Without water, heating and electricity at -20 ° C: Russian-speaking residents of Texas talked about the chaos in the state
A snowstorm that hit Texas earlier this week led not only to drifts and massive power outages, but also flooding many homes. Without electricity, and therefore no heating, pipes froze and burst, which literally flooded the homes of some Texans. Evgeny Levitov, a resident of the Texas city of San Antonio, who has been living in this state for 30 years, told ForumDaily about this.
«The electricity was cut off for periods, the longest of which I personally had was 18 hours. The house cooled down to 7 degrees Celsius, but I managed to take measures to prevent the pipes from freezing. I covered them outside, constantly running water over them, so that it washes away the ice that appears inside. Of course, this is not economical, and then you have to pay more for water, but this is better than allowing a flood"- says the Texan.
According to Evgeny, he knows a lot of cases when pipes could not withstand frost.
«An acquaintance of mine who lives near Houston had a water supply boiler installed under the roof of his house. It just burst and flooded the whole house, and there are many such people. Of course, the victims will try to obtain compensation for losses through insurance companies, but the result depends on the specific company and the specifics of the contracts."He says.
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After the first shutdown, local authorities began to turn on the light intermittently, most often after six-hour breaks, to allow residents to warm up their homes.
«At first we had no light for 14 hours, then they began to give electricity for an hour every 6 hours, - tells Nadezhda Eremenkoliving in the suburbs of Dallas. - Almost all week we sat at home and froze, but we had both gas and water, so we managed to survive these cataclysms practically without losses. However, we still have almost no internet and very poor telephone connections.».
«During this week, I had about 25 lights on and off. Sometimes he appeared for 10 minutes, sometimes he just flashed in flashes. It's good that at least we haven't lost our water. True, now we have to boil it, because our treatment facilities are still not working. However, the number of accidents related to water in our city is minimal. In my opinion, San Antonio turned out to be more organized in terms of overcoming the consequences of the disaster than other cities in Texas. For example, vaccination against COVID-19 in local hospitals was postponed only for a few days. The situation in Dallas and Houston is much worse", - comments Evgeny Levitov.
According to Evgeny's measurements, in the first snowfall, about 4 inches (10 cm) of snow fell, in the second - 3 (7,6 cm). However, the record was seen in 1985 - 13 inches (33 cm).
As for the causes of the disaster, Evgeny Levitov confirmed the information earlier published on the Voice of America website that massive power outages are caused by problems in the state's autonomous power system.
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«It all happened for a rather trivial reason: when the frost hit, most people turned on additional heaters. The network could not withstand such a load", - explains a local resident.
According to Evgeny Levitov, the decision to create an autonomous power grid in Texas was made by the Texas Power Supply Reliability Council (ERCOT) back in 1935. Then it seemed the most profitable and cheapest solution, but since then it has never been revised.
«The rest of the states are supplied through a centralized grid. This means that in the event of problems in one place, other states redirect energy to places of increased consumption or natural disasters. For example, in neighboring Arkansas, there were exactly the same frosts as in Texas, but they did not have such problems with power outages.", - explains Evgeny Levitov.
According to him, the Texas network has long been working at its limit.
«Its development objectively lags behind the rate of population growth and the development of new factories. Now, for example, the construction of a Tesla plant near Austin is beginning, and immigration from other states is increasing. Infrastructure development is outstripping the expansion of the power grid. In addition, the local authorities did not carry out work on the insulation of the turbines, which is why some of them simply froze. ERCOT is trying to save on literally everything, and this is also one of the reasons for the disaster.", - Eugene concludes.
Books are used for kindling "
The winter storm killed 47 people in seven states, most of all in Texas - 30 dead. At the same time, about 300 thousand local residents are left without electricity and more than 260 thousand - without running water, writes Gazeta.
Harris County alone reported 10 deaths from hypothermia and over 600 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning. Presumably, these numbers will grow, writes Insider.
