Cedar Rapids native experiencing Texas winter storm: ‘I’ve never experienced anything like it’

Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 5:59 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - After living in Cedar Rapids for 40 years, Sharlyn Guthrie and her husband are no stranger to dangerous winter storms.

The couple thought moving to Wylie, Texas would keep them clear of the cold and snow, but this week has been like no other storm they’ve experienced.

“It’s just been a lot and we really never experienced any of that when we were in Iowa.”

Guthrie said she hasn’t been able to shower or cook food since the winter storm began on Sunday, leaving millions without power.

She said their power company started doing rolling blackouts on Sunday night and there hasn’t been any word of when the power will be fully back. With a fireplace they’ve been able to keep their home near 50 degrees.

“In a way you kind of feel like you’re prepared because you’ve been through so many winter storms, but the infrastructure isn’t really suited to dealing with this kind of cold it really is very different,” Guthrie said.

She added that her local fire department has told citizens they are not able to respond to all emergencies at this time. Guthrie said days after, they still have snow covered dangerous roads because the city does not have snow plow equipment.

Raymond Siddell is the founder and organizer of the Iowa Derecho Resource Center. The resource center opened on August 12, two days after the derecho that left thousands of Iowans in the dark for weeks.

“I think the biggest connection we can make between the two communities is the lack of communication from leadership, kind of giving some direction and how to handle it.”

Since the August 10 derecho, he’s advocated for leadership and government officials to be better prepared for natural disasters, like the recent Texas winter storm.

”Somebody on the ground needs to be there for the people,” Siddell said. “They need a place to go. They need a place to vent, and they also need to see other people are impacted just as much, or more than they are so that they can start the road to recovery together.”

Siddell said in his experience with the derecho, it’s best to start recovery as soon as possible because when the power comes back on a lot of help and restoration will be needed.

Guthrie said in their nearly six years living in Texas, they’ve only experienced snow twice and never reached single digit temperatures. She said their home in Texas just can’t handle the cold, and they’re thankful to have a fireplace for some warmth.

”We are looking forward to things getting back to normal, but we feel very blessed for how we’ve been able to get through it,” Guthrie said.

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