Northern experience helps Canadians in Texas weather winter storm

  
Via:  Buzz of the Orient  •  2 months ago  •  20 comments

By:   Denise Paglinawan The Canadian Press Staff

Northern experience helps Canadians in Texas weather winter storm
 

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Northern experience helps Canadians in Texas weather winter storm

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Cristina Lucero gathers snow while trying to build a snowman Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Houston. A winter storm dropping snow and ice sent temperatures plunging across the southern Plains, prompting a power emergency in Texas a day after conditions canceled flights and impacted traffic across large swaths of the U.S. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Canadians living in Texas say the winter survival and driving skills they acquired in their home country are standing them in good stead as the state grapples with widespread power outages and infrastructure failures brought on by a massive winter storm.

Having lived up north for years, several Canadian expatriates said they felt better equipped than their neighbours to brave the wintry conditions so unusual in the southern United States.

But despite their experience with snowy conditions and frigid temperatures, they said they've never experienced conditions as bad as what they've seen in recent days.

"In all of my years in Canada, I've never had a power outage longer than a couple of hours. I've never had to deal with collecting snow to flush to the toilet," said Janessa Frykas, a software engineer working in Austin, Texas.

None of the homes in her neighbourhood have good insulation, said Frykas, who originally hails from Dauphin, Man.

Not many people in the area know how to drive in the snow and ice, said Frykas, who moved to Texas for work about a month before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

"If something like this would have happened in Manitoba, the housing would have been more insulated," she said.

Toronto-born theatre critic Jessica Goldman said she's glad she hasn't gotten rid of some of her Canadian clothes, which have come in handy since her Houston house lost power days ago.

Asked if she wished she was in her hometown, Goldman, who has lived in Houston for about seven years, said she just wishes she was somewhere with water.

"We're Canadians, we're used to the cold. That isn't the biggest issue. The problem with Houston is that they're not used to the cold," she said, noting that pipes in the area are not buried underground and burst in cold weather.

Water pipes ruptured by record-low temperatures have created a shortage of clean drinking water.

Texas authorities ordered seven million people -- a quarter of the population in the second-most populous American state -- to boil tap water before drinking it because low pressure could have allowed bacteria to seep into the system.

"It's been really hard because we just don't have the tools," said Jackie Dunn, 60, who lived in Ontario for 40 years and moved to Austin in 2003.

"If this had happened at home, we'd be all good. But because we're down here, we don't even have ice scrapers in our cars," she said.

Dunn said she can drive in the snow, unlike some of her neighbours, and was therefore able to go downtown to check into the coffee house and theatre she manages.

"But people here don't have snow tires. They don't understand that hitting your brakes when you're on a patch of ice is not a good idea and they tailgate still," she added.

She said the storm was originally a source of amusement for her and fellow former northern residents, including friends from Canada, Minnesota and New York state.

"We all just kind of laugh at first, like at the beginning of this, we were kind of laughing at how everybody is all scared," said Dunn. "And then it got really bad and it was like, this is no joke."

While her home in Austin has power, she said she hasn't had water for days and had to check into a hotel to get access.

Her Canadian friends and family have been jokingly telling her to just come home to Toronto, said Dunn.

"(They said) at least if you came here, you'd have the same weather and free health care," she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2021.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

   -- with files from The Associated Press.

Comments are subject to the group RED RULES , which may be accessed by clicking on the group avatar at the top right of this page.


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Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    2 months ago

Live and learn.

 
 
 
321steve - realistically thinkin or Duu
Sophomore Principal
1.1  321steve - realistically thinkin or Duu   replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    2 months ago

That's one option Buzz.

Seems some prefer the option of don't learn and suffer again.

I don't enjoy suffering, I even try to learn from others mistakes. lol  

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
2  Mark in Wyoming     2 months ago

When i was in the service i was stationed at Pease AFB in NH, just out side Portsmouth , NH .

 when they were constructing the base housing , somehow , Portsmouth NH got confused with Portsmouth Va, which has another rather large military installation for the navy that was also renovating their base housing at the same time.

 well being it was a government contract, and no one bothered to check, the plans and materials for each base got switched and no one caught it , so housing meant for NH went to Va with more insulation and covered garages , and the housing meant for Va went to NH with a lot less insulation and open car ports and not garages .

 it did make things interesting.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Mark in Wyoming @2    2 months ago

Ain't bureaucracy grand?

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
2.1.1  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2.1    2 months ago

i always thought it was funny myself , always trust those that contract things out to the lowest possible bidder, no wonder i usually bought the stuff i was allowed to from non contractors when it came to personal equipment .

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
3  Bob Nelson    2 months ago
"In all of my years in Canada, I've never had a power outage longer than a couple of hours. I've never had to deal with collecting snow to flush to the toilet’'

End of story...

