We’ve been displaced from our home in Casa View Haven for going on four days now. Our little corner of East Dallas lost power around 4 a.m. on Friday, and while we thought we could tough it out that evening, we ended up doing a white-knuckle commute to Forney, where our in-laws live. A trip that usually takes no longer than a half-hour took about an hour and a half on Friday afternoon, considering the snail’s pace we drove to negotiate icy bridges and 18-wheelers stopped on the shoulders. We saw cars and trucks in ditches, some getting rescued by tow trucks and fire engines, and more than a few devil-may-care-type drives being humbled by the icy roads.
Since then, we’ve been without power for 81 hours or so. (Side note: Our Great Pyrenees mix, Horsby (above) does not seem to mind the cold at all.) For the duration of that time, we’ve been relying on reports from our fellow neighbors who are either made of stronger stuff than we, or don’t have 2-year-olds, who have stuck it out in the cold and ice. The Casa View Haven Neighborhood Association has really come together during this time, with neighbors offering a warm bed to those who would otherwise turn into ice cubes overnight, hot meals, and even helping find animals who were spooked by the storm. The consensus among residents, though, is that service has been ridiculously slow to our area. Calls and texts and emails and web messages to Oncor have resulted in little to no service to our Zip code — 75228 — the largest in Dallas.
Considering the number of downed power lines and fallen trees in our neighborhood of post-war traditional homes, you’d think response time would be faster. And yet, a neighbor posted that a power line that has been buzzing on the ground in her backyard has still not been addressed. She’s finally decided to call 911, hoping that firefighters or emergency responders can help address the dangerous conditions.
It wasn’t until last night that we started to see trucks labeled “Alabama Power” in our area. If you’re keeping track, that’s about 64 hours after most of our neighborhood (including our home) lost power. We bought some of them coffee to help sweeten the deal to perhaps expedite our power restoration, but they were gone just about as fast as they arrived. They told us they were trying to figure out who would be working on our outages, and they were shooting to have power restored by midnight. Obviously, that didn’t happen.
We saw a few more Alabama trucks this morning, and even an Oncor truck, but still, no power. Even more galling is that Oncor’s text system keeps reporting some customers’ power as “restored” when those residents can tell you through chattering teeth that nothing could be further from the truth. What we’ve heard from some workers is that there were a lot of branches over lines that should have been trimmed, and when the perfect storm of winter conditions arrived — Hello, Cleon! — those branches crashed on the lines, resulting in massive and widespread outages.
Our neighborhood would have to agree. We’re still reporting outages to Oncor, every hour, on the hour, employing the “squeaky wheel” strategy. Here’s hoping we’re back in our own home, safe and warm, this evening. Until then, we’re hiding out in the Casa Linda Starbucks and other warm places that can keep a 2-year-old busy considering that his preschool — along with all DISD campuses, Fort Worth ISD, and pretty much all urban districts save for Garland — is closed. We definitely have a case of cabin fever.
Do you have power? What has been your experience from winter storm Cleon? And are you seeing crews working in your area? Sound off!