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Winter blast puts out lights, closes schools

Winter blast puts out lights, closes schools
Along with the power outages and frozen pipes caused by the frigid temperatures came incredible winter beauty, such as this frozen fountain outside the St. Ann Catholic Church in La Vernia.

Below-freezing temperatures and a half-inch of snow during the first week of February 2011 are sure to create memories for area residents for years to come.

The rapid drop in temperatures caused increased reliance on heating systems in homes and businesses. The Electrical Reliability Council of Texas, fearing the potential overload of the state’s electrical grid, reacted by ordering the state’s energy providers to institute rolling brownouts Feb. 2. CPS Energy and the Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative were asked to reduce power loads, which caused customers to lose power temporarily throughout the day around the region.

La Vernia Mayor Harold Schott reported an unfortunate occurrence caused by the freezing temperatures during the overnight hours between Feb. 3 and 4.

“é the two new, expensive pumps at the H-E-B lift station froze and split the casings,” Schott said. “We will be replacing them at about $5,500 each.”

The weather conditions resulted in school closures throughout much of South Central Texas Feb. 4, including the La Vernia Independent School District (ISD). Students in La Vernia enjoyed a four-day weekend, since Feb. 7 already was scheduled as a teacher workday and student holiday.

Since state law requires a minimum of 180 instructional days, the missed school day will have to be made up. As of press time Feb. 8, La Vernia ISD officials had not scheduled a makeup day.

In addition to students, parents who work in San Antonio were home Friday as well, because most of the major thoroughfares there were closed throughout the morning. Some who ventured out onto icy roadways were among those involved in scores of minor accidents and one-vehicle rollover wrecks.

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