Now in Texas, former Wisconsinites push through winter storm

The state of Texas faces a fourth night of record-breaking cold Thursday, brought on by a massive winter storm.

Wisconsinites are among those suffering in the Lone Star State, dealing with power outages and a lack of food and water.

When Clark Tabbert moved south 20 years ago, he didn't expect to see this type of winter weather. For the past week, much of Texas has been covered in snow and ice.

The cold spell has strained resources and crushed Texas' power grid. Tabbert's home in Austin uses propane, but the tanks are empty.

"The roads have been too treacherous for supply trucks," said Tabbert.

Clark Tabbert

He has been left without heat, hot water, and a gas stovetop since Monday, wearing layers to stay warm inside his home.

"In the morning, it’s about 50 degrees and warms up to about 55," Tabbert said.

Texas winter storm

Further north, Todd Ahrens lives about 25 miles east of Dallas. The Greendale, Wisconsin native has the furnaces turned off to conserve propane.

"When you look outside right now, it feels like you’re back home in Wisconsin," Ahrens said.

Todd Ahrens

Shelves are barren at stores and the roads are slick.

"The county I live in has two plow trucks and one is broken down," said Ahrens.

For now, Ahrens is making the most of the winter weather. Just like Greendale native Bill Wied who, like Tabbert, is in Austin.

"Our ground is still completely covered in snow and ice," said Wied.

Bill Wied

The former Wisconsin residents are feeling grateful they've fared better than most, asking for prayers for those who haven't.

"It's been challenging, but we've been blessed so far," Tabbert said.

Ahrens said his Wisconsin roots have been put to good use. He's been helping neighbors get to and from the store, using his Wisconsin winter driving expertise.

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Thankfully, the number of customers without power has dropped significantly from more than three million Wednesday morning to about 500,000 Thursday night.

An investigation is underway, but officials with the state power grid said the system was simply overwhelmed by frozen equipment.


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