Houston Strong: Our Stories

Houston Style Magazine's Staff Share How They Survived the Texas Winter Freeze

Feature Writer, Cecilia M. Austin: I don’t have many memories of snow. Sure, I remember diving under a desk during earthquake drills while growing up in California, but snow was largely an anomaly reserved for TV. It looked nice enough, but I don’t do cold so there’s that. So, seeing snow in Houston, where I’ve now lived for over a decade, had never crossed my mind. For a city largely accustomed to floods, hurricanes and soul searing humidity - snow just isn’t something most of us are prepared for including myself.


As I told a friend recently, save the “this isn’t even that cold” jokes for those accustomed to snow chains and wearing ‘Timbs’ in the wild north. That is not our ministry. From that point on the city was essentially closed, as millions of Texans woke up to a combination of no heat and no water. Many of us had stocked our fridges of what we thought would be a cold snap, not knowing the fridge would be the least of our concerns.


That Monday I went through the motions as best I could, using my phone for work and praying the lights (and water) would come back on soon. Unfortunately, we don’t have a gas stove, leaving us to huddle under large Sherpa blankets as I tried to work off my phone.


As the temperature dropped from 40 to under 30 degrees, my husband and I moved to the car to charge phones that no longer even had service. That night we warmed up in the car and then ‘thugged’ it out by sleeping in our near freezing home. Over the next four days we migrated to a friend with a fireplace, where I discovered that I can chop firewood in a kitchen, but that’s a story for another day.

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Read this story in full at Houston Style Magazine | February 2021

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