Winter Storm Bingo

Well, it’s been quite an experience. As a neighbor said yesterday, “I’m tired of living through a historical event.” But power is coming back, and boiling water is a small price to pay for having water. Yesterday, I found clear and dry roads: a far cry from what Texas experienced for days.

Austin, Texas

To say that Texas cities aren’t equipped for snow removal is an understatement. On the other hand, at least one Texan has a sense of humor.

Out in the country, substituting tractor tires (or hay bales) and chains for snow plows helps to clear the roads.

Bandera County

Of course, not everyone was able to travel.

Galveston Island

Some decided that walking was the better option.

Austin

Between checking the temperature and charging their cell phones in the car, a lot of people played Winter Storm Bingo — but you had to cross off every square to win.

Eventually, some areas began to thaw, roads cleared, and the lines at generator-powered fast food restaurants stretched for blocks.

Despite it all, the beauty was memorable. These photos, taken by Will Leverett at or near Stillwaters Ranch in Llano County, tell the tale. Located near the Willow City Loop and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, they celebrate a rarely seen view of the Texas landscape.

This is not a Longhorn. It’s a modern American breed: Ankole-Watusi

I’d like to see such sights in person one day, although, to be honest, I’d prefer seeing them with a functioning power grid to keep things a little more comfortable at home.

Comments always are welcome.
Photos other than Will Leverett’s were being widely shared online, without attribution.

And Then, It Snowed

At first, it was only a gentle tapping of sleet against the window, but it was enough to waken me, suggesting that something more than a cold rain might be in store.

The forecasters had seemed confident of snow, so I got up and began watching. Before long, flakes appeared: not many, and not so dramatic as those recorded earlier in the evening by people all along the coastal plain, but flakes nonetheless. Despite the hour — 4 a.m. — there was only one thing to do. I put on a pot of coffee, and got dressed.

By six o’clock, an inch had fallen. Temperatures along the water always are a few degrees warmer than those farther inland, so our snow was a bit slushy; it didn’t accumulate on the grass, and began melting almost immediately on plants. Still, on rooftops, table tops, and the cold fiberglass of boats, it stayed until well after dawn.

Even run-of-the-mill rooftops took on new interest with the addition of snow.

Enjoying the morning’s novelty, I remembered a poem published in the Galveston Daily News on February 14, 1895. On that day, a truly significant snowstorm struck the Texas coast, piling up from 21 to 28 inches of snow.  The anonymous author of a slightly awkward verse titled “The Texas Coast Land” first described the delights of the Texas coast — flowers, birds, sand, and gentle breezes — and then concluded:

If you think it doesn’t freeze here,
Ne’er grows cold and never snows here,
Then you surely should have been here
On the day you see below here.
For it surely was a hummer
And proved it is not always summer
In the Texas coast land.

 

Comments always are welcome.
For an account of the famous — and far more substantial — 2004 Christmas Eve snow known locally as “The Christmas Miracle,” please click here.