02-18-2021, 12:41 PM
#1
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Anyone here grappling with the massive winter storm that's covering much of the nation?  It's not so bad here in PA. I feel for those in places like TX and AR who have taken the brunt of the storm.

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 02-18-2021, 12:44 PM
#2
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I run into them on other forums and they are hurtin' units. They just aren't ready for what was thrown at them. But some are getting power back, and I heard from one that it was warming up somewhat.

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 02-18-2021, 01:15 PM
#3
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I'm in Jersey. We just got dumped on for the third time. I saw the situation in Texas and it is terrible. They had no way to prepare for such a storm. I hope everyone there and everyone here is safe. Spring is almost here!!!

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 02-18-2021, 05:11 PM
#4
  • timwcic
  • Active Member
  • St Petersburg, Fl
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So sorry but 82 degrees and sunny today in Florida

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 02-18-2021, 07:10 PM
#5
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I just checked the temperature over the last week in Houston, Texas.

Here in Denmark we had pretty much the same temperature, not quite the same storm though, but how can that kind of weather bring an entire state down to its knees ?

I realise Texas is not used to cold weather like this, but it’s 2021 and it’s not like it’s -20°F. How can something rather simple for developed countries such as power supplies at the power plants break down and water pipes freeze just because there’s a bit of cold winter weather ?

Not trying to joke about this subject at all. Just trying to understand the reason behind people freezing to death and cars sliding around in the streets.

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 02-18-2021, 09:19 PM
#6
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I mean - the last time Texas had something like this occur it was 1989. Even if they had prepared, funding would have been cut over the past 30-odd years since severe cold and snow is so rare. Texas is much more likely to experience high temperatures (37.8C / 100F), hailstorms, tornadoes, etc.

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 02-18-2021, 09:48 PM
#7
  • Johnny
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  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Claus,

Most homes in Texas are built on concrete slabs, no basements.  Here in Wisconsin our water pipes are buried 6 feet deep and come into the home through the basement wall.  In Texas the pipes are buried between 12 and 24 inches and come into the home through the slab foundation.  From there some of the pipes are run through the wall studs to get from one room to another and in some subdivisions they run the pipes up the interior walls into the attic then cross over to what ever room they are going to.  The insulation in these homes was not designed for freezing and sub-freezing temps and the water pipes burst.  It is a mess.  They also do not have snow plows clearing the roads like we do up north.  My sister was without electricity for 57 hours.  She was lucky her pipes did not freeze.  She was fortunate that her cook stove was natural gas and she had a gas fireplace so she could generate some heat.  Most of the newer homes are all electric.

I was raised in Dallas, TX and lived there for 42 years before moving to Wisconsin.  This past week they were colder than we were.  I have never seen weather like this in Texas.  If weather like this ever hit California or Florida, they would be screwed.

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 02-19-2021, 12:40 AM
#8
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(02-18-2021, 09:48 PM)Johnny Wrote: Claus,

Most homes in Texas are built on concrete slabs, no basements.  Here in Wisconsin our water pipes are buried 6 feet deep and come into the home through the basement wall.  In Texas the pipes are buried between 12 and 24 inches and come into the home through the slab foundation.  From there some of the pipes are run through the wall studs to get from one room to another and in some subdivisions they run the pipes up the interior walls into the attic then cross over to what ever room they are going to.  The insulation in these homes was not designed for freezing and sub-freezing temps and the water pipes burst.  It is a mess.  They also do not have snow plows clearing the roads like we do up north.  My sister was without electricity for 57 hours.  She was lucky her pipes did not freeze.  She was fortunate that her cook stove was natural gas and she had a gas fireplace so she could generate some heat.  Most of the newer homes are all electric.

I was raised in Dallas, TX and lived there for 42 years before moving to Wisconsin.  This past week they were colder than we were.  I have never seen weather like this in Texas.  If weather like this ever hit California or Florida, they would be screwed.


Thanks for this explanation, Johnny.

So the plumbing and power supplies are simply not built for very cold weather, since it’s not likely to happen as in almost never ever.

I know Madrid in Spain had terrible weather like this a month or so ago, and homeless people froze to death in the streets.

Gruesome terrible stuff to read about.

I hope they at least consider some proper snow tires for next year, so you don’t see cars sliding around on the roads.

We must also hope they start to build more well isolated houses in the future ahead.

It could be a one off incident in Texas, but why take the chance, they got to prepare for a new cold winter next year.

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 02-19-2021, 11:54 AM
#9
  • DannyZ
  • Member
  • Oberammergau, Germany
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I currently live in central TX, Harker Heights, and this type of weather sucks.  I also had the misfortune to live in Georgia when the polar vortex hit there in 2014. I was one of the lucky ones as I only lost power for 24 hrs and it happened Wednesday, after the lowest temps had passed.  I also have a wood burning fireplace and gathered a large supply of wood as this forecast worsened.  I was able to hunker down and enjoy time with my family.

How unusual is this cold?  2 weeks ago, it was in the 60s and we will be back in the 60s next week.

