Peter Zurba said trees just collapses under the weight of all the ice. (Submitted)

Peter Zurba said trees just collapses under the weight of all the ice. (Submitted)

U.S. man credits Revelstoke upbringing for surviving Texas ice storm

The storm killed 82 people

Winter Storm Uri was one of the worst natural disasters in the recorded history of Texas.

The major ice storm knocked out power for almost 10 million people, making it the largest blackout in the U.S. since a software bug caused widespread power outages in 2003.

As Storm Uri swept across the continent from northern Canada, homes lost power for days, causing pipes to freeze and burst.

READ MORE: Winter storm knocks out power for days, kills 9 in Texas

From Feb. 16 to 21, Storm Uri killed 82 people and caused damages pegged at least $195 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster in the state.

Peter Zurba said his skills gained through his Revelstoke upbringing, helped him weather the storm.

“In Revelstoke, we’re just born with winter skills.”

He said some of his neighbours had no winter clothes and many panicked.

Zurba said life in Revelstoke taught him how to layer clothes and start fires. Unlike many Texans, Zurba had snow pants and snow boots.

“I was ahead of the game.”

Peter Zurba said trees just collapses under the weight of all the ice. (Submitted)

Since Zurba lives near a hospital, outside Austin, his home did not lose power. However, people just five minutes away lost electricity for more than 30 hours.

Zurba said the ice storm was incredible, going from sleet to freezing rain to snow. Water froze on tree leaves, causing large trunks to split and break.

“Trees were shattering,” he said.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Lights come back on in Texas as water woes rise in the South

By the storm’s end, Zurba said roughly 20 cm of snow had fallen as temperatures had plunged to almost -10 C. At times during the storm, Texas was colder than Revelstoke.

The average lows in Texas during February typically hover around +4 C. Storm Uri brought the most snow to the state since 1985.

With the fresh snow, Zurba said he took his family sledding, using garbage bags with holes cut out for legs.

“That’s what we did growing up.”

The fresh snow reminded Zurba of being at the top of the ski hill in Revelstoke.

“It brought me home.”

This week, temperatures in Austin are expected to reach +28 C.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Severe weather

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Revelstoke’s Peter Zurba said the recent Texan storm was dangerous if people were not prepared. Luckily, he had solid winter skills learned from his Revelstoke childhood. (Submitted)

Revelstoke’s Peter Zurba said the recent Texan storm was dangerous if people were not prepared. Luckily, he had solid winter skills learned from his Revelstoke childhood. (Submitted)

Just Posted

A second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Vernon’s BX Elementary School. (Kerry Hutter photo)
Second COVID case confirmed at Vernon elementary school

Exposure at BX Elementary happened April 6 and 7

Highway 97 being converted to four lanes in April 1990. This photo taken in Lake Country. (Greater Vernon Museum and Archives Photo #14025)
HISTORY: How the old Highway 97 in Lake Country got new name

Pelmewash Parkway recognizes the First Nations history in Lake Country

Salmon Arm Silverbacks defenceman Kieran Ruscheinski (right) sticks close to Vernon Vipers forward Logan Lorenz during Salmon Arm’s 2-1 overtime win in B.C. Hockey League pod play Saturday, April 10, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Mack attack paces Salmon Arm Silverbacks past Vernon

Sullivan Mack scores both goals, including beautiful OT winner, in Gorillas’ 2-1 BCHL pod play win over Snakes

Paddlewheel Park off Okanagan Landing Road, Vernon. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon council looks to address parking shortage at Paddlewheel Park

City staff are looking into short, medium and long-term overflow parking options

WATCH: A Royal procession through Vernon, 1959

Prince Philip, who died April 9 at 99, visited Vernon on a tour of Canada in 1959

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Flight with COVID
Another Kelowna flight with COVID-19 exposure

Westjet flight on April 5 from Kelowna to Edmonton

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Most Read