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Ask the Editor - Lessons from a Texas storm

WORLD Radio - Ask the Editor - Lessons from a Texas storm


MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, March 5th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

Editor in chief Marvin Olasky fields questions every month about WORLD’s news coverage. But during the last few weeks, many listeners have written to ask about a story you haven’t heard: his own account of the snow and ice storm that plagued so many Texans last month.

BROWN: So for today’s Ask the Editor, here are all the frigid details.

MARVIN OLASKY, EDITOR IN CHIEF: WORLD members have asked how my wife and I did during the hard freeze that left millions of Texans without power during the third week of February. We did fine. We were without heat or electricity for five days, so the temperature inside our house dropped into the 30s. I’m taping this while waiting for a plumber to arrive: We have been without running water for two weeks. But it has been OK physically and good spiritually.

Some of you might wonder why a half-foot of snow and ice was a big deal. The problem in Austin, Texas, is that we are used to a slight dusting of snow once every five years. It’s been 31 years since we had single digit temperatures. Houses here have minimal insulation. Utilities are unprepared for long hard freezes. A “snowplow”? What’s that?

Happily, my house has a fireplace and I had a woodpile, so during most of our powerless week we sat by the fire dressed in layers of clothes that made us look like the Michelin man or the Pillsbury doughboy. We also used a gas-powered stovetop for tea and soup. We ran our car twice a day to warm up and recharge our cellphones and computers. We piled on the blankets at night. 

Most important, we had each other and God. Sadly, my prayers often overload on the supplication end, but that week we had a lot of thanksgiving for food, fire, and marriage. Other people had it much worse, but our Christian-led Austin Disaster Relief Network came through. Hundreds of volunteers with 4×4 vehicles drove people to shelters and hospitals. They distributed food and water. At least 10 churches became clean and safe shelters.

We had to turn off our water when a pipe in the crawlspace under our house burst. Austin’s plumbers have been booked up with thousands of more difficult situations where pipes burst indoors. So our lack of running water during the last two weeks has also given us a taste of pioneer life. I have a 100-gallon tank filled with rainwater from the roof, so I haul water in buckets to make our toilets work. We’re running through about 25 gallons of stored water for drinking. We have showered at a neighbor’s house.

So, lesson #1: Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Lesson #2: Be prepared with at least a couple of weeks of food, water, wood, matches, flashlights, etc. Lesson #3, which I can say emphatically after 45 years of marriage: It is not good for man to be alone. 

I’m Marvin Olasky.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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Vicki Link

Thank you for writing about your personal experience and what you learned!! I respect you and all of your writings! I’m blessed you are here to continue! God bless you!