Iced In


Rebecca Sullivan (left) poses with her prize-winning goat.

Cassidy Cole, Staff Reporter

Just when Texas thought the cold was over, the second snowfall hit — this time, more than just a thin veil of snow to adorn the grass. Huddled in blankets and pillows, freshman Rebecca Sullivan and her family bunched next to their propane heater, the household without power on the frigid, 0 degree night.

Just over the course of one night, a typical Texas day turned into the biggest snowstorm it had seen in years. Roads froze over, grocery stores closed, and for most, house utilities shut down. Some were without water, power, and in the case of Rebecca Sullivan, heat.

“It was kind of scary,” Rebecca said. “We were running out of water, and everything we were giving our livestock was freezing over.”

Because the family’s well ran on electricity, water appliances were shut off as well as the power. 

“On Monday morning we lost power,” Rebecca said. “We immediately started to get power down to our show goats and livestock dogs so they could stay warm, via generator.”

The rest of the day was spent trying to prevent further damages, and keeping in contact with neighbors and family members. The night after, keeping the house at a reasonable temperature soon became a struggle. 

“That night we all huddled together and fired up a propane heater,” she said. “It got down to like 45 degrees that night.”

The following day, she and her family went to a friend’s house to warm and clean up before returning home. At home, the power would only come back in short intervals. 

“That day the power would go on for a bit, then go off, and it did that a lot so we didn’t trust it enough to take showers or anything like that,” Rebecca said. “But when it did come on, we cooked some food and watched the news so we could see what was going on.”

Rebecca and her family hadn’t had a fire in years, due to her sister’s asthma. But soon enough, the cold became overbearing. 

“It was eventually cold enough that we decided to put a fire on, and hope for the best.”

Later that night, Rebecca and her family called her grandmother, whose response seemed off. 

“She was giving a really weird answer,” Rebecca said. “Since my mom is a nurse, she knew something was wrong, and suspected it was a stroke.”

Rebecca’s father drove to her grandmother’s house, and found that she was acting normal. 

“There was nothing we could do,” Rebecca said. “We had to come to the conclusion that she might have had a ministroke.”

At around 10 that night, the power returned. Expecting it to turn off again, the family waited until the following morning to use utilities. 

“When we woke up, it was still on, and we’ve had power since then.”

Once assured the power would stay on, the family first made sure their well hadn’t frozen. At the time, some of their neighbors still did not have water. 

“We offered them to have showers, and to come get water for their animals and themselves.”

Rebecca notes that she felt confident in how the situation was handled. 

“I felt like we would eventually be OK,” Rebecca said. “I was lucky enough to have parents who knew how to handle the situation, and had been in the spot before.”

She also mentioned she wasn’t shocked by the amount of snowfall. 

“The severity of the snow didn’t surprise me, it was the lack of preparedness from the energy company’s part,” she said. “I was expecting the snow, and ice, and it being freezing, but I wasn’t expecting to lose power for multiple hours on end.”