For those of you on the outside looking in, you're probably like what the hell is going on down in Texas and you'd be right because we're asking the same exact questions. For reference, in Houston, in our entire history, it has maybe snowed exactly 4 or 5 times. An average winter for us is like 60+ degrees F and we've even had years where even in December the temps were in the 80's so its fair to say, we don't "do" snow and freezing temps.
So leading up to this storm, as the weather people would do for any hurricane, we were getting warnings that it was coming and to prepare by stocking up with groceries and gas, and wrapping pipes, protecting plants, bringing pets, etc. People were doing that slowly but surely and despite hearing the temps might get down to 13 and 15 degrees Fahrenheit, people were worried, but many were looking forward to the anomaly because with previous storms, by the end of the day, the snow and ice have usually melted and its back to our regularly scheduled programs.
What actually happened was the day after Valentine's day, all hell broke loose after the first day of the storm in which it rained, the rain froze, iced over, and then was covered by about 1-2 inches of powdery snow (in my area). Probably 90% of the city stayed home that first night/day. Freeways were empty, everything was closed, all good. About midday though, power started to shut off for certain people in what was 20 degree F and below weather with no warning and instead of coming back on in about an hour as with a rolling blackout, the power stayed off for some people, upwards of 3 days. Imagine your newborn, your pets, your grandparents, all just sitting there in what should be your warm house, now freezing.
What was a few became a lot, then whole sides of town, then just about everybody either was completely in the dark for days or had power out for whole days at a time with no relief, then back on. My power went out twice...once at my house and once about an hour out of town at my aunts house and then my power came back and a day later, hers did. I was not a happy camper because I work online and have a business online and it was friggin 38 degrees inside! What was fun at first became a nightmare for so many as we then began to lose water because the pressure dropped too low in the system and pipes were literally bursting in the cold because either people had to clue about how to take care of cold pipes, or there was so much conflicting into...drip the water, don't drip it, turn off the water to your house, don't......and so no power and no water was just about everyone's reality.
Texas has it's own power grid independent of the rest of the US, meaning it supports itself, and that's great until it isn't. We can't just hook up the system to our neighbors if we are in need so a combination of frozen systems, non existent or non functioning generators, and overload and stress on the power and water systems all topped off with a Senator jetting off to Cancun in the middle of state wide disaster (despite accusing others politicians of doing the same) and the energy company playing real dumb on their massive blunder and pointing fingers every which way have led us here.
At this moment, luckily people have begun to regain power again (in my area), water is slowly but surely coming back online but we're having to boil water for drinking/eating due to potential bacteria in the water until probably Monday, people have died of CO2 poisoning simply trying to keep warm, many people already struggling with the pandemic and food supply are having to throw out their food, pipes have burst and destroyed homes and businesses....and just basically a giant cluster F.