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Junior Silent
4  SteevieGee    2 months ago

Canadians in Texas know enough to go to Cancun when it gets cold.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  SteevieGee @4    2 months ago

I've never been to Florida, but I can't count how many Christmas vacations I've spent in Florida. Exceptions were Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Hawaii and California. 

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
5  Split Personality    2 months ago

So here I am in Texas tending to plants I thought were indigenous. Well now they look like cooked spinach.

Anyhow I laughed when I saw the reaction to the first snow.  I refused to shovel the first day.

I took my AWD car food shopping.

After the second snow, I looked for my transplanted snow shovels from PA.

Both have been hanging behind the shed for many years.

The narrow one split along all of it's reinforcements, presumably  the TX heat.

I salvaged the extra long tapered handle...

The second larger shovel with metal edge was intact but the short handle with a hand grip had rotted off flush with the shovel.

So the two became one and made short work of the paths, driveway and sidewalk.

My neighbors were using small garden spades. 

Priceless.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
5.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  Split Personality @5    2 months ago

We cleared the sidewalk at my office this afternoon - me, my son, and the tenant in the apartment upstairs.  Not much snow, but it got covered by sleet and froze over.  One snow shovel already had a small crack in it, and was kinda useless.  The other, the tenant broke the handle off of before my son and I got there.  Usable, but with difficulty.  The tenant went and bought  new snow shovel, and I went home and got my garden spade to use to break the ice.

My shoulders are killing me.

And why are snow shovels only made of plastic now?  They last a season, maybe 2, then crack.  Hmph.  My garden spade is metal, and was the only thing strong enough to get the job done.

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
5.1.1  devangelical  replied to  sandy-2021492 @5.1    2 months ago
why are snow shovels only made of plastic now?  They last a season, maybe 2, then crack.

duh.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
5.1.2  sandy-2021492  replied to  devangelical @5.1.1    2 months ago

I know, planned obsolescence is a good moneymaking scheme.

Plastic doesn't even work as well, though.

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
5.1.3  devangelical  replied to  sandy-2021492 @5.1.2    2 months ago
planned obsolescence is a good moneymaking scheme

it's a cornerstone of modern american consumerism.

 
 
 
charger 383
PhD Quiet
5.1.4  charger 383  replied to  sandy-2021492 @5.1    2 months ago

You might have to shovel again this morning

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
5.1.5  sandy-2021492  replied to  charger 383 @5.1.4    2 months ago

Already did. If you need salt, get to the co-op now.  They're down to one bag.

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
5.2  devangelical  replied to  Split Personality @5    2 months ago
So here I am in Texas tending to plants I thought were indigenous. Well now they look like cooked spinach.

I'm hoping most of the flora makes it back with the warmer temperatures. otherwise, this might be a great year to be in the nursery and landscaping biz down in texas.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    2 months ago

A bit of advice for Texas drivers.  Do you know what this item is?  Every car driver in Canada keeps one in his car.

OIP.001CT64JPWeUuGqpNbozXAHaId?w=140&h=180&c=7&o=5&pid=1.7

It is a combined brush and a plastic window scraper.  To use it, first you bruxh the snow off the roof, because when you start to drive the snow will slide over to cover the rear window if you don't.  You brush the snow off the hood so the snow doesn't blow onto your windshield while you are driving.  You brush the snow off the windows headlights and all other lights.  Then you scrape the ice off your windows (the plastic scraper will not scratch them).

Shovel some snow from the wheel track direction path in which you intend to first move.  Then DO NOT GOOSE THE ACCELERATOR OR YOU WILL JUST SPIN YOUR WHEELS AND TURN THE SNOW UNDER THEM INTO ICE.  GENTLY, SLOWLY, move the car in the direction of your cleared path, and move back and forth SLOWLY, gradually speeding up each time until you then move the car forward with enough speed to build its momentum to plow iteself through the snow in order to get yourself onto a more cleared roadway.  DO NOT TAILGATE LIKE YOU USUALLY DO, but stay back much farther than you normally do.,  When braking, touch lightly, and in a series of pushes - if you jam your brakes in panic the car will slide and even spin.  

Having driven through Ontario winters for more than half a century, it would be wise to take my advice. 

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
6.1  devangelical  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6    2 months ago

maybe they should have just laid their dumb-ass trump flags over their fucking windshields before the snowstorm hit.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.1.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  devangelical @6.1    2 months ago

If they put the flags down in front of the intended wheel direction it would have helped to provide traction.and the flags would have served a worthwhile purpose. 

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
6.1.2  devangelical  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.1.1    2 months ago

... maybe, if attached to a 10 pound bag of dirt, or the equivalent.

 
 
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