The university opened an emergency warming station Tuesday night for off-campus students, faculty and staff who are currently without power due to the winter storm.
The move came as freezing weather, inches of snow, power outages and water shortages pummeled the Abilene community and left students faculty and staff scrambling to find accommodations.
“We are preparing for another night of severe cold and electrical outages around Abilene and several hours of additional snow,” said Dr. Schubert, president of the university, in an email Tuesday. “Roads are in poor condition, and travel is not advised.”
All residence halls were without water Monday night after receiving 14.8 inches of snow in Abilene, and the city experienced sub-zero temperatures. Some water has returned, but many are still struggling to find necessary resources.
“City water service has returned to some degree, although we are still conserving it and under a boil-water advisory,” Schubert said. “Non-portable water is still being delivered to residence halls and major buildings.”
As of Monday night over 4 million Texans and nearly 20,000 Taylor County residents had no power due to the winter storm. There were still over 3 million in the state without power Tuesday.
The university has opened shelter at Edwards and Gardner Halls to students who live on campus and need electricity.
“Living off campus is a bit scary compared to living on campus,” said Diego Sanchez, a senior digital entertainment tech major from Pflugerville. “If you don’t have water or a car, that proves to be pretty difficult for a lot of students.”
The city of Abilene also shut off all water at 7 p.m. Monday as a result of power outages from both power sources at all three of its water treatment plants. Only one of those plants has restored its power.
“It is not known exactly when power and subsequent water service will be returned to Abilene water customers,” the city said in a statement. “When water is restored, a boil water notice will be in effect. Water customers should bring water to a vigorous boil for at least two minutes before consumption.”
In addition to the weather’s impacts, a house fire started at 1235 Cedar Crest Dr. Monday night due to an indoor space heater. The Abilene Fire Department battled the blaze for over two hours and struggled to extinguish the fire due to a lack of water.
Later on Tuesday, a water pipe burst in COBA flooding the dean’s office. The university also delivered water to RAs on campus for students in need.
Students have also seemed shelter from their cold homes to Beltway Park Church, where over 150 students are expected to spend the evening Tuesday. Others have resided in the residence halls and department buildings that have power.
All in-person classes have been canceled for the remainder of the week, and remote instruction is scheduled to return Thursday.