Life in the suburbs of Austin, Texas right now

I caught up with a friend in the hills just west of Austin, Texas today. He was spared from the power failures that have made the news, but life at 0 degrees F was not comfortable. “Even with the heat pumps going full blast and the extra resistive heater that is supposed to be used only occasionally, the temperature inside the house still fell to 55 degrees.” Better now that it has warmed up a bit? “The house has come up to 66, but the water system has been shut down. The treatment plants are back online, but there is simply no water in the reservoirs for pressure. It all leaked out when pipes burst.” If the power hadn’t failed, would these pipes still have burst? “I think so. Our neighborhood did not lose power, but neighbors have still reported on the mailing list that they had pipes burst.”

Earliest this week, I suggested the following to a friend who lives in Austin:

Wouldn’t the best stunt be “drive to Monterrey”? 67F and sunny tomorrow there.

I offered this same suggestion to my friend on the phone. It is only a 6-hour drive. Why not follow his senator and go to Mexico? “I can’t leave my neighborhood,” he replied. “Remember that you come up a hill to get to this house and it is still a sheet of ice. They might have one or two salt trucks for the entire city. I said that I would never need AWD now that I’d moved down here.”

T-shirt weather in Austin almost exactly two years ago, February 20, 2019:

(instead of running, I was doing research for Austin and Lockhart, Texas: 10 barbecue restaurants in 72 hours)

2 thoughts on “Life in the suburbs of Austin, Texas right now

  1. Unless the iced road is miles long he can put chains on (even improvised ones will hold at low speed to get over a tricky road sector), grab some sacks of sand (or earth, or whatever) and a shovel to grit his way through. Could be done in a few hours.

    He should get together with the neighbors and do it anyway, they may need an ambulance to get through and it’s better done before.

  2. I’m sure the people of Texas can rest easy knowing that although the electrical grid is outdated and in desperate need of repair, Pakistani gender studies is well-funded thanks to US tax dollars.

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