In addition, attempts by frozen state residents to warm up often lead to new troubles. Those who warm themselves in cars are poisoned by carbon monoxide, and the constant use of fireplaces, gas stoves and generators leads to fires.
“Locals say that such frosts have not been here for 30 years. To get to the grocery store, you need to stand in line for 5 hours. Now there are almost no products on the shelves, no water either. Gas stations do not work, gasoline has run out. Food delivery doesn't work because people don't have winter tires. Some fast food outlets have opened, but there are also huge queues, ”said 27-year-old Russian woman Christina, who lives in Austin.
According to the girl, in the first days of frost, the situation in the city resembled an apocalypse. No one expected such a huge temperature drop, because even at the end of January the city was + 27 ℃, and by February it became sharply colder to -22 ℃.
“Now at least there is electricity. Already good! But there is still no hot and cold water. In my apartment, people collect snow and water from pools to fill the toilet bowl. The heat in houses is completely dependent on the air conditioner - we have no batteries, the walls are thin. Nothing is suitable for this kind of weather. No wonder I brought woolen socks from Russia, a hat and a down jacket, ”added Christina.
But 32-year-old Anna from Houston said that her family escaped frost with the help of a fireplace.
“It's good that we have a fireplace in our house - it saves us a lot. We can somehow heat the house, now we sleep in the living room, closer to the fire. The only thing is that there are problems with firewood. We even had to cut down a tree in the yard. We use books for kindling. But there are other problems as well. There is no water, there is very little food in the shops. Thank God, I buy in reserve according to the old Russian habit, ”said the girl.
Stockiness also helped 40-year-old Elena from Sant'Antonio.
“Trucks just don't reach the shops. In case of a power outage, I am now stocking pasta, soups, pancakes - making canned food. In the morning, they collected snow in a bucket (the one that lay on the balcony) so that there was something to wash our hands with. Other neighbors were collecting snow from the bushes, because everything is covered with a thick crust of ice, ”the Russian woman shared.
Elena said that her neighbors had endured it - in the middle of the night they were flooded, as the frozen pipe could not stand it and eventually burst.
“They packed their bags, the dog, and left. My friend and our realtor with the children left on Monday - in both houses there is still no electricity. In the literal sense of the word, we ended up like on a submarine: it is impossible to get out, and no one will get to us. And we have nowhere to go: we are new here, we have no relatives or friends, and the places in all hotels that have electricity and water, from Austin to San Antonio, have been sold out since Monday, ”Elena said.
The local infrastructure is not designed for such frosts, in warm states there are no snowblowers, says 35-year-old Austin resident Boris.
“Actually, Texas is the state of the South - where there is oil, cowboys, revolvers and the border with Mexico. But now it is real winter here, although it was not planned. About you can watch a massive road collision of 133 cars on YouTube - cars just flew into each other due to ice on the roads. We have no hot water, no heating, no internet in our private house. I spent the whole Thursday under the covers next to the fireplace. In the XNUMXst century, in the “most developed” country in the world, where not only Mexicans want to escape, the inhabitants of Texas heat water on a stove in basins wrapped in blankets, ”the man complained.
A 25-year-old student from Tennessee, Denis, who lives in Memphis, is also perplexed by what is happening.
"I do not know what's going on. And the funny thing is that the US authorities, although they are introducing an emergency situation in the states, are completely unable to cope with the bad weather. Everything is dramatically out of control, people are dying, ”he wonders.
But 20-year-old student Karolina from Kentucky looks at the situation much more positively.
“To be honest, most of our problems have been bypassed, but food and water are not quite enough, many shops are closed because there are no supplies due to bad weather. When the storm hit us, it was very scary. My parents and I recalled my childhood in Novosibirsk, where literally every winter it was so swept. But in general, the city coped with the snow and ice, which literally covered all houses, streets and cars with a crust, ”the girl said at last.
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