The unusually harsh winter storm that has left more than 5 million Texans without power and some without water continues to affect Princeton residents.
Several residents have reported on Facebook that they have been without power for more than 50 hours, while others have experienced rolling blackouts.
Along with the power outage, the freezing temperatures disrupted the city’s water infrastructure. In response, the city released a boil water notice.
According to the Feb. 16 statement issued on social media and the city’s website, the city lost electricity to power the distribution system pumps, resulting in an inadequate water supply at the city’s public drinking water system facilities.
District 3 Rep. Van Taylor issued a statement saying, “Ongoing power outages have prevented the city of Princeton from powering their distribution system pumps. As a result, Princeton residents are currently under a boil water notice. Until further notification, residents are instructed to use bottled water or boil their water proper to drinking, cooking, washing your hands or face or even brushing your teeth to ensure all harmful bacteria is eliminated.”
As of result of the frigid temperatures and power and water issues, Rachael and Jimmy Streubel have opened their home to residents in need. So far, the couple said more than 30 people had stopped in, with some spending the night, including a mother and daughter who ran out of gas after sleeping in their car.
Thanks to donations from the community, the Streubels will host a community spaghetti dinner at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17. They said they have plenty of room for residents who need a warm place to eat or sleep.
In addition, Southard Middle School has opened to Princeton residents as a sleeping and warming center for those without power and water and is offering limited food options.
Princeton ISD superintendent Donald McIntyre said the school opened at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, but few residents utilized the facility. However, McIntyre estimates that 50-75 people have stopped in since Wednesday, Feb. 17, morning. He said the most significant need has been the showers and that some residents reported they haven’t been able to shower since Sunday or Monday.
He said that the school will continue to serve as a sleeping and warming station for as long as the community needs one and that they have plenty of cots, but residents will need to bring linens and towels.
COVID-19 screening and mask usage will be required.
The Struebels are located at 3370 CR 494, and Southard Middle School is located at 455 Monte Carlo Blvd in Princeton.
Dustin Butler • [email protected]