Texas teens weather unprecedented cold temperatures, describe winter storm as “one of the craziest events I can recall”

BY SONYA RASHKOVAN   FEB. 16, 2021
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Texas has been hit by one of the coldest winter storms in decades, with temperatures dropping to single digits. Temperatures could potentially drop to 11 degrees Fahrenheit in Houston and 9 degrees in San Antonio, according to a The Guardian article. By contrast, in a normal year, the average February temperature is 48 degrees for Houston and 43 degrees for San Antonio.

“This is by far one of the craziest events I can recall while I’ve lived in Texas,” said Ekansh Tambe, a junior at St. Mark’s School of Texas, which is located in Dallas. “This kinda thing occurring in Texas is so out there that it’s a possibility I’ve literally never considered before. Such a huge part of the storm’s fallout has been the unpreparedness we’ve witnessed and experienced, making it that much more damaging to our homes and communities.”

More than 2 million people across the state have lost power and the schools that are offering in-person instruction have been closed. President Biden has approved an emergency declaration to coordinate all disaster relief efforts and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures.

“My family and I are part of the unlucky group that has been without power for almost two days now and it was in the 30s in my house this morning,” Peyton Dashiell, a 17-year-old student from Austin, said.

Isaac Song, a 17-year-old from Dallas, said that his family fortunately wasn’t affected by the power shortage. According to Song, though, his family is preparing for worse conditions that might come in the following days; they have stocked up on food or water and planned out their actions in the event of an outage.

17-year-old Axel Icazbalceta, also from Dallas, wasn’t as lucky. “We lost power for all of yesterday [Feb 15], which was pretty inconvenient in lots of ways, but manageable,” he said. “We have an electric stove and an electric boiler, so we had to cook our food and boil our water out on the grill. We’re good in terms of food and other necessary supplies, so as long as we still have water, we'll be fine.”

Meanwhile, Tambe’s family has decided to temporarily stay in a hotel for safety reasons.

18-year-old Siddhartha Sinha, from Dallas, highlighted the lack of preparedness and cast the blame on the state government. “Basically, the entire U.S. runs on two energy commissions, but Texas chose to run on its own (ERCOT),” he said. “In an effort to be more business friendly, ERCOT and Texan lawmakers by association have incredibly relaxed regulations for their mainstream power generators, and that’s why a lot of generators across the state have frozen beyond production. The fact that our state cut corners on something so critical to the general well-being is just plain stupid, for lack of a better word right now. This one’s on the state, and the disgusting part is that they know it.”


Here’s a list of important tips to keep you safe and warm.

  • Make sure you have as many layers on as possible—shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, blanket, etc, and make sure your hands, feet and head are all covered.
  • Wear shoes with traction, take small steps and be cautious.
  • Don’t go out if you don’t have to.
  • If you don’t have road salt, you can use cat litter or sand to help get traction on ice.
  • If you’re driving somewhere, let someone know your destination, route and expected time of arrival. If your car gets stuck, it’ll be easier to find you.
  • Don’t use boiling water to melt ice, especially ice on glass—the sudden temperature change could crack the glass.
  • Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia.
  • Check pipes and other facilities in your house for any damage.
  • Stock up an adequate supply of food or water in the house. Plan a course of action for if the electricity cuts out, there’s no longer running water or if you can’t get out of your house.