Updated: Feb 20
This tragic situation has impacted millions of Texans and tens of thousands of Plano citizens--I've been out and seen it first-hand. I hope and pray everyone comes out of this, and we are doing what we can to ensure that's the case. There will be plenty of blame to dish out across the state after all this is over, but first things first. I've created this post to keep updated regularly as I learn more, so please bookmark this page. See each section below for information about the current status, warming centers, staying warm, pipes, pools, etc.
Updates & Information: Table of Contents
Life-Threatening Situations: CALL 911
If you even suspect your life, or the life of another is in danger, do not hesitate to call 911. Emergency Services are on full-alert and at the ready to respond to the needs of our community.
Updates at 1:55 PM, Saturday, February 20
If you suspect price gouging (including by electric providers), you can file a complaint here
Water Update! We can now not only shower (briefly), but do full loads of laundry and dishes! See more detailed update here
Updated information on showers available for residents at specific Recreation Centers
Additional update at 9:30 AM, Saturday, February 20
Plano Opens Recreation Center Showers for Residents Without Water
Updates at 9:00 AM, Saturday, February 20
We are distributing bottled water to residents who have no running water at the following two locations: until noon today at Grace Church Plano at 3301 Preston Rd., Plano, TX 75093, and from noon to 6:00 PM today and tomorrow (Sunday) at Plano Event Center at 2000 E Spring Creek Pkwy, Plano, TX 75074
We are still under an urgent water conservation effort until further notice. This is because uncontrolled flooding across the service area due to broken pipes has dramatically depleted the usual supply
Be careful on the roads! A lot of snow and ice melted yesterday, but temperatures went back below freezing overnight, which means re-freezing ice on the roads. We're going back up above freezing now, so most of it will melt away soon, but that doesn't mean there won't be slick spots here and there, especially in the shade
Power has been restored to most, but not all homes. If you still don’t have power, but your neighbors do, the issue might be with your circuit breaker. See this FAQ on what to check for
Temperatures are anticipated to be above freezing all weekend, but to dip back down below freezing for a period on Monday. This doesn't come with the threat of a blizzard or 0 degree temps, so the biggest risk will be the re-freezing of any snow/ice remaining on the roads
Updates at 4:30 PM, Friday, February 19
New Water Conservation guidelines have been published
We are distributing bottled water to residents whose water has had to be shut off due to broken pipes until 7:00 PM today (or until supplies run out) at Grace Church Plano at 3301 Preston Rd., Plano, TX 75093. I'm taking the next shift and closing.
Starting at noon tomorrow, Saturday, February 20, Bottled Water will be made available to residents at Plano Event Center
Updates at 3:20 PM, Thursday, February 18
The City of Plano is making bottled water available for residents whose water had to be shut off due to broken pipes. The distribution will take place at Grace Church Plano, at 3301 Preston Road, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. or until supplies are gone. Up to 12 bottles of water per household are available.
Updates at 11:41 AM, Thursday, February 18
The City of Plano has issued an Urgent Water Conservation Notice (NOT a Boil Water Notice and the City is NOT shutting off water)
Updates at 10:24 AM, Thursday, February 18
The outage is down to approximately 3,000 homes in Plano, from 14,000 yesterday
The Grace Church Plano warming center is scheduled to run until 10:00 PM tonight (Thursday, February 18) with the increasing restoration of power across the area
The Current Status (as of 1:55 PM, Saturday, February 20)
Conservation: please do what you can to conserve electric, gas, and water at the present time. The supply of all three is limited, each for different reasons, discussed under Conservation Measures, below.
Power has been restored to most, but not all homes, and crews still working around the clock to restore power everywhere.
Please understand that the way the electric grid is structured, and due to the different areas served by substations and individual lines, different sections of the city may continue to be without power, while some are experiencing up-and-down power, and some, near critical infrastructure such as hospitals, have not lost power at all.
ONCOR posts periodic updates on their website.
The City of Plano has updated its water conservation notice.
Capacity at the North Texas Municipal Water District was strained in part because burst pipes resulted in uncontrolled flooding, and in part because some equipment froze. It's built to withstand 110 degree heat, but 2 degree cold and inches of ice accumulation weren't foremost considerations in the design.
To my knowledge, we are still being asked to conserve gas. Don't freeze yourself, but please do what you can to conserve.
