Temperatures took a dive last weekend as a result of an arctic blast phenomenon that affected all of Texas. Laredoans were excited about the possibility of seeing snow fall -- a welcome change for locals that are used to an abundance of hot weather. The situation quickly soured as roadways were closed off to drivers and the power went out.
Our secluded border hamlet has seen extreme weather events in the past. This was something else.
Sunday, February 14, 2021: The high was 35 degrees fahrenheit and the low was 18. TxDOT started treating I-35 as ice was expected on roads. Some overpasses were closed by city officials. We were advised to conserve electricity and to expect outages. Shelters that became available for the public were: Bethany House, the Salvation Army and the Holding Community Center. Snow flurries were spotted throughout town. A multi-car pileup occurred on Loop 20 after dark, near the City Hall Annex building.
(Icicles formed on my roof Monday morning.)
Early Monday morning (February 15), residents started reporting power outages. State officials and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) told people to expect rolling blackouts to prevent strain on the system. The lights didn't come back on for millions of Texans.
The City of Laredo opened the Sames Auto Arena as a warming center, providing shelter from the cold.
In Tuesday's Laredo Morning Times (above): 2 million Texas households without power as massive winter storm drives demand for electricity (Texas Tribune).
Weather and resulting road conditions lead to closures. (Jason Mack)
Rolling blackouts occur throughout Laredo on Monday. (Danny Zaragoza photo byline)
Brindan asistencia a la comunidad: alrededor de 25,000 casas y negocios sin electricidad. (Julia Wallace)
Extienden cierres por bajas temperaturas. (Malena Charur)
Wednesday, February 16, 2021 issue of the Laredo Times:
Icy weather has big impact on Laredo, Zapata areas
Officials issue update on electricity, water. (Christian Alejandro Ocampo)
Zapata County faces boil water notice, lack of power (Julia Wallace)
Bethany House nearly full as frigid weather strikes. (Jorge Vela)
Council meeting postponed due to power outages. (Julia Wallace)
Laredo schools adjusting to frigid weather's impact. (Christian Alejandro Ocampo)
Thursday, February 17, 2021 issue of the Laredo Times:
Outages could last for days longer in Laredo area. (Julia Wallace)
Laredoans rush for gas against LPD's warning. (Danny Zaragoza photo)
Texans asked to stop dripping taps as nearly 12 million face water disruptions. (Texas Tribune)
Sheriff's office gives out food, water; blanket drive underway. (Cesar Rodriguez)
Abbott doesn't know when Texans will have water or power. (Texas Tribune)
Governor Greg Abbott blamed the outages on frozen windmills and the Green New Deal.
Rick Perry said that Texans would rather freeze than impose regulations on Texas' energy grid.
Ted Cruz flew to Cancun with his family and left his dog home alone.
Beto O'Rourke, with volunteers, made calls to check in on people without power or water.
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez raised more than $3 million dollars for Texas; visited Houston.