Thaw expected after a week of ice; temps drop to 1 degree near Lometa
Texas’ strongest winter blast in at least a generation put serious stress on the state’s utilities, infrastructure and emergency services at least for several days this week.
Forecasts called for abovefreezing temperatures to return this weekend after parts of Lampasas County plunged to 1 degree Farenheit Tuesday, and subfreezing weather gripped much of the state for at least a week straight.
An ice storm hit the area Feb. 11, and conditions deteriorated for several days. Power outages and frozen or burst water lines were prevalent throughout Lampasas County and much of Texas.
Some Lampasas residents used melted snow to flush toilets during a water outage Tuesday. Emergency services like the Lampasas Fire Department operated from generator power as electricity, water, cell phone and radio services were sporadic through mid-week.
Many businesses and services – from iconic local drive-in restaurants to chain stores, schools, churches and the U.S. Postal Service – ceased operations during outages and iced-over roads.
St. Mary Catholic Church opened as a warming station for several nights, offering cots, coffee and heat to those in need. First United Methodist Church offered free transportation to the Catholic church. At press time, the Catholic church planned for Feb. 18 to be the final day serving as a warming station.
Lampasas Fire Station was a warming center early in the week before power and water service were disrupted there, and emergency supplies had to be conserved.
Long lines formed outside the few stores that remained open with limited hours, similar to what occurred during coronavirus shutdowns last spring.
Front-line utility workers raced to get services up and running, while some Texans began to question the state’s overall preparedness for this type of storm.
Gov. Greg Abbott, who had issued a disaster declaration in all 254 Texas counties before the worst of the winter storm, ordered an investigation into the Energy Reliability Council of Texas in the wake of outages.