Dial thermostats down to 68 degrees if you're fortunate enough to still have electricity (I've set mine at 65, not that it's a competition)
Keep appliance and light use to a minimum. If you do have the lights on, turn them off when you leave the room (really, you should do that anyway if you were raised under the threat of paying your father's electric bill as I was)
Dial thermostats down to 68 degrees, just as with electric
Heaters are the #1 thing using gas right now. That's kind of critical, so don't shut it off to an area inhabited by people or animals
Don't use any appliances that use gas if they're not urgent
The City of Plano's Water Conservation Notice has been updated:
Good news! Temperatures in Plano are above freezing and will remain that way! Please continue to be mindful and conserve water use through the rest of the weekend.
You can stop dripping faucets.
If you have frozen pipes, keep an eye as they thaw and shut off any water leaks or burst pipes as quickly as possible.
Showers? YES! (Short)
Laundry? YES! (Full loads)
Dishes? YES! (Full loads)
Road and Traffic Conditions
Road conditions are unpredictable and constantly changing. If you can avoid going out, please do so for now. If you must go out, please do so with extreme caution and go much slower than you normally would.
Moreover, power outages in Plano have impacted traffic lights across the city. If the light is out, please treat the intersection as one with a stop sign. All vehicles must stop. Vehicles that arrive first get to go through the intersection first. The second person to pull up to the intersection goes through second and so on.
Lastly, fuel delivery trucks haven't been able to make deliveries to gas stations as normal. If you are out, make sure you have plenty of gas, because you may not be able to fill up as normal.
The list of announced area warming centers below is from U.S. Congressman Van Taylor. Please know this information is constantly changing and new warming centers and shelters may become available.
Allen Heights Baptist Church
1309 E. Main St., Allen, TX 75002
Open through 9:00 PM.
Allen Senior Recreation Center
451 St. Mary Dr, Allen, TX 75002
Open 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM. No food, water, or blankets will be provided. No cots permitted. Only service animals allowed. Call (972) 896-8297 for more information.
First Baptist Allen
201 E. McDermott, Allen, TX 75002
Open 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM. Bring Your own blanket, drinks, and snacks. No pets.
Anna High School
1107 W Rosamond Pkwy, Anna, TX 75490
First Baptist Church Anna 210 W. Third Street, Anna, TX 75409 Open 24 hours. Bring blankets, snacks, and water. Pin Oaks Christian Fellowship 2620 County Road 1106, Anna, TX 75409 Open 24 hours. Bring blankets, snacks, and water.
Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
650 S Griffin St., Dallas, TX 75202
Open 24-hours. Bring water and snacks. Cots will not be provided.
Genesis Metro Church
9750 John W Elliott Dr., Frisco, TX 75033
Bring own bedding. Water and snacks will be provided. Call (469) 287-5995 for more information.
Islamic Center of Frisco
11137 Frisco St., Frisco, TX 75033
No shoes will be allowed on the carpet when you enter. Call (469) 252-4532 for more information.
Preston Ridge Baptist Church
5849 Hillcrest Rd, Frisco, TX 75035
Bring own bedding and food. Microwaves will be available. Call (972) 712-7007 for more information.
2101 South Stonebridge Dr., McKinney TX 75071
Call (972) 562-2200 for more information.
First United Methodist Church of McKinney
315 N Church St., McKinney, TX 75069
Will have coffee, place to charge electronics, warm water, and a kitchen to heat food. You can bring a sleeping bag.
McKinney Boyd High School
600 Lake Forest Dr., McKinney, TX 75071
Open 24 hours. No pets.
The Salvation Army
600 Wilson Creek Pkwy., McKinney 75069
Open 6:00 PM – 8:00 AM. Call or text (214) 945-4637 for more information.
Roy & Helen Hall Library
101 E Hunt St., McKinney, TX 75069
Open 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
City Church Melissa
2300 Vineyard Hill Ln, McKinney, TX 75071
Open 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Murphy Community Center (MCC)
205 North Murphy Rd., Murphy, TX 75094
Water will be provided. Cots will not be provided.
Collin County Chinese Fellowship Church
4500 McDermott Rd., Plano, TX 75024
Open from 10:00 AM- 6:00 PM. Water, electricity, and free WIFI are provided. No pets.
Islamic Association of Collin County
6401 Independence Pkwy., Plano, TX 75023
Open 24 hours. Bring own blankets.