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 02-19-2021, 12:01 PM
#10
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(02-18-2021, 09:48 PM)Johnny Wrote: Claus,

Most homes in Texas are built on concrete slabs, no basements.  Here in Wisconsin our water pipes are buried 6 feet deep and come into the home through the basement wall.  In Texas the pipes are buried between 12 and 24 inches and come into the home through the slab foundation.  From there some of the pipes are run through the wall studs to get from one room to another and in some subdivisions they run the pipes up the interior walls into the attic then cross over to what ever room they are going to.  The insulation in these homes was not designed for freezing and sub-freezing temps and the water pipes burst.  It is a mess.  They also do not have snow plows clearing the roads like we do up north.  My sister was without electricity for 57 hours.  She was lucky her pipes did not freeze.  She was fortunate that her cook stove was natural gas and she had a gas fireplace so she could generate some heat.  Most of the newer homes are all electric.

I was raised in Dallas, TX and lived there for 42 years before moving to Wisconsin.  This past week they were colder than we were.  I have never seen weather like this in Texas.  If weather like this ever hit California or Florida, they would be screwed.

Great explanation. What I had read was that they didn't have the infrastructure to prepare, and if I'm remembering correctly, they couldn't have been prepared even if they did have the infrastructure. Interesting to know the specifics though I had assumed they just didn't have the necessary equipment or experience dealing with this type of weather. Hope you and your family in Texas are safe.

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 02-19-2021, 01:20 PM
#11
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I have been following it very loosely. They have a commission "ERCOT" it's called, Energy Reliability Commission of Texas. They are supposed to make the necessary changes in the grid to continue supplying power. Then there was a reliance of green energy, but solar panels don't make juice when they're covered in snow and wind turbines don't make juice when they are frozen. Both of those things happened. When ERCOT saw what was happening they did absolutely nothing until it was too late and the grid went down. At that point they were truly screwed. The rest is a state that just doesn't see this sort of weather and when they do they have electrical power; except for when they don't... this time. Their governor has been suggesting that ERCOT all resign. 

If they had this sort of thing frequently they'd be more like the northern states. We live with the winter cold (Maine). Heck, we've been w/o power at -80°F with the wind chill and we were warm, well fed, had watered, and were comfortable. But that's us and not Texas maybe 1500 miles to the south and near the Gulf of Mexico. There is a huge difference in climate.

It's almost the tropics down there and it might be. 

Heck, the sea turtles were in distress in the Gulf and in danger of dying. That never happens.

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 02-19-2021, 01:52 PM
#12
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Part of the problem also is that Texas has its own power grid that is not connected to the other 2 main grids. It is true that windmills and solar energy production can decrease in certain weather, but the way to overcome this is by storage and being part of a larger geographical grid so that power could be generated in other regions to feed the grid when one part of the grid cannot produce. By having its own grid and not enough storage, Texas did not prepare for such a problem. Also, this is a large anomaly in weather. All regions have issues when you have large weather events and complete protection is not possible. But preparation can reduce the impact and speed up recovery. Texas was not prepared. 

When we had hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, we were without power in the middle of freezing weather for 7 days, but we were prepared in advance and the state did a reasonable job of preparing. Bottled water and other required supplies were distributed quite well in my opinion until infrastructure could be restored to working order. I just talked to a friend in Texas in one of the major cities and their water supply is cut off. They have drinking water for 2 days and will have to go out and look for water soon. Nobody is the distributing water or other supplies. Makes me wonder what the state is doing in response.

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 02-20-2021, 01:47 PM
#13
  • Sully
  • Super Moderator
  • Cedar Park, Texas
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I live in Central Texas and I can tell you this weather is an anomaly.  We just don't see weather like this.  We have had snow twice this year, I believe the last time we had snow that didn't instantly melt when it hit the ground was 2008.No one is buying snow tires for a a once a decade event.

My understanding is that solar and wind had a very small role in the loss of power, they accounted for less than 10% of the lost power.  Our natural gas pipelines are not insulated and our power production facilities are not winterized.  Why would we do those things when our average low temperature is around 42f?  Everything that Johnny said is true, we haven't built for this type of weather because we don't get it.  I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and I also lived in Pennsylvania for 3 years.  This weather would have been mild for those places.  Conversely those places would be in dire straights if they had to go through our summer.  The hottest day every in Pittsburg Pennsylvania was 103F  or 39C in 1988, that's just summer in Texas.

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 02-20-2021, 03:14 PM
#14
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I don't think infrastructure can be built to accommodate very rare weather events. It would be too cost prohibitive. There is no doubt the infrastructure everywhere in the US, including Texas can be improved, but power failure and other infrastructure failure would have been inevitable in this case. I think there was a major failure in planning. This was not some sudden event like an earthquake that showed up. Forecasters could see it coming, but there seems to be a major lack of preparedness. Things that could have been done in preparation. Advance preparations could have been made to prepare for distribution of water and other essential supplies and also supplies to prepare for the cold -- simple things like warm clothing, blankets, warming pouches. People could have prepared better for the oncoming cold weather -- things like buying propane if they had propane heaters and stoves, stocking up on non-perishable and easy to cook foods, drinking water...etc. 

