MINEOLA, TX — Most Texans are still suffering from the effects of the winter storm. Thousands are still without electricity and unable to heat their homes. Many of the roads are still too dangerous to drive on and now many do not have running water.
While traveling through East Texas we met up with several people at a local hardware store who were there looking through the bare shelves of the plumbing department for parts to fix their leaks. We spoke with one local homeowner Greg McKinney about the problems he has seen. McKinney said “I’ve been remodeling my own homes for 25 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.” McKinney is currently remodeling a home in the small East Texas town of Mineola and every water line in the home froze and broke. McKinney took the usual necessary precautions but still had multiple leaks. McKinney said “Prior to the freeze we turned off the main water line to the house and opened all of the faucets in the home. Typically, any water left in the lines will expand and the ice just expand down the line but this time was very different. Any water left in the lines expanded outward and cracked all of the older PVC lines in the home. The lines cracked in multiple locations so everything had to be replaced.” McKinney also had to replace several faucets in the home as well because a small about of water was in the faucets and caused it those to crack as well. He estimates his repair cost will run about $1,000. McKinney said “I’m lucky I have the tools and the ability to make the repairs myself. If I had to hire a plumber to make the repairs it would have easily cost 3 times as much.”
After repairing his own home McKinney started helping his neighbors make repairs. All plumbers in the area were booked so it could take weeks before they can get to everyone. McKinney said “I have the tools and few plumbing supplies so I’m just trying to help out as much as I can. Many people have been without water for several days.”
Texas hasn’t experienced temperatures this low in around 100 years and the state wide devastation caused by these extremely low temperatures is something they have never seen. It is estimated the losses could easily top 100 billion dollars. The true cost will probably never be known. As spring arrives many Texans fear their plants and trees may not survive such prolonged cold temperatures as well. Especially those plants that are not native to this area and are typically grown in warmer climates.
Well 2020 was a difficult year and 2021 isn’t starting off so well in Texas. It could easily take months for everyone in Texas to make the necessary repairs to their homes and get back to normal but it’s nice to see people like Greg McKinney helping his neighbors during these difficult times.