Blast from the past: Recent storm reminds students of previous snow


Bethany Mann

Fallen tree branches have cut down power lines across town, leaving many businesses, homes and schools without power.

Bethany Mann, News/Feature Editor

Twenty-four hours. That’s how long sophomore Lily Haider was without power. As her family crowded around their fireplace to stay warm, she couldn’t help but remember the storm that hit Texas nearly two years ago.

“This time was sort of easier,” Haider said. “We knew the drill to get the fire started, and we had experience with cooking on the fire. We knew to fill the bathtubs in case of our water going out, and we were overall a lot better prepared for the situation.”

Freezing temperatures coupled with constant precipitation hit late Monday night. Due to ice on the roads and many campuses in the district without power, all schools were closed Tuesday through Thursday, and Smithson Valley Middle and High School will be closed Friday.

“Many people around here are not familiar with really cold weather,” English teacher Pamela Chambers said, “so I think it was a good idea (to close school). I think we would have had a very high absence rate and had school opened, it would have been minimal learning at best.”

The New York Times
Power outages during the 2021 storm.

But this wasn’t the first time students and teachers experienced extended school closures due to weather. On Feb. 14, 2021, precipitation and temperatures in the single digits hit Texas, leaving people without water and power for days while snow accumulated outside.

Junior Trajan Falk lost power and water during the storm two years ago for several days.

“It was supposed to be rolling blackouts, but it was more like rolling power,” he said. “We’d have power for 10 to 20 minutes and then not for another four or five hours.”

But this time, Falk did not experience extended power outages like Haider did. 

“We didn’t lose power for more than 10 minutes at a time,” Falk said. “The bigger issue will be clearing all the fallen tree branches and making sure the ones that are still standing don’t die.”

Ella Winkler
Fallen tree limbs in sophomore Ella Winkler’s backyard.

 And Falk isn’t the only one that lost trees. Many people, including Haider, have broken tree branches in their lawn from the heavy ice that accumulated, which is  something that didn’t happen two years ago.

“This year we experienced a lot more damage,” Haider said. “We have had many trees lose almost all of their branches and almost hit our house.”

Despite the damage experienced during this year’s storm, Haider had a more enjoyable break from school than the one given to her two years ago.

“It was really exciting,” she said. “I got to sleep in and have extra time to finish my homework that I didn’t do. My mom works for North East Independent School District, and she didn’t have to go to school as well, so we celebrated and planned to bake and watch movies together.”

Through these events, Haider claims she has gained a valuable life lesson.

“This experience has really opened my eyes and made me appreciate the things I am lucky to have,” she said. “I think we all take for granted the clean running water and fast electricity.”