valve was submerged under an icy slush mixture of water and mud. No fun trying to feel for it while water is spraying and freezing all over you and you are panicking.”
Barth said the fire department also responded to several structure fires, some of which are believed to have started from the fireplace.
“It’s important for people to remember if they have a wood-burning fireplace to maintain the chimneys and make sure they’re clean so creosote won’t build up,” Barth said.
The weather caused other problems. With many water treatment plants not operational, several North Texas cities issued boil water notices. As of Friday, Flower Mound was not one of them.
Because of the lack of electricity and/or water, plus icy conditions, many businesses shut down for two to three days, including restaurants and grocery stores, making it difficult to find food and basic necessities.
Lewisville ISD cancelled in-person and virtual classes last week. Classes resume Monday.