February