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A Snowstorm the Size of Texas!


So, you might have heard about the snow in Texas recently and honestly if it weren’t for the fact that it has been all over the news I’d feel the need to clarify. “Really! Snow in Texas!” Dealing with a snowstorm like this, however, wasn’t something I considered as a possibility when I moved to Texas and coming from Phoenix, I felt even less prepared.

I was born and raised in Phoenix, so compared to the winters I’m used to, it can get pretty cold here. We’ve had plenty of nights where it drops below freezing and you learn what to do. If I remember correctly from when I watched more local news, it’s the Three P’s – protect your pets, pipes and plants, and usually it is that simple. Keep your pets warm, cover your plants and any outside water sources, and let your faucets drip to keep the pipes from freezing. I’ve seen icicles hanging from street signs that warn about icy bridges and my partner gathered enough snow off of our car to get me with a snowball more than once, but I have never seen anything like this.

From what I’ve seen recently, the news has been dominated by the politics and logistics of the situation, and don’t get me wrong, these are things we should be talking about. We need to know why this happened in order to stop it from happening again. What I wanted to share was a closer snapshot of a community dealing with a snowstorm on a scale that this area hasn’t seen in 30 plus years.

When I woke up on the 11th, I knew it was going to be cold. I have the weather on my phone like everybody else and it had been in the 30s the night before, so I was ready to crank up my little porch heater and enjoy my morning porch time, a little colder than normal but I’d deal. What I saw when I made it outside was unlike anything I had ever seen here and it didn’t take me long to realize how bad this could be, and ultimately was.

Where we live is fairly rural and often referred to as hill country due to the landscape – lots of hills, believe it or not. It’s a small town outside of Austin that has grown significantly just in the time I’ve been here. In our neighborhood there’s a mix of houses, all different sizes of mobile homes and RVs, all on plots of land that vary in size from your standard, Phoenix home to 3 or more acres that are usually pretty wooded. Most of the homes are built off of the ground because while we might not be used to snow, we know a little something about flooding. Neighborhoods like this seem to be relatively common around our part of Texas, and I’m sure there are others like it all over, but I wanted to give you an idea of the what we’re working with here.

What I didn’t know when I moved to Texas is that a lot of the houses, especially older homes and mobile homes, are not insulated nor do they have central heating or cooling. Typically, the weather here is temperate enough that window units and space heaters get the job done on days that aren’t nice enough to just open a window. The first place I lived was a single wide with a small wood burning stove for heat. We just had a week of below freezing temperatures, usually in the low 20s, inches of snow and ice and I know people who lost power for 40 plus hours. Most of their homes probably weren’t even that warm to begin with, considering how difficult it is to heat a home that’s not made for extended, below freezing temperatures.

Water pipes all over the state have frozen and burst, causing widespread outages and boil water notices. We have been so fortunate this past week to have not lost power or water where I live, but I know so many people that, while they may have power back now, their water is still out and there is no word on how long it will be this way.

If you were one of those that did lose power and water this past week, it was also highly likely that you were trapped in your home by the weather. This whole mess started with an ice storm that coated our entire area with at least an inch of ice and as this isn’t a common occurrence, we don’t have plows or salt for the roads. I know a few people with four wheel drive vehicles who were brave enough to venture out, but staying safe on these curvy, hill country roads is a feat in itself.

Even though by now most of the snow has melted away, my area is still struggling as are many others across the state. The closest city’s water supply is down which has shut down almost every business in our already sparse area. Shipments to grocery and convenience stores have been so delayed and disrupted by the storm that shelves are bare, if the store is open at all, and purchase limits have been implemented on almost everything and people are running out of supplies at home.

Things are a little grim here at the moment, but what I can say is that people are resilient. Communities are doing whatever they can for each other, even if it’s nothing more than offering a toilet or a shower to a friend without water. We’ll get through this, as we do, and hopefully learn from this experience. I hope all of my Arizona and Phoenix friends are nice and toasty, and if you don’t mind, maybe send us a little sunshine and some good vibes?




Kelly Mahoney worked at a medical cannabis Co-op with her mother, Laura Mastropietro, dealing mainly with helping new patients acquire their medical cards and helping them find the best strains and methods. Diagnosed at a young age with spinal muscular atrophy, she was also a medical cannabis patient and still advocates for the incredible benefits, and downright fun, of cannabis. She now lives in a prohibition state as a cat mom and gamer wife.

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