A woman who braved Temple’s icy roads Thursday walked into a convenience store and made an announcement:
“Thank you so much for being open,” she told those inside Pool’s Food Mart at 2815 W. Adams Ave. “You don’t know what this means to me. ... No one is open.”
As Central Texans dealt with a winter storm that crippled the region with power outages, subfreezing temperatures and icy conditions, many residents had a harsh realization: they had little to no food, or had no way to cook or make meals.
Travel — by vehicle or by foot — was treacherous in Temple. Snow and ice saturated the city by Monday morning, keeping many restaurants and other businesses from opening.
Some fast food outlets that opened in West Temple Tuesday saw long lines of vehicles filled with hungry customers.
Although some melting occurred Tuesday, a second dose of winter weather left a glassy but dangerous layer of ice.
Many said they survived on a diet of staples — ramen noodles, beef jerky, packaged or canned meats, sandwiches, snacks and other items.
Gary Johnson, a Fort Worth resident who was working in the Temple area, said he only had a few food items in his motel room near Interstate 35 when the storm struck.
“I’m lucky to have a microwave in my room so I have a few frozen meals and ramen noodles to eat,” he said. “Nothing really great to eat, but it’s something to fill the belly.”
Residents stuck at home drudged through five to six inches of snow in their trek for food, gasoline and other essential supplies.
“All I’ve eaten is chips and crackers,” Perry Carter said as he stood outside a closed travel center at Interstate 35 and Nugent Avenue, where ice coated the frontage road and adjacent streets. “No one has power so everything is closed.”
By Thursday, some realized they would have to head out on foot to find food.
“My truck got stuck off the highway so this was the closest store I could find,” Madison Tucker said as she arrived at a closed Circle K store on Airport Road. “I’m going to try a few places before I walk back to my friend’s apartment.”
A slow hike
A 1 1/2-mile hike to a Temple store was hazardous in the frigid conditions, a Telegram journalist learned firsthand.
The icy hills on Nugent Avenue crippled 18-wheelers that were parked along both sides of the road; one stopped diagonally across the road after it skidded to a stop. Walking on grass was tough as it was covered by a half-inch layer of ice, prompting one to stomp on the slick surface to get traction from snow and grass below.
Streets in Heritage Place subdivision were nearly impassable by vehicle as many cars could not make it up slick hills. Others slid and skidded their way down.
One man said he was clearing ice near his daughter’s house on Allegiance Bend to make travel easier for her and neighbors. Residents on Petersburg Lane shovelled their sidewalks and chipped away at ice on streets.
“We should have walked,” one woman told her companion after their vehicle got stuck on an icy patch in the subdivision. She pushed the sedan back and forth in an attempt to dislodge it from ice.
Falling was frequent for those who ventured outside. Small steps on slick roads kept me upright for the most part, although I did manage to fall about 10 times, all minor, while walking on ice-covered roads and fields.
Stops at two stores along Airport Road were unsuccessful as they were closed. Vehicles that stopped in the parking lots were soon spinning their wheels to get any traction on the ice.
Few open for business
Pool’s Food Mart was one of the few stores open on Thursday. Inside, the store sold out of many items, but was stocked with chips, soda, cigarettes, beer, T-shirts, blankets and other items.
By the front door, a display of cupcakes and other snacks was nearly empty.
A man puffed on a cigarette outside as he talked about enduring cold weather up north.
“I’m used to this kind of weather but I never see the cold come this far south,” Tyler Jackson said. “I’m glad we’ll see a warm-up soon so things can get back to normal and you can go to a restaurant or the grocery store.
“I’m ready to eat something good after eating a lot of stuff that was less than satisfying.”