Winter storm in Texas


Shikha Patel

Six inches of snow blankets a neighborhood in Southwest Austin on Monday February 15, 2021.

Corinne Piorkowski, Sports Editor

Below freezing temperatures, roads slick with ice, and power and water outages are what people across the city of Austin have been experiencing in the past few days.

Due to the winter storm that has plagued the area, Austin Independent School District (AISD) has cancelled school for the entirety of the week, which has differently affected students and teachers across campuses.

“I am concerned about the shortened time we have to finish teaching everything before the tests,” science teacher Erin Kowalik said. “I actually met with my team today to try to figure out what that is going to look like for us, now that we have lost more time.”

Outside of school, many students and their families have lost appliances and necessities that they aren’t equipped to lose in this weather.

“My family didn’t have power for over a day but it just came back on and I’m so grateful it did,” senior Abbie Brien said. “We haven’t had water for today though and I don’t know when it will be back.”

In addition, there are teachers in the same boat regarding the loss of power and water, even for long stretches of multiple days as well.

“We lost power for a little more than 24 hours so it was very cold in the house,” Kowalik said. “It got into the 40s towards the end of our power outage.”

Contrastingly, some students have been luckier in keeping their power on and water running.

“So far, my electricity and internet have managed to stay on,” junior Joshua Moreno said. “My father is really hell bent into saving energy on the daily, so we never have lights on during the day that we aren’t using.”

One way people have dealt with the loss of power has been with charging their phones in their cars and heating them up to stay warm.

“The first day my power went out my phone was at a very low charge so I kept going out to my car to charge it but my car was almost out of gas,” Brien said. “My house was very cold on the inside and overall it was not a good experience; I was stressed.”

Without power, it is vital for the people in the area to keep doors and windows closed as well to contain the heat that they have in their houses.

“Since my power has been out, I’ve been bundling up and closing doors that didn’t need to be open,” junior Will Welch said.

The city of Austin has advised citizens to conserve their energy in moments when they do have it working, and many students have been responding to that differently.

“My family has done what we can to preserve energy by limiting our use of electricity and conserving water,” Brien said. “We’ve been turning off lights and unplugging things that we aren’t actively using.”

Some other people have continued to try to conserve their energy while they have it on in different ways.

“We have been keeping our thermostats low and we’ve closed up rooms in the house that no one is in so that the house is not trying to heat the whole thing,” Kowalik said.

In addition to the power outages, the roads throughout the city have been covered in ice and snow, making them dangerous to drive on.

“My dad had me practice driving with him on the roads and it was interesting,” Brien said. “It takes some getting used to because I kept sliding.”

For others, there hasn’t been a need to ride on the slippery roads for groceries of other necessities.

“I haven’t driven on the icy roads this week at all,” Moreno said. “My mom did when she had to go to H‑E‑B, but she said it was fine.”

Although there are many disadvantages to the weather the area is experiencing, playing in the snow is still enjoyable for some.

“I enjoyed the snow until it took the power out,” Welch said. “I wish it was better for sledding though because I love doing that in the snow.”

In addition to playing in the snow, this weather is exciting for southerners that usually don’t get the chance to have this weather for an extended period of time.

“I was so excited and I walked outside and I was actually getting blinded by the snow,” Moreno said. “The snow was super soft which I’d never experienced in my life.”

Overall, the winter storm that has covered the Austin area in snow and ice is unfamiliar to southerners and has caused drastic changes to be made to their routines.

“I give respect towards all northerners who put up with this on the daily,” Moreno said. “I couldn’t imagine having to use snow gear and wear layered clothing everyday just to get around; I enjoy the warm weather much more.”