This past week was one for the record books for Austin, and for Texas as a whole. A once-in-a-decade weather event landed with a record-setting 141 hours of below-freezing temperatures. To put that into perspective, Austin averages 43°F as a low in a normal year. This extended temperature drop, combined with an ice storm and almost 8 inches of snow blanketing the city, led to over 40% of the city being without power for many days. This in turn took down much of the water supply and infrastructure, some of which are still being repaired. The city was at a standstill as all the roads were too dangerous to drive on and thousands of families were forced to take shelter at home with no power, heat, water, or combination of the above.
Most of us did not expect the winter storm to hit so hard, so fast, and to impact so many people at once. This forced our Austin studio to shut down all operations due to the weather and electricity-related challenges, and we immediately focused our attention on ensuring all of our employees and their families were safe. Within a day we organized a Slack group to provide up-to-date resources, information, and guidance as we were finding it. We had employees helping other employees, and we had employees helping out family, friends, and neighbors within their extended community.
Throughout this period our company leadership team was in daily communication with our employees to ensure there was continuity in providing guidance and support. Thankfully we were able to reach out directly to every employee and contractor, and no one was in dire need, even though some had been without power and heat for over 96 hours. While our Toronto employees may regularly see temperatures like this, it’s a lot different when you’re prepared for that level of cold as an individual and as a city.
This internal support network continues today, even after the storm has passed and the weather is back to sunny 70’s, providing resources on where to pick up water if a home is still without it, general disaster assistance including references for plumbers and roofers, and the use of our building, which came back online for hot showers and a place to rest for those still in need.
It should be noted, though we’re past the worst of it, we’re still not through this event. For those still impacted by this winter storm, we’ve provided a handful of resources below that hopefully help with any issue you may be having.
General Resource Links:
Water Boil Notices Across Austin:
General Utilities & County Orders:
- Travis County: https://www.traviscountytx.gov/news
- Williamson County: https://www.wilco.org/Departments/Public-Affairs/News-and-Announcements
- Bastrop County: https://www.co.bastrop.tx.us/
- Hays County: https://sanmarcostx.gov/3359/Winter-Weather
- Caldwell County: https://www.co.caldwell.tx.us/
In addition to the resources above, we also want to continue helping our local community get back to normal. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be actively working with volunteer efforts around Austin to help folks get back on their feet and get back to their pre-storm lives. There are many organizations helping and we also know that one of the neighborhoods impacted the hardest is the area where our office is located. Once we have more information on how you can help we will provide those details.
What stands out the most to us now that we’re on the tail end of this disaster is the way that our employees came together as a community. We believe that the strength of a company isn’t just based on its successes, but also on how they weather storms together as an organization. We couldn’t be more proud of our CA family. Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this devastating crisis.