For Zoe Waldron, 30, the polar vortex and gray skies made her nostalgic for La Conner, Washington, her hometown. But in San Antonio? “It feels like a one-off event,” she said.
Ms. Waldron’s 34-year-old friend Patrick Attwater drove to the couple’s Austin home on Saturday to warm it to 65 degrees and let the faucets drip. This was insurance against burst pipes as the temperatures would likely drop to single digits on Sunday evening, forecasters said. “I’m from Kansas,” he said. “If we look at our family up there, it’s minus 20, so we feel happier here.”
Parts of the Gulf Coast in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi know the brutal weather: hurricanes, floods, thick summer heat. But single-digit temperatures and ice-covered roads were something completely different.
In Mississippi, officials told residents they would likely have to stay off the streets until at least Tuesday. They warned that local authorities there are not as well equipped as in the northern states, which are regularly exposed to such winter conditions.
“We have some plows on our truck, but it’s not the kind you have in the north that’s really designed to load, dig, and get that plow off the road,” said Melinda McGrath, the executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation. “We don’t invest in these as this only happens every five years or so.”
Entrepreneurs looked at forecasts and decided whether to close. Jeff Good, who owns three restaurants in and around Jackson, Miss., Said two of his restaurants stayed open Sunday nights, but the third, an early bakery, would certainly be closed on Monday. “With the weather at midnight tonight, we just can’t see how we can open at 6 in the morning,” said Mr. Good.
Valentine’s Day celebrations had already been restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now the plans had to be re-elected even more.