As Hunt County residents managed to deal with rolling blackouts, low to now water pressure and the coldest weather in decades, area first responders handled emergencies for everything ranging from fires to busted pipes to stranded animals.
And while the end may be nearing for the worst winter storm in recent memory, the after effects are expected to be around for quite some time.
As of press time Thursday, the City of Greenville and several nearby communities were under boil water notices due to low water pressure issues, which may have been resolved. The Texas Commission on Environment Quality requires water-providing entities to notify customers to boil water in certain instances when water provided might contain bacteria or other microbes.
Under a notice, the TCEQ requires that residents of the affected area boil water to ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to consumption.
The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes. In lieu of boiling, residents may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source.
Hunt County and the surrounding area were finally lifted from a Winter Storm Warning Wednesday afternoon, but to until the cold weather made a devastating impact on the region.
The National Weather Service reported the thermometer at Majors Field, the City of Greenville Municipal Airport, fell to -3 degrees Tuesday morning.
The frigid conditions helped exacerbate the rolling blackouts which the Electric Reliability Council imposed after record electric demand threatened to overwhelm the state’s entire electric grid.
Officials with GEUS, the city of Greenville electric system, said that while most of the blackouts were anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes at a time, other area were out for far longer., noting some GEUS customers were involved in a neighborhood distribution outage. GEUS reportedly had some fuses and transformers fail due to record high demand on some distribution feeders.
“GEUS employees have worked diligently to restore services and to minimize outages as much as possible for our customers,” said GEUS General Manager Alicia Hooks. “We won’t rest until all customer’s electric and Internet services are fully restored and outages have ended,” Hooks added.
Many businesses closed during the storm, as roads were covered in ice and snow and the blackouts made it difficult to impossible to continue operations. Stores closed after shelves were cleared from shoppers planning to wait out the storm at home.
All Hunt County offices were closed through Thursday, and most school districts were closed through the end of the week.
The Hunt Regional Healthcare center in Quinlan was closed Wednesday, after a reported power surge caused damage to the facility Tuesday.
A fire reportedly caused by one of the power surges Tuesday damaged one of the screens and sound systems at the Majestic 12 Theater in Greenville.
Another fire was reported Tuesday at the Las Incas Apartments in Greenville, causing damage to one of the units. No injuries were reported.
An untold number of accidents were reported along area roadways. Personnel from the Cash Fire Department and Hunt County Sheriff Terry Jones successfully rescued a horse who had fallen Wednesday afternoon through the ice into a pond off State Highway 34. Swiftwater Rescue Technician Captain Kim Lyons was able to successfully secure a rope around the horse so Sheriff Jones and firefighters could pull it to safety. Greenville Fire-Rescue also responded with a boat in the event it was needed.
It will remain cold, but may actually get above freezing for the first time this week, as the National Weather Service forecast was predicting sunny, skies and a high near 32 for Friday afternoon , with it changing to partly cloudy with a low around 18 overnight.