We interrupt the chronological flow of this blog to bring you a special report on the weather in South Texas.
“Go to Brownsville,” they said. “It’s warmer down there!”
And, so, we did.
After leaving Goliad, we spent a week just north of Corpus Christi (that report will come later today) and then headed to Brownsville. We are right on the Texas/Mexico border … seven miles from the border crossing. On February 10th, it was apparently close to 85 degrees here. When we arrive on the 12th it was around 40 degrees and windy. Yesterday it dipped to the 30’s and last night the 20’s with a wind chill in the teens.
It’s quite flat down here, and the RV Park we reserved is brand new so there are no mature trees or hills around to break the wind. Last night, the RV was rocking all night long … not because it was Valentine’s Day, but because the wind was blowing steadily at 22 mph with gusts to 36 mph! The wind is coming out of the northwest and, as luck would have it, our site is on the outside ring in the northwest corner of the park! There were times when the wind sounded like a train was coming, and I wondered if tornados were possible with the temps in the 20’s.
Needless to say, we didn’t sleep very well. We could hear ice pellets pinging off the roof and the fabric cover over the slide-out that protects it from water and debris was making a racket. It was interesting to hear the wind which, at times hummed under the rig with a rich, deep baritone sound and other times reverberated like a train was passing. It would blow and blow steadily and then stop, as if the sky was taking a quick deep breath so she could blow for another half hour. Really amazing.
As luck would have it, the ceiling vent over our bed, which has been giving us trouble for a few weeks, let go and we could not shut it. Bob had to go outside in the freezing cold/wind/rain/dark to get his tools from a storage bay, then remove the entire frame of the vent to secure the vent cover.
Around two in the morning, Bob got up to check conditions and discovered that we had no water. Again, he bundled up and went outside. Thanks to our wonderful friend Tom, who recently moved to Seattle, we inherited an electric, heated water hose so that our water lines would not freeze. Unfortunately, that didn’t prevent the park’s water spigot from icing up! Thankfully, we have water in our on-board tank and Bob had set up a shop light down there to keep our tanks from freezing. When Bob returned, he said it was like an icy wonderland outside.
When we got up this morning, it was pretty surreal to look outside and see ice. There was a thin layer of ice on the picnic table, on the car, and covering the baby palm tree in our site. We had shore power and a full propane tank, so we are warm inside and can cook. But, within an hour we lost power. Apparently more than 2.5 million people are without power in Texas, and since we are the farthest southern point, you know towns north of us have it much, much worse. The state has started rolling power outages all over the state in an effort to bring the grid back up. In a place like Texas, where it doesn’t usually get terribly cold out, most homes have electric heat because they just don’t need it that often. This is a serious life-and-death event for many in Texas.
Some parts of Texas received as much as 8” of snow. The last time a winter storm of this magnitude covered the state of Texas was in December of 1989.
So, this has been QUITE the event to remember! Never in a million years would we have expected this in Brownsville, where the average February high temperature is 73 and the average low is 61! Now I need a sweatshirt that says, “I survived the winter storm of 2021 in Brownsville, Texas!”
Be safe and warm, y’all. I’ll be back soon with a recap of our stay outside of Corpus Christi.