Austin is commonly known for mild winters. But on February 12, a winter storm affected the state – in a week of cold. This has resulted in a statewide disaster with millions of Texas residents losing power or water, or both.
It is too early to state that all this is taken in the loss of life, property and economic activity. But it is clear that this is a disaster, and will continue to be devastating on many levels. Austin-area hospitals have also lost water this week, a sign of how bad things are.
Since last Thursday, my own house lost power and got it back several times. On 17 February, we lost the water with no idea when it will be restored. I think there are many worse than me, so I’ll turn you away from the mercy party, but it’s definitely been a humble experience. Boiling ice / ice for toilet water and rationing the bottled water we had left for fear of frozen / bursting pipes. At least we are warm for the last few days, because many people still do not have electricity.
Meanwhile, over the last few months (and years, actually), Austin has been making headlines for other news – namely the fact that so many tech companies, founders (ahem, elon) and investors either have their headquarters here (Oracle) Are running. Here are building important factories (Tesla) or offices (Apple, Google, Facebook) or thinking about relocating altogether.
The lack of state income tax has been a major draw, as well as housing / land / office prices being cheaper than those in the Bay Area. This is not new, but only with rapid epidemics has encouraged / forced more remote work.
Ironically, some of the things that have made the state more attractive to companies have also contributed to the crisis: some taxes mean less money for infrastructure, for one.
But it goes beyond that. Many other states have experienced freezing temperatures without the loss of electricity and water that Texas is currently experiencing. Washington Post as Reported earlier this weekSelecting the state in the glare of electricity led to “a financial structure for power generation” that provides no incentive for power plant operators to prepare for winter. In the name of deregulation and free markets, critics say, Texas has created an electric grid that emphasizes reliable service cheaply. “
Even Elon shared her disappointment on Twitter:
It is fair to say that Texas has attracted widespread criticism of dealing with this new crisis – both in terms of its preparedness and lack of mismanagement (Sen. Cruz, we’re looking at you). But are the events of the past week going to take the shine off Austin as a potential rehab destination for Tech and Investors? Will it deter people from wanting to move here? Isn’t it also ironic that because of the scorching summer temperatures some people who didn’t want to move here are now slamming the city / state for the effects of a major winter storm?
So I did what many other enterprising tech journalists can do in this situation, and took to Twitter. The results were very predictable – diverse and passionate on both sides.
The Austenites had several tweets that defended their city and praised how its residents have come together during the crises:
Then there were some people who lived here but were disappointed and disappointed:
There were also some tweets from others who said they were so shut down that they never thought about moving to Texas or were disappointed by the lack of preparation:
And there were others who do not live here, but ridiculed the notion that this was enough to keep people away, while others pointed out that natural disasters happen all the time:
Then there were those who jokingly said that the disaster was engineered as a ploy “to keep the people of California away”, or at least it could be:
I have been on the east, west and bay coasts. There are pluses and minuses for each. This possibility is enough of a deterrent to keep people away. but I Will It is said that the state should be more prepared when it decides to produce electricity. I am heartbroken for all the afflicted people in the city and state and for now, just want to get things back to “normal” as soon as possible only because the crisis we are dealing with is COVID-19 Is epidemic. We never thought that we would return to those days.
It is hoped here that the migration of technologies can create solutions that can help prevent similar disasters in the future.