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'I feel like we have been forgotten about': Eastern Bell County still struggling after winter storm

Rogers Ice.jpg
Posted at 10:31 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 23:43:44-05

ROGERS, Texas — Thousands of households across eastern Bell County are without either electricity or water after winter storms knocked out trees and power lines and compromised water generators there.

According to Oncor's outage map, only 37 customers were without power in Rogers Thursday night, but neighbors report their power has fluctuated on and off.

"Right now I have power," said Mitch Mason, who lives just outside of town. "But I don't know for how long. I just know that I'm enjoying it while I have it."

A few miles away in Little River-Academy, nearly 600 remain without power. Keri Prater told 25 News she has been without power since Sunday morning around 2 a.m.

She said her elderly neighbor told her, "I feel like we have been forgotten about."

Even further down Texas Highway 95 in Holland, Oncor reported 702 outages. Holland's police chief estimates around 80% of the town is still without power, despite Oncor's decision to end rolling blackouts.

He says that is due to the heavy damage caused by falling tree limbs and downed power lines.

In a statement on the City of Holland's Facebook page, leaders say Oncor was still working on transmission lines between Holland and Bartlett Wednesday night. Those lines are likely a major cause of the city's outages.

While the electricity situation is improving, the status of the region's water supply is deteriorating.

Thursday morning, the towns of Buckholts, Rogers, Holland, Lott, Rosebud and a small portion of Belton were placed under a Boil Water Notice after the Central Texas Water Supply Corporation saw one of its water treatment plants break down due to the winter weather.

In another Facebook post, Holland city leaders urged the community to "store as much water as you possibly can. We may be completely without soon, if you aren't already."

Those living in the small Texas communities say they have not had much water since the storms rolled in Monday.

"The main problem I'm having is I haven't had a bath in four days," Mason said. "But other than that, we've been melting snow and a friend of mine still had water a few days ago so I filled up containers."

Rogers High School principal Lee Vi Moses told 25 News he had been without power since February 11. He spent much of Thursday afternoon delivering food to his neighbors.

"We will not know the majority of the damage until we thaw out," he said in a text message.

Moses was not the only one trying to find ways to care for his community as the cleanup begins. Armando Campos used his tractor to clear ice from roadways and convenience store parking lots.

"I see all of this stuff, and maybe I can help a little bit on the streets to clean it up so people can drive a little bit," he said. "I like my little town, so I will do whatever I can. And I'll do it any time that we need to."