Rapid thaw follows record storm

Posted 2/25/21

Back-to-back storms packing snow, ice and record sub-zero temperatures socked in Wood County and much of Texas and the country last week.

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Rapid thaw follows record storm


Back-to-back storms packing snow, ice and record sub-zero temperatures socked in Wood County and much of Texas and the country last week.

Schools across the county took the entire week off after the Presidents Day holiday on Monday, Feb. 15.

Many other businesses shuttered, with a few convenience stores, hardware and grocery stores seen open around the county until Friday.

Wood County government also closed down for the week along with many city halls, post offices and other entities. Some mail service had resumed by Friday and Saturday, though rural mail carriers still found some roads difficult to navigate.

Travel remained treacherous throughout the week, with some road surfaces finally starting to show signs of thawing late Thursday and Friday, with high temperatures both days just barely to the freezing mark for the first time in a week. But moisture refroze as temperatures dropped back into the teens at night. Major clearing and melting was underway as temperatures warmed Saturday.

The weather played havoc with basketball playoff games as Alba-Golden girls had to move their area round game from Tuesday and Friday to Saturday. Mineola boys and went from a Friday bidistrict contest to Saturday and eventually to Monday (see related stories on 8A).

All other school extracurricular activities had to be canceled or postponed.

The rolling power blackouts that impacted wide swaths of the state did not seem to impact Wood County, which is not a part of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas that governs much of the state’s power grids.

Local electric providers Southwestern Electric Power Co. and Wood County Electric Co-op reported various outages from the storms, but were not even as widespread as those from the previous week’s ice storm of Feb. 11.

Several local water supply companies had to issue boil order notices by Wednesday.

Cancellations included many church services starting Sunday, Feb. 14 and Wednesday, Feb. 17.

The Lake Country Playhouse in Mineola canceled its final weekend production on Feb. 14 and also moved its performances for Feb. 19-21 to Feb. 26-28.

Government meetings postponed included the Quitman School Board, the Wood County Economic Development Commission, the Quitman City Council, the Mineola City Council and county commissioners.

Though the Mineola council meeting was scheduled for Monday, Feb. 22, city hall was so overwhelmed with phone calls that the limited staff was unable to prepare the agenda and related documents and delayed the meeting until March 1. County commissioners pushed their Tuesday meeting to Friday.

As of Friday afternoon the two staffers at Mineola City Hall had recorded 164 phone calls concerning frozen or burst water pipes.

One main line water leak was being investigated along N. Pacific St. near the Mineola library.

Trash services also did not run during the week and were scheduled to resume normal routines Monday, noting that extra times would be needed to pick up two weeks worth of trash.

Some banks were open for limited hours one or two days, but most were closed, some throughout the entire week.

The Meals on Wheels home delivery program for senior citizens in the area, based out of Tyler, was unable to deliver meals for the entire week.

The Wood County Sheriff’s Office was offering rides to those who needed to relocate and was also offering its offices as a warming shelter.

Mineola police and fire calls for the week were dominated by weather-related traffic mishaps, welfare checks and assistance calls.

The combination of power outages at the press in Henderson and dangerous driving conditions delayed delivery of the Monitor until late Friday, with some post offices receiving copies on Monday.