Causes power shortages as temps plummet
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–In an unprecedented weather event that caused the entire State of Texas to fall under widespread winter storm and windchill warnings, Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for all 254 Texas counties. Feb. 14 Governor Abbott announced that the White House had issued a Federal Emergency Declaration for Texas in response to the severe winter weather throughout the state. The Governor submitted the request for the declaration Feb. 13 to assist the State in response efforts related to the storm.
Henderson County Judge Wade McKinney also issued a disaster declaration for the county. “Considering the circumstances of our current situation and with the increasing level of power outages related to the storm we have decided to make a declaration of a local disaster,” said McKinney. “This will allow for more resources to be made available to the county in the event the need arises,” McKinney stated.
People all over the state have experienced power outages. Some have been only 10-15 minutes while other outages have lasted hours longer. With the low temperatures and high demand for power, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) directed Oncor, Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative and others to shut off power to high demand areas for 15-60 minutes at a time, to prevent more widespread, serious power outages. Feb. 15 messages were being sent to customers stating, “Outages will continue for an unknown time period and could be for an extended amount of time. Locally we are limited as to what can be done to shorten the outages until more statewide generating units come back online.” By mid-morning Feb. 15, Oncor had over two million outages in the State of Texas.
ERCOT says extreme weather conditions caused many generating units – across fuel types – to trip offline and become unavailable. “Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now,” said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness.
Temperatures have fallen to the lowest numbers in decades shattering records as blankets of snow and sheets of ice fell across the south. Farmers and ranchers have struggled to keep their livestock warm, which has caused stores to be liquidated of heaters, brooders and heat lamps. Those without livestock tried to plan ahead of the storm by stocking up on heater blankets, space heaters and batteries which have all become hard to find. Many lake area residents reported that essentials such as toilet paper, milk, bread, eggs and meat quickly ran out by the afternoon of Feb. 13.
Some people received more than the forecasted four to six inches of snow, some up to 10 inches. The cold air and lack of power has impacted people’s ability to get warm, so Henderson County and local businesses and churches have opened warming shelters. Christian Life Center located in Gun Barrel City for example.
More warming sheltering locations in Henderson County:
Christian Youth Foundation (Disciples Crossing) located at 3693 SH 31 E, in Athens, Murchison School located at 9661 E. Bankhead St, in Murchison and Lakeside Baptist Church located at 4470 SH 274, Trinidad.
You can access warming shelter locations across the State by calling 2-1-1 or going to 211texas.com.