Monday, February 15, 2021

In A Most Unexpected Place


There's a weathergeddon, but for once, it's not here (and it's not in Winnipeg, although I think even Garret's had enough).

Instead, incredibly, it's in Austin.

I lived there for almost 30 years, and I think the combined snowfall over those three decades was maybe 3". 

Last night, it snowed 6." 

Up here, we have a magnificent infrastructure to handle this shit. Roads are plowed within hours. With only rare exceptions, life proceeds as normal. 

It snowed 6" yesterday here, and today I've already gotten a haircut, stopped by the pharmacy, and picked up groceries. The roads are clear. 

In Austin, nothing is plowed, 400,000 people are without power, and it's a disaster. 

Another huge issue is that pipes aren't protected nearly as well as they are in colder climates, and I can't even imagine how many of those are bursting, because it's in the teens there, which is almost unprecedented. 

Even more amazing: 

Corpus Christi is on the southern Texas coast (about 150 miles as the crow flies from Mexico, and it's also right next to where I grew up). That's -5F wind chill at 10 a.m. I'm almost completely sure that the wind chill has never been below zero. We had years where it didn't even freeze. 

By the way, the power outages are statewide. It's so cold that the grid can't handle the demand, and what started as rolling blackouts has turned into something much worse. 

Here are a couple of pictures (one from John Harwood, one from my sister).

Those would be very pedestrian in Michigan, but central Texas? Absolute chaos.

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