The arctic grip on Terrell finally began to loosen and power was restored by Thursday morning to more than 500 customers in the city who had gone without electricity for several days.
However, 393 customers in Elmo still were without power and eight customers in the Kings Creek neighborhood just south of I-20 in Terrell remained without electrical service on Thursday morning, according to Oncor Electric Delivery.
Earlier in the week, power outages had left 539 customers in Terrell without power, and Terrell’s hotels were full Tuesday with people seeking warmth. By Tuesday morning, temperatures in Terrell had plunged to a record-setting minus 3 degrees. Numerous warming centers were opened in Terrell, including at the Terrell Police Department, which hosted several people. The city’s lone overnight shelter was at First Christian Church, which hosted three families, a homeless person and nine people from Elmo, according to the church’s pastor, Rev. Craig Rutherford. The church stayed opened two nights and received a donation of tacos from Los Hermanos.
On Wednesday, the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) warned of unprecedented high water demand as a result of customer’s needs to fill distribution tanks within their systems. These demands were outpacing the district’s ability to recharge city supplies at normal rates. The cities and utilities served by NTMWD were being asked to preserve water supplies for essential uses vital for firefighting, medical facilities, and basic human health and sanitation. Residents were being asked to limiting usage of items such as washing machines, dishwashers and limiting showers or bathing.
“The District is confident, with public assistance, that essential water demands can be met by eliminating other water uses,” said Billy George, NTMWD assistant deputy. “We ask the cities and water utilities served by NTMWD to share this notice and to take any measures necessary to assist in reducing non-essential water use,” George added.
Meanwhile, streets and roads remained coated with frozen snow and ice throughout most of the week, making driving treacherous. Terrell police responded to three weather-related accidents, all minor, as of the afternoon of Feb. 17. Police also had made 11 welfare checks as of the same time, according to Capt. Arley Sansom.
City utility workers were responding to numerous burst water lines across town as some yards were transformed into ice rinks. Assistant City Engineer Mike Mikeska reported that Terrell’s water distribution system was holding up well considering the bone-chilling cold. Crews, however, did have to make emergency repairs on one 12-inch water main, and the city responded to an estimated 40 to 50 calls from businesses and residences concerning burst pipes.
It appears the worst is over in terms of snow and freezing temperatures. Saturday’s forecast calls for a high near 44 under sunny skies and a low of 34.
The storm has overtaxed the state’s electrical grid, and blackouts affected millions of Texans.
Gov. Greg Abbott requested and received a federal emergency declaration for Texas.
The City of Terrell announced Monday the temporary suspension of all non-essential services due to weather conditions of extreme low temperatures and continuing precipitation. That declaration remained in place Thursday. Essential services of police, fire, public works and water utilities were not interrupted.
City Hall, Housing Department, Municipal Court, Airport and the library were closed for most of the week. Garbage collection was halted pending improved road conditions.
Terrell ISD cancelled school the entire week as did Trinity Valley Community College.