Chilling Destruction

Hannah Dollar

For more than a week, Texas and other central states were battered by a devastating cold snap, bringing historic temperatures and snow to our area. These unprecedented, frigid temperatures did far more than allow students a week off school as many are left with extensive damage that will take weeks to months to repair. As those most affected recover, they are aided by kind neighbors and relieved to put their chilly misfortunes behind them. 

“It was a pretty rough time for me and my family, not gonna lie,” Junior Ethan Carroll said. “Our whole family was sick with a stomach bug, we had no air conditioning, a pipe busted, we had no water so my mom had to boil pool water for dishwashing. We had no power, and my dad had to pay for the expensive hospital bills as well as the repairs for the pipe. Currently, we’re much more healthy, but we had to tear out the ceiling in our bathroom in order to reach the burst pipe. It was just a bit too much chaos for one week.”

The deep freeze brought Houston’s first winter chill warning due to a wind chill of 1 degree, the lowest recorded since 1990, with the high temperature of 25 degrees being the fourth coldest on record. Though this is not the first time Texans have experienced freezing temperatures, the protection for such an extreme winter storm is unlikely in a Texas home, making for countless home destructions from frozen pipes inducing flooding. One of these affected homes was that of social studies teacher Mr. Bartlett.

“When our power came back on, having been off for 16 hours, we had a pipe burst in the attic. My son, Luke, walked down the hall and quickly came back and asked if we knew that ‘it is raining in Sissy’s room.’” Bartlett said. “It took a few seconds for that to register in our brains, but we got up and ran down the hall and sure enough water was pouring out of the ceiling; it did look like it was raining. I ran outside and cut off water to the house.” 

The Bartlett family, having suffered extensive water damage due to busted pipes, was one of many families who received aid in cleaning up the winter storm destruction. With plumbers in demand, easy fixes were a comfort. A family friend fixed Bartlett’s pipe temporarily until a plumber could permanently fix it. Following the pipe incident, neighbors came over to help clean out damaged carpet and sheetrock.

“After seeing the water in my daughters’ room, my wife and I went to our bedroom closet and realized that water had gone from her room to our master bedroom closet and bathroom, so all of that carpet was also torn out by the Stallons and Evans boys,” Bartlett said. “I do not know what we would have done without their help. They literally saved my back and our family a lot of time, energy, and money.” 

This is just one of many disaster stories, some more tragic than others. Still, nonetheless, these stories make up what will go down as yet another bizarre misfortune following a complicated year. 

“During the crazy winter storm of 2021 I didn’t have it too bad, but there were definitely some struggles,” Junior Taylor Moore said. “In my house, there was a pipe that burst above our garage that forced us to shut off our water for the night which was obviously frustrating. I will say that I am lucky to have it as easy as I did, many people had it much worse.”