Beginning February 14th, an unprecedented winter blast swept through the state of Texas, causing temperatures to fall into the single digits and lower, multiple days of snow and ice, and hard freeze warnings issued for Texas cities in different regions such as North Texas, Central Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast. The storm, named Winter Storm Uri by the Federal Communications Commission, affected many regions of the U.S. from February 12-16, The Weather Channel reported. As three of Ark7’s properties are located in the Central Texas cities of Austin, Cedar Park, and Pflugerville, the Ark7 residential management team took precautions to protect Texas properties and have worked since last week to prepare for the cold weather.
As temperatures plunged in regions of Texas unaccustomed to cold weather, the strain on the power grid increased when residents used electricity for heating to stay warm. Central Austin’s Community Impact Newspaper has said the February winter storm has lowered the Texas winter climate to the “coldest temperatures in 30 years” with temperatures at 9°F (-12.7°C) low and 23°F (-5°C) high on Monday, February 15th. According to CNN, the state power grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) ordered rolling power outages, which “typically [last] for 10 to 45 minutes” to ease the strain on the power grid. However, the situation worsened when residents experiencing the rolling power outages did not get their power back for hours or even days. The loss of power has affected everything from plumbing, with freezing temperatures causing frozen pipes to burst, to water treatment facilities’ ability to supply residents with clean drinking water.
Ark7 has taken 5 essential steps to keep tenants and properties safe during the February winter storm in Texas:
- Ensuring that exterior pipes are drained and covered
- Keeping indoor temperatures at 68 degrees Fahrenheit
- Trimming trees and foliage to protect rooftops
- Keeping daily contact with tenants to make sure they have power, water, etc.
- Reporting any power outages and actively communicating with local providers
While the Ark7 residential management team are doing their best to maintain Texas properties during the winter storm, weather conditions in Central Texas cities, which include layers of ice, snow and sleet, have made travel on certain roads dangerous. Ark7 puts the safety of our employees first and has asked them not to travel while the roads are under slick and icy conditions.
USA Today has reported that temperatures in Austin will improve, rising to sunny weather around 50°F (10°C) by the weekend. Ark7 will continue to closely monitor the situation in Central Texas and keep in contact with tenants and utility companies until conditions improve. Currently, Ark7 properties in Central Texas have power. Any necessary updates on the properties will be shared with investors.