LOCAL NEWS

Utah Families Among Those Impacted By Texas Winter Storm

Feb 18, 2021, 9:38 PM | Updated: 10:07 pm

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Two Utah families are among the thousands of Texans without power and water after severe winter weather hit the area last weekend.

One of those families has been without power since Sunday… It wasn’t until Thursday they got it back for more than a few minutes. However, they’re still without water.

When Amber Lauritzen’s family moved from Utah to San Antonio, Texas, in December 2019, they figured snow was in their rear-view mirror.

“Our family lives in Utah still, and we left all of our snow clothes and boots,” Lauritzen said. “We left everything.”

But over the weekend, severe winter weather arrived, breaking a 30-year-old record with freezing temperatures.

“Sunday we actually had freezing rain,” said Megan Call, a Utahn who moved to San Antonio with her family. “Where we live in San Antonio, it’s called hill country — it’s extremely hilly and the roads were covered in ice.”

From there, things slid downhill.

“It was Sunday night that it started snowing and the power went out,” Lauritzen said. “Either Sunday night or Monday morning. It was out all Tuesday — it just kept coming and going.”

“We keep saying at the moment because we never know if it’s going to last or not,” she added.

To stay warm, Lauritzen’s family set up a tent for their six kids in the living room, using precious minutes when power came back to cook.

Meanwhile, Call said her family’s house has been the only one on the block to still have power. Their brother, who lives with his young family including a newborn, has been without power and has been coming to their house to charge up and refresh.

The families are staying positive spending time playing family games and making the most of the snow.

For those brave enough to go outside, there are no snow plows and roads are frozen over.

“It’s just not safe to go outside unless you have to,” Lauritzen said.

San Antonio hasn’t seen freezing temperatures like this week’s in over 30 years, and the city isn’t equipped with salt or snow plows to handle icy roads.

Area grocery stores are packed with long lines and limited supplies.

“It was just like the pandemic,” Call said. “It was pandemic 2.0 going in there.”

Lauritzen said they lost water as the unexpected winter storm froze over pipes in many communities and the infrastructure at local water pump stations.

As of Thursday, the city was asking residents to boil their drinking water — for those who still have running water — while those without are bringing in snow buckets from outside. Both families said they started losing running water in their homes with a drastic pressure drop Wednesday.

“Yesterday, the snow started melting and it turned into a race for time trying to go outside and collect enough water to bring in to flush toilets,” Call said. “Amber is doing that right now.”

“We’ve been filling big tubs up with snow and filling our bathtubs to use the water to flush our toilets,” Lauritzen added.

But despite it all, both families said they have a lot to be grateful for, including a whole community of neighbors looking out for each other.

“All the neighbors are checking in on each other to see who has power and who doesn’t,” Lauritzen said. “There are people that are diabetic and other people have extra insulin they’ve been sharing. People have been sharing batteries — it’s just been awesome to see everybody come together and share what we have.”

San Antonio saw another snow day Thursday but both families are hoping to have water and power fully restored by the weekend.

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Utah Families Among Those Impacted By Texas Winter Storm