Texas would not have the infrastructure to plow and manage such amounts of snow but most states that get regular snow do not have snow infrastructure to deal with major snowfalls that exceed the normal. That is why cities like Buffalo, NY that get large amounts of snow regularly also shut down when they get a snow dump larger than their normal, but it never seems to lead to disastrous consequences. They prepare for the snowfall anomalies in advance and have arrangements to get help in the from of crew and equipment from other states before the storm comes. The Texas government could have sought help in advance from cold weather states and activated other resources in advance. For example, the Texas National guard would have been mobilized and positioned before the emergency started. 

While this was always going to be a difficult situation, I believe proper preparation would had significantly reduced the impact and suffering.

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 02-20-2021, 08:11 PM
#15
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(02-20-2021, 03:14 PM)meshave Wrote: I don't think infrastructure can be built to accommodate very rare weather events. It would be too cost prohibitive. There is no doubt the infrastructure everywhere in the US, including Texas can be improved, but power failure and other infrastructure failure would have been inevitable in this case. I think there was a major failure in planning. This was not some sudden event like an earthquake that showed up. Forecasters could see it coming, but there seems to be a major lack of preparedness. Things that could have been done in preparation. Advance preparations could have been made to prepare for distribution of water and other essential supplies and also supplies to prepare for the cold -- simple things like warm clothing, blankets, warming pouches. People could have prepared better for the oncoming cold weather -- things like buying propane if they had propane heaters and stoves, stocking up on non-perishable and easy to cook foods, drinking water...etc. 

Texas would not have the infrastructure to plow and manage such amounts of snow but most states that get regular snow do not have snow infrastructure to deal with major snowfalls that exceed the normal. That is why cities like Buffalo, NY that get large amounts of snow regularly also shut down when they get a snow dump larger than their normal, but it never seems to lead to disastrous consequences. They prepare for the snowfall anomalies in advance and have arrangements to get help in the from of crew and equipment from other states before the storm comes. The Texas government could have sought help in advance from cold weather states and activated other resources in advance. For example, the Texas National guard would have been mobilized and positioned before the emergency started. 

While this was always going to be a difficult situation, I believe proper preparation would had significantly reduced the impact and suffering.


This post provides me with a lot of good points of view and replies to why the situation in Texas seemed to surprise so many Texans.

It’s not a perfect world of only doing the right thing always, but driving around in heavy snow in cars with summer-tires and not trying to take modest precautions to a forecast, which warned against heavy snowfall just surprised me to be honest.

I do realise it’s quite easy to smile secretly over the fact, that ‘a bit’ of snow can cause major problems in a huge American state like Texas, when they really aren’t use to any snow at all in these regions.

I also suffer, when we have hot summers with temperature around 30-33°c here in Denmark, but that’s considered a cool summer temperatures in Texas :-)

It’s most likely easier to prepare a society for hot weather, than it is to prepare for heavy snow and low temperatures.

It takes better engineering, planning and a more developed infrastructure to be able to live in the colder regions in the world.

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 02-21-2021, 07:26 AM
#16
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Claus, here's more on the situation. There's lots of info linked to in it. When you see the photos remember that this is basically the tropics. They just don't get this sort of white global warming.

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 02-21-2021, 11:04 AM
#17
  • 2Chops
  • Senior Member
  • North Central PA
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Here in North Central PA, I'm glad I finally bought a snowblower back in Oct.  This is the first real PA type winter we've had in decades.  We've been spoiled.  Back in the 70s, every winter wad like what we've had this year.  But we do have the resources at the ready for it statewide.  But those folks in TX, I do feel bad for them.

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 02-21-2021, 12:28 PM
#18
  • Shaun
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  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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(02-18-2021, 07:10 PM)CHSeifert Wrote: I just checked the temperature over the last week in Houston, Texas.

Here in Denmark we had pretty much the same temperature, not quite the same storm though, but how can that kind of weather bring an entire state down to its knees ?

I realise Texas is not used to cold weather like this, but it’s 2021 and it’s not like it’s -20°F. How can something rather simple for developed countries such as power supplies at the power plants break down and water pipes freeze just because there’s a bit of cold winter weather ?

Not trying to joke about this subject at all. Just trying to understand the reason behind people freezing to death and cars sliding around in the streets.

Perhaps it is not as ‘developed’ as you might believe. And I don’t mean that as a criticism. There are many assumptions made about different nations, simply put.

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 02-21-2021, 02:45 PM
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(02-21-2021, 07:26 AM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Claus, here's more on the situation. There's lots of info linked to in it. When you see the photos remember that this is basically the tropics. They just don't get this sort of white global warming. 

I'm sorry, but this article is just plain partisan. I believe such partisan things should not have a place here in this forum. 

I agree.  That is why I deleted the link and the rest of your post.
On behalf of the moderator team.

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 02-22-2021, 12:40 PM
#20
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Storm #4, maybe #5. 3 winters worth of snow in about 17 days. Welcome to N.J. 


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