It has been at least 30 years since Grimes County has experienced weather of this magnitude with temperatures dipping into single digits, widespread power outages, mass accumulations of snow and ice and multiple consecutive days of below freezing temperatures.
Many throughout the county have experienced upwards of five plus inches of snowfall but staying warm amid multiple power outages has been a struggle. Power outages have affected much of the county for long periods at a time and inconvenienced others with rolling blackouts.
Local schools and many businesses were forced to close or adjust their hours to keep the community off the treacherous roadways that have been covered in ice for days. Recent snow on Jan. 10, enticed many children old and young outdoors to enjoy the white, powdery wonder, but this round, many only stay outside for minutes at a time with blistering windchill factors dipping below zero.
Ranchers have struggled to adequately maintain their livestock enduring frigid temperatures to put out hay, busting ice in water troughs and around lakes and moving vulnerable livestock indoors.
COVID-19 has not ceased, and many of the patients currently affected by the virus worry that first responders may not be able to reach them promptly if they have complications. Those feeling ill have struggled to find a place to get tested with many of the free testing sites closing due to unsafe travel conditions. Many vaccination hubs have also ceased operation.
A huge positive is Grimes County residents may have learned from the inclement weather in January, because fewer accidents have been reported throughout the county than there were during the January cold snap.
At least one family’s home in Grimes County may have burned to the ground because of trying to keep warm during recent power outages. See the related article “Family loses home during winter fire” on page 1.
Texas Department of Health and Human Services reminds people without power to take steps to stay warm by: closing blinds or curtains to trap heat inside; closing off rooms to avoid wasting heat; stuffing towels or rags in cracks under doors; eating and drinking because food can warm the body and wearing multiple layers of warm, loose-fitting clothing.
They also urge people to use extreme caution with electric generators and heat sources that produce carbon monoxide.
Generators should only be placed outdoors at least 10 feet away from buildings. They should never be operated indoors or in garages. Likewise, cars should not be run inside a garage, even with the door open, because carbon monoxide can build up, leading to death. Outdoor grills, camp stoves and other appliances meant for open-air use should not be used to heat a home because they, too, create carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless and invisible gas produced by burning gasoline, propane, wood, charcoal and other fuel. If it builds up in a confined space and people breathe it in, it can replace the oxygen in their blood leading to carbon monoxide poisoning and death.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, drowsiness, severe headache, weakness, nausea, and confusion. Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should go — or be moved to — a well-ventilated area outdoors and receive immediate medical attention.