By Regina Sears

Changes in the climate have brought surprising weather patterns in recent years—Texas became a victim of this change. During February 2021, Texas experienced a brutal winter storm with temperatures dropping down to -18 °C. There have been many reports on  the deadly Texas snow storms—from pipes breaking and freezing to wide-spread electricity outages, and even deaths. Currently, President Joe Biden has declared a state of emergency in Texas. 

However, 2021 was not the first time it had snowed in the area. Although it does not snow in Texas every winter, absurd weather patterns were occasionally seen in the usually warm state. There have been several reports of snow in Texas in 1881, 1895, 1929, 1940, 1960, 1968, 1973, and 1989. Yet, this does not explain the absurd weather patterns spotted along the southeast and midwest United States. The US National Weather Service (NWS) believes that the arctic outbreak originated from the US-Canada border, bringing cold air toward the South. Despite Texas receiving the most damage from the arctic outbreak, other states have also seen unusual changes in their weather patterns. 

Burst Pipes and Power Outages in Battered Texas - The New York Times

Some of our ICSU staff members were also personally affected with the Texas snowstorm outburst . Northstar Supervisor Mrs. Havill, who has family residing in the area shares her story. “My aunt had to move in with a church because her house was completely destroyed–the water pipes had burst and the temperatures were freezing because houses in Texas were not built well for insolation. She couldn’t even flush her toilet!” 

Mrs. Havill adds, “My best friend’s father-in-law also had to move into a shelter in the countryside because he was freezing in his house which was located in the Fort Worth Dallas area.The snow blocked off all the roads and his health issues made it even more difficult.”

Although the storm has retreated and current situations are under control, the damages left by the storm has affected many. Some are unable to go back home and some are still living off the grid due to the power outages. Below is a list of organization to aid Texans in dire need:

List provided by CNN News: 

  • The Salvation Army provides shelter, food, and other necessary items to those in need throughout Texas.
  • The American Red Cross is supporting at least 35 warming centers with cots and blankets across the state.
  • In Austin, the area Urban League has started the #LoveThyNeighborTX campaign to raise money for hotel rooms, food, water, clothing and other basic needs of the housing insecure communities.
  • Mercy Chefs is providing hot meals, clean drinking water and USDA Farmers to Families grocery boxes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
  • The Houston Food Bank and the Central Texas Food Bank are distributing food to those in need.
  • Austin small business Free Lunch is making deliveries of home-cooked meals, blankets, hand warmers and hygiene kits to the Esperanza Community residents, a state-sanctioned shelter/campsite in the city.
  • The Other Ones Foundation is also providing resiliency kits for residents of the campsite. The kits include basic needs for those experiencing homelessness.
  • Dallas-area organizations Austin Street Center, OurCalling, The Stewpot, Union Gospel Mission, and Oak Lawn United Methodist Church are pooling funds to help pay for temporary shelter as well as Covid-19 rapid tests for those in need.
  • Lucille’s 1913 Community Kitchen is preparing and distributing meals in the Houston area.
  • Caritas of Austin also helps those experiencing housing insecurity in the Austin area. You can support their work by making a monetary donation or ordering items from their Amazon wish list to be shipped directly to the center.
  • The Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County is supporting warming centers throughout Houston and Harris County.
  • Austin Pets Alive! is working to keep pets across Texas warm and safe during the freezing conditions. The group needs heating pads, Styrofoam coolers, dog beds, heat lamps and monetary donations.
  • Save the Children is helping storm-damaged child care and early learning centers in Texas recover. They are also providing hygiene kits, bottled water, warm clothing and PPE to shelters.
  • Rebuilding Together is providing critical home repairs that have occurred as a result of the storm in North Texas, Dallas and Houston.