Howard Mamou shovels snow at the Glennwood in Hutto, Texas, Tuesday, Feb 16, 2021. The worst U.S. power outages were in Texas, affecting more than 2 million homes and businesses. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Howard Mamou shovels snow at the Glennwood in Hutto, Texas, Tuesday, Feb 16, 2021. The worst U.S. power outages were in Texas, affecting more than 2 million homes and businesses. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Howard Mamou shovels snow at the Glennwood in Hutto, Texas, Tuesday, Feb 16, 2021. The worst U.S. power outages were in Texas, affecting more than 2 million homes and businesses. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP) Howard Mamou shovels snow at the Glennwood in Hutto, Texas, Tuesday, Feb 16, 2021. The worst U.S. power outages were in Texas, affecting more than 2 million homes and businesses. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Tangled Up in Blue: A lot of snow

There’s a lot of snow out there.

After asking somebody about their weekend, he proceeded to tell me about chain-sawing blocks of snow on his roof. The large igloo pieces were pushed off onto the ground, alleviating tons of pressure from his home.

The plow driver spent an afternoon moving piles of snow from one corner to another while I watched from my desk. The repetitive “beep beep beep” as he maneuvered along my residential street interrupted my podcast listening for nearly an hour.

Plenty of perfectly groomed corduroy has been covered with new snow before I get a chance to tie my ski boots.

But, we’re not alone up here.

Stories from a frigid Texas are flooding my news feed. It started with a stream of Instagram stories from a botanist. I followed as he showed his different, warm weather plants covered in snow and encased in ice outside his Austin, Texas, home. In the background of his videos, you could see families playing in and enjoying what, to my Alaska brain, was just a dusting of snow.

Soon, though, the news turned dour, with frozen plants being the least of Texans’ problems.

The electricity is out, homes are freezing and potable water is hard to come by. Even the turtles are cold! Thousands of cold-stunned turtles were rescued and have taken up residence in South Padre Island’s convention center in order to keep warm.

How odd it is, to watch a swath of the country struggle with something that is so commonplace for me.

My initial reaction is to scoff and compare inches of snow, but Texans aren’t used to this.

Many of them are in our shoes for the first time, and it seems like they borrowed our Chacos, not our insulated XTRATUFs.

It hasn’t been long since I was bamboozled by cold weather myself. I’m still a cheechako in many ways, including in the art of defrosting my windshield in a timely fashion.

My first winter in the North, I could barely drive the snowy roads. I was baffled by the electrical plugs hanging out of cars. I didn’t know how to layer clothing, since I was constantly cold or way too hot, and I couldn’t, for the life of me, start a fire in a wood stove.

Those in Texas are facing bigger problems than which coat to wear. Many of them don’t have a single piece of proper clothing in their closet, let alone a puffy jacket.

Our every day is their emergency, and there are plenty of ways to help. There are mutual aid efforts for every major city, including Austin Mutual Aid and Mutual Aid Houston, that are coordinating to help their communities in any way, such as the delivery of essential goods and emergency transportation.

You could also help by donating to food banks, such as Feeding Texas, to insure those struggling in the face of these unprecedented winter storms don’t have to worry about food on top of everything else.

It can be easy to get lost under feet of snow in Alaska, but remember, we’re not alone up here.


By KAT SORENSEN

For the Clarion


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