Snowpocalyse Reflection

Soaked+carpet+in+the+aftermath+of+a+burst+pipe+in+the+nearby+wall.

Photo by John Park

Soaked carpet in the aftermath of a burst pipe in the nearby wall.

John Park, Managing Editor of News and Feature

The 2021 Texas power crisis has been dubbed  “Snowpocalype”, “Snovid”, and many other nicknames people have come up with to describe this week of record low temperatures all around the state of Texas. Early on in the week, ERCOT was forced to implement rolling blackouts in an attempt to maintain the stability of the self-contained Texas power grid. Caused by multiple severe winter storms, this crisis is credited to have been the cause statewide power outages, food and water shortages, at least 82 deaths, and up to $195 billion in property damages.

Personally, I spent the week of Feb. 15-19 with on and off power, sometimes being out for 12 hours or more at a time. On top of that, early on in the week I also had a pipe burst inside my house. The pipe burst in the wall of my mothers closet and it flooded her closet, bathroom, bedroom, and began to get into my bedroom before the city was able to get someone out to shut off our water. I have never experienced a burst pipe before and it was such a surreal experience. I was just walking through the hallway on my way to the kitchen and I suddenly heard the vague sound of running water. I quickly followed the sound, finding its source coming from my mom’s closet. I opened the door and was immediately sprayed as the water, which was shooting out of the closet wall closest to the outside of the house, hit the closet door and rebounded all over me. The first thing that popped into my brain was, “well, this is happening, time to deal with it.” I ran over to my mom to let her know and tell her to focus on getting the water turned off. I then ran back to the closet and on the way stopped at the hallway closet to pick up all of our towels; bath towels, beach towels, hand towels, anything I could find. I started by trying to fix it at the source, covering the burst in the wall with dozens of small hand towels, but, naturally, that failed miserably and only left me completely soaked and the water level continued to rise in the closet. My next battle strategy was to form a wall of towels along the door of my mom’s bathroom in order to attempt to block the water from reaching her bedroom. In the end, I had formed a 15 inch barricade made up of shower and beach towels that had slowed the spread of the water by about 65% or so. I then began to use a bucket and pail water off of the bathroom and moved it into the bathtub. I continued to do this for about 25 minutes before the water could finally get turned off, and ,then after that, had to do it for about another 30 minutes to get the water levels back down to about an inch. The battle doesn’t stop there though, after that my mother, sister, and I had to use towels, using them to soak up as much water as they could hold and then wringing them out into the bathtub, for hours until the water was finally gone. Now soaked, sitting in a house with no power or water as the temperature continued to drop the longer we went without power.

We went five days like that, power coming and going, using fires in an attempt to stay warm throughout the week. Luckily that Sunday, a plumber was able to get out and at least cap the broken pipe so the water could safely be turned back on without flooding our entire house. By that point we had also gotten to the point of semi consistent power and we had successfully survived the week of snowmageddon.