Once again, the good people of Wimberley were challenged by an unruly meteorological event.
The name is still being debated – “#Icenado’23”, “Elmmageddon”, “Oaknarök”, “The
Snappening”. But as chainsaws wail their sad dirges to fallen trees, the community’s response is
as expected – helpful, neighborly, compassionate. At the time of writing, First Baptist Church
(FBC) has a new mountain of wood chips rising in its street front. The forum is full of kind folks
offering to help and warnings of rip-off artists. And at home, everybody is hard at work clearing
their yards, cleaning out their fridges, and probably sipping a drink and shedding a tear at the
trunk of their favorite old live oak.
Five days after the front blew in, there are over 1000 electrical meters out of service – a large
portion of them in the Wimberley area. As the area has grown and developed, PEC has
expanded service to new neighborhoods and communities. Many of these developments draw
power from a distribution system that stretches over large ranches with limited access,
overgrown easements, and canyons, hills and valleys. For our heroic linemen, the struggle is
real. For our folks without power, the deep-freeze is a biohazard.
As one might expect, demand for generators is surpassed only by chainsaw purchases. Since
Snowpocalypse’21, the community has seen a steady growth in home back-up installations. For
genset owners, the play paid back dividends. For the community, the play also worked out,
benefitting homes and community fixtures alike. FBC is implementing plans to install a large
diesel generator and work with first responders for such outages. For homeowners, their
generators provided opportunities to help themselves as well as others:
With the lights and heat on, there are opportunities to grab some lumber and shore up a
favorite tree, invite the neighbors over for a movie and a hot meal. Not that close to your
neighbor? -Send a batch of chili over (beans, no beans – judgement-free zone). With the hose
bibs steadily dripping, there is time to go check on the elderly and kiddos, let the linemen into
the neighbor’s gate, run a bale of hay out to cold livestock, knock the ice out of the troughs.
Maybe just get some work done to avoid lost wages. Plan to create your own opportunities.
“In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is
-Dwight D. Eisenhower