My Polar Vortex Snowed-in Experience

Much like many, many, many other Texans, I went through polar storm Uri hunkering down at home and making do with what we could. I was fortunate enough to have roommates, supplies, and power – even though we lost water.

The snow was a novelty at first, but became old really quickly. I took some photographs to document this freakishly extreme natural weather event. Our neighborhood was snowed in like many others, and nearby major streets became post-apocalyptic stuck car graveyards.

I broke out pitchers to collect water before we lost pressure entirely. I also got my camping supplies out in case we lost power and heat. Not everyone had food or supplies, like water stashed away. So we banded together and pooled our snacks like chips, canned goods, and energy bars so no one would starve. I spent a majority of the snow-in boiling water and storing it in 5-gallon buckets. My plants in the Topsy Turvys also froze before the major snows set in.

These are pictures of my water boiling station on the stove top, with my system of pots, bins, and buckets. I alternated pots for boiling down ice into snow, then emptied them into the buckets.

I also had a handwash dish station with water set aside for washing cups and plates. I thought it was pretty ingenious myself with such limited resources. Cleanliness and preventing bugs in a house of 5 guys all snowed in together was important!

Here’s a video on Texas’ power grid issues from NOVA PBS Official’s channel. It highlights the step-by-step issues of what happened, and how we were minutes away from grid failure.

Below is an additional video from Vox Media on the power outage caused by winter storm Uri. The animations show how all the energy sources in Texas went down because the grid and supply systems went down due to failures to prepare.

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