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.
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.
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.
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