Winter Storm Update
Afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021
The City of Whitehouse is switching to twice daily updates. We will issue information at 9:30 and 4:30 each day until we are past this crisis.
Our crews continue working around the clock to get water delivered as quickly as possible. We are in contact with engineers, County officials and others to find solutions to get water flowing before the thaw.
For emergency water shut off, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. please call 903-510-7500 and press option 3. For emergency water shut off outside of these hours please call 903-245-8274.
We are working with a local volunteer group, lead by Mayor Wansley, supported by Smith County, City of Tyler, and our local churches. Assistance requests and a call for volunteers can be completed here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are we out of water?The City of Whitehouse has two main water sources. Wells, and a secondary connection to the City of Tyler. Normally, the City uses six wells to supply the City with water. When power outages began, all City wells were without power. We had generators suppling power to the wells, but they are intended to run critical infrastructure and are not equipped to keep pipes and equipment from freezing in subzero temperatures. We managed to keep two wells operational but it was not enough to supply the system and running these two wells without relief would result in long-term outages. Even with our secondary supply with the City of Tyler, our supply and fill lines connecting to their system are frozen as well.
What is it going to take to get water restored?
Warmer temperatures. We hope to see a warming trend over the next several days that will help thaw our frozen pipes and allow our systems to get back online.
Why weren't we better prepared?
We have never dealt with a storm system like this. We always try to account for likely possibilities when designing critical infrastructure. We plan for power outages, tornadoes, flooding, and other disasters. Much like many other cities and utilities, we weren't designed to operate in these temperatures.
Why do other water providers still have water?
Every water system is different. Some water systems are wholly dependent upon other water suppliers, some use a combination of either other suppliers, ground water (wells), or surface water (lakes). Every plant and distribution system includes a myriad of factors that are specific to that location and that system's needs.
Systems have also experienced outages for different reasons. Some have experienced large-scale main breaks, some have had significant increases in demand as people fill bathtubs, drip faucets and experience leaks at their homes. Each of these issues requires a different resolution. Some systems need people to conserve, others need conservation and main break fixes, while others, like us, need warmer weather.
What is the City going to do moving forward?
Over the next few weeks we will do a review of our systems to determine how we can better serve our community. This will include more than just our infrastructure systems. We will look across all of our operations to determine where improvements can be made.
Almost all homes in the City have power.
From Oncor (2/18/2021)
Yesterday, ERCOT directed Oncor and other utilities to begin restoring power previously dropped from the electric grid. As a result of the increased generation and stable demand, Oncor has since been able to cease controlled, or rotating, outages.
As of 5:30 a.m. this morning, there are approximately 150,000 remaining Oncor customers without power. This is a result of damage from yesterday’s winter storm, previous winter weather and storm damage that could not be identified until equipment was re-energized, and damage to electric equipment caused by record-breaking low temperatures.
Our personnel will continue working 24/7 to restore power to these remaining customers. We recognize the hardships that this power emergency has caused for our customers and communities. We appreciate their patience as we awaited the return of electric generation and protected the Texas electric grid.
Due to the large amounts of system activity surrounding power restoration, we expect it will take some time for our tracking systems to accurately reflect these updates in our outage map. In addition, we will continue to follow the direction of ERCOT should electric generation change and immediately take steps to inform our customers of any updates.
We are communicating with TxDOT today to find out their schedule for sanding the intersection of Hwy 110 and FM 346. TxDot is rerouting a sand truck for application on these roadways.
We are coordinating with the Smith County, the Texas Department of Emergency Management and all other resources for possible delivery of drinking water to our citizens.
If road conditions permit regular scheduled trash pickup for residential and commercial customers will resume Monday, 2/22/21 on your scheduled day. Trash collection will focus on household trash pickup only at this time. Curbside recycling will resume Wednesday, 3/3/21 and bulk item pickup will resume Thursday, 3/4/21.
Winter Weather Update
- Road conditions are expected to continue to deteriorate overnight.
- Dangerously cold tonight/Friday morning; a hard freeze is expected.
- Continued winter weather and/or hazardous travel from previous winter weather is expected today but this should be the last day of wintery precipitation.
- Hazardous travel will continue into Friday and Saturday for some areas even though temperatures are expected to warm above freezing Friday afternoon; any melted snow/ice left on roadways will re-freeze Friday night/Saturday morning.