3701 W Spring Creek Pkwy., Plano, TX 75023
Open 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
The Salvation Army Plano
3528 14th St., Plano, TX 75074
Call (214) 637-8254 for more information.
Southard Middle School 455 Monte Carlo Blvd., Princeton, TX 75407 Bring blankets, snacks, charger, and other essentials. No pets.
Prosper Community Library
200 S Main St., Prosper, TX 75078
Richardson Fire Station 1
300 N. Greenville Ave., Richardson, TX 75081
Richardson Fire Station 3
500 W. Lookout Dr., Richardson, TX 75080
This location is pet friendly.
Richardson Fire Station 4
1500 Apollo Rd., Richardson, TX 75081
Richardson Police Department HQ
300 Greenville Ave., Richardson, TX 75081
New Hope Christian Church
1100 Brown St., Wylie, TX 75098
Burnett Jr. High
516 Hilltop Ln., Wylie, TX 75098
Open 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Current Community Needs
Buildings not in use should shut off their electricity and gas to the greatest extent possible--this includes signage. If you own or manage a building that nobody is in, turn off everything except what's needed to preserve food, pipes, etc.
Conserve what you can: electric, gas, and water. Better that those who still have it do with less than all of us do without
Please check with the warming centers listed in the previous section to see what they need. The biggest need seems to be for blankets
Check with your family and friends to see if they need anything. Don't assume that people in need will let you know.
How to Stay Warm in a Power Outage
Please see this advice published a couple of days ago by the City of Plano.
Protecting our Pets
Please see the advice below from pet health and longevity expert Lauriston Crockett:
Hello to our Collin county PET families. I want to give you the Trinity of keeping our pets safe during these unprecedented and frigid temperatures.
Make sure your Fur family has plenty of water Let’s make sure our food sources are managed correctly
Shelter is imperative. Remember if it’s too cold for you outside it’s too cold for your fur family
As you know our dogs and cats love us and make great snuggle buddies. Right now is a great time to bond with our pets and stay warm. I hope this link below also gives you other ideas to think about to keep your PET family safe.
Protecting Your Pipes
Whether or not your pipes have already frozen, there are some things you need to do. If they are frozen, you may have a burst pipe and not know it until things warm back up a little inside your home. If a pipe does burst, you need to shut off water to that area or to the whole house immediately (see instructions here or a video here.)
For pipes that are already frozen, see this article.
To prevent frozen pipes, see instructions below:
Turn on ALL of your faucets to a steady drip or a slow trickle. It's much more difficult for even slowly running water to freeze than standing water.
Turn on both cold AND hot water. They run through different, but parallel pipes, and either can freeze. I've had both. If you have a steady trickle of hot water somewhere, this will also ensure new water is drawn into your hot water tank, making it more difficult for that pipe to freeze.
Set singe-lever faucets in the middle, when possible. If you have a kitchen or bathtub faucet with only a single lever that you move around to adjust temperature and pressure, set it in the middle, as this draws on both the hot and cold water. If it's a one-way lever that doesn't allow you to adjust temperature separately from pressure, then just set it to trickle code water.
Even if your pipe is already frozen, open the faucet halfway. This will help relieve pressure on the pipe, so that if it does thaw it will help prevent damage.
The water pipes that serve Toilets that back up to an outside wall will frequently is freeze if you don’t let them drip. The easy way to cause a drip is to put a tooth pick under the flapper valve in the water tank. You can adjust it where it just barely runs and it will cycle about 1-2 minutes. That will not waste a lot of water and will save broken pipes. (Hat tip Ed Acklin)
Emergency Pool Care
If you lost power days ago, I'm afraid it's too late. But if your pool equipment isn't already full of ice, and you do lose power, see this article for steps on how to perform an emergency winterization of your pool to save your equipment.
When power is lost, pool pumps don’t circulate the water. The pumps and piping freeze and break relatively quickly and there is not a lot that can save them, but if it stays cold enough long enough ice will cover the surface of the pool, get thick and crack the pool. I was told years ago that you can probably save your pool by throwing some wood fire-place logs into the pool. They cause the ice to fracture as it freezes which keep the ice from cracking the concrete pool. (Hat tip Ed Acklin)
Plano Opens Recreation Center Showers for Residents without Water
There have been failures from top to bottom which contributed to this catastrophe. Some of the lessons to be learned have yet to be discovered, but we must all do what we can to make sure we learn all of them, and that our people are never again at risk from something like this.