Ice storm shuts down Austin, again

Students and staff share experiences of power outages during winter storm



Ice shines on trees in front of Akins Early College High School on Feb. 1 after a storm canceled classes for four days and paralyzed activity across Austin.

Samantha Limon, Staff Writer

In February of 2021, Texas suffered through winter storm Uri, which caused all types of damage throughout the state, including Austin.

For almost a week Texans dealt with below-freezing temperatures, snow, and ice, leading to power and water outages, icy roads, as well as the deaths of Texans in fragile medical conditions.

When an ice storm hit Central Texas during the week of Jan. 30, some Akins students experienced flashbacks as the storm once again closed schools, and led to widespread power outages that took days to repair in some cases. Although this year’s storm wasn’t as bad in terms of snow and low temperatures, it still brought Austin to a standstill and canceled classes in Austin ISD for four days.

The main problem with this storm was the amount of ice that accumulated on trees and weighed them down to the point that it caused limbs to break off and fall on electric lines. Austin Energy, the City of Austin’s electric utility, was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of broken power equipment damaged by the storm.

Some families had no power for a whole week. Some had tree limbs fallen on their houses and cars. The Eagle’s Eye surveyed Akins students and staff to learn about their experiences during the storm and what they endured.

Students and staff reported that they were not able to drive on the road and were stuck in their houses unable to use or charge devices. Some said they waited a long time to hear back from local authorities when they reported problems.

Junior Maia Nuñez wrote, “the top of our biggest tree fell over and almost hit our house.”

As trees were falling many families were in danger as they could have gotten hit by a fallen tree.
“Yes, a major branch on my front yard tree fell, along with many other smaller branches falling and big branches dangling, hanging by a thread,” wrote junior Diego Hernandez.

During the power outage, students had to find ways to entertain themselves without their usual electronic devices. Student Liana Rodriguez said she listened to music and played Uno. Eventually, her family decided to take refuge at a hotel, where they could stay warm and watch a movie.

Other students without power played board games and card games. Others said they read and listened to music or hung out with friends and family. Students and staff with power reported they cooked, watched TV, and played video games.

Junior Bryceton West said the worst part of the storm was school getting canceled for so many days.
“School got pushed back so I think there will be a lot of catching up to do,” he said.

Junior Brandon Wicken said he was stressed about changed school assignments and tests.
Even after classes in Austin ISD resumed on Feb. 6, many neighborhoods and main roads in Austin and surrounding areas still had branches and trees fallen everywhere.
Even after all the setbacks that were put many students and staff managed to have fun and relax.

Junior Mikaela Obregon said, ” I actually liked not having school and I like cold weather”. Some students liked having off time from school while some wanted to come back because of the winter storm.