Lessons From the Big Freeze

Across America, lessons were being learned about our neighbors and ourselves during the big freeze of February 2021.  So what were a few of the things we learned, good and bad?

We learned that there are lots of good people out there and despite what you may hear, many neighbors are still neighborly.  Many homes lost power and thus heat and/or water during the below freezing temperatures.  Neighbors and relatives that still had power (or had alternative sources of heat) opened their homes to those without heat who were willing to leave their houses.  Neighbors and friends of those who chose to stay in their cold homes (and not risk walking or driving on icy roads)  brought food and drinks to those without power or water.  If travel was hard and special vehicles needed, friends with those would show up to chauffeur others to warmer locations.  The few churches and shopping malls with power also opened their doors as warming stations.  

We also learned we can live without electronics!  Who knew that gathering around a fireplace and talking could still be a relevant form of communication?  Groups gathered together told stories and played cards.    Although phone service was spotty in some places, pones were once again relegated to emergency use only (since they could not always be charged) and notifying friends or family about current situations.  City officials announced warming stations and locations for free bottled water via text as well as their website, since many without power had no internet or TV.  The few who felt they needed electronics and had no one nearby to stay with, chose to travel out-of-town to warmer locations or took local hotel rooms if power was available.

The bad things we learned were that we were not as prepared as we thought.  We may quickly handle natural disasters like floods, hurricanes and tornadoes which  typically come and go in a few hours.  We have handled rolling power-outages in the summer when it was over 100 degrees, but multiple days below freezing was never expected - especially in Texas.  Not only were people cold, but frozen pipes were bursting in homes and water leaks were throughout multiple cities affecting houses and business.  Many towns had homes without water or with "boil water" directives.  We now realize our cities and utilities need multiple weather plans and that we can NOT rely on only one type of energy source.  We must keep natural and fossil fuels of coal, gas, oil, and wood (not only because they are less expensive and not as prone to failure as green alternatives) to burn for heat when there is no sun for solar or wind for windmills.  We must prepare for water shortages in freezing conditions in addition to "low lake levels" of summer.

What did you experience in the big freeze and what lessons did you learn?  Do you have any good  hero links of stories regarding the freeze in your area?  If you want to share them, please add them as comments below this post.  Thanks!

No comments: