'I’m still trying to recover': Some Texans are still bearing the brunt of the 2021 winter storm

Last February’s winter storm left millions of Texans without power for days in subfreezing temperatures. Watch how one family whose home suffered extensive damage is preparing for the next round of cold weather.
Posted at 11:05 AM, Feb 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-09 12:16:34-05

By Lauren Santucci & Jordan Vonderhaar / Texas Tribune

Millions of Texans were without power for days after a devastating winter storm in February 2021. According to the University of Houston, the storm caused roughly $295 billion in damage. It is estimated that almost 250 Texans died in the disaster, while experts believe the toll is much higher.

Rhonda Boyce lives with her daughter Bailey and Bailey’s three young children in Central Texas. They initially evacuated their home during last year’s storm after they ran out of propane to heat it. When they returned a few day later, they discovered that the extended freeze had severely damaged their home. The family lived in hotel rooms for nearly two months while the damage to their plumbing and electric systems was repaired.

Texas lawmakers responded to last year’s storm by requiring power plants to upgrade for more extreme weather events. Despite these efforts, some power companies say the state’s gas system is not ready for another deep freeze.

Today, nearly one year after the disaster, some Texans such as Rhonda and her family are winterizing their homes as they brace for the threat of another devastating winter storm.

Disclosure: University of Houston has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.