"A seemingly never-ending winter beatdown" by: Mike Reddell

   In my long years in Texas – mostly in places where snowfall is described as a dusting – whatever white stuff is on the ground when the sun arrives soon disappears.
   Looking out my front window late Monday afternoon, the light layer of snow still stands from early this morning after several hours in the sun.
   The astonishing plunge of temperatures that remained long after overnight Sunday’s winter storm is the reason. 
   Of course this winter’s tale isn’t limited to the bitterly cold temperatures.
   It’s more like if things could get worse they did. 
   Traffic accidents from the cold, wet weather began last week, headlined by the horrifying 135-vehicle pileup that claimed six lives on I-35 near Fort Worth.
   If that accident did anything positive it was to impress the need to stay off icy, slick roads.
   Then there were the outages.
   Beginning last week, ERCOT the Texas energy grid operator, started reminding Texans to conserve energy in the face of the storm’s projected low temperatures and longer-than-usual duration.
   Otherwise, the utility would be forced into rolling blackouts to reduce the load.
   Those blackouts began early Monday, and most of us – certainly in most of the state – hadn’t see power outages that occurred this frequently that lasted as long as they have.
   Monday’s outage cut off the heat and lights and water amid temperatures in the single digits, or for the extended Houston area, in the teens.
   I believe I was in Colorado the last time I was in temperatures this low.
   I wrote this column Monday afternoon dressed in triple-layers, while the sounds of the gas-powered generator droned on in the background.
   We bought the generator for times like this, not really thinking there would be times like this.
   Most of the morning as we tried to get the generator started, I was worried about when, or if, I was going to start on the paper.
   While there was some scrambling of the forecast this week, suffice it to say lots of Texans’ lack of electricity was to become a thing of days, not hours.
   Over the years, I’ve compared my weather here with that of my friends’ in Kerrville, where I grew up.
   While the temperature there was in the single digits and ours in the teens, what was the same was the lack of electricity and water.
   Usually, I welcome cooler weather in winter as a contrast to the summer heat beat down.
   Clearly, this was a winter flogging of the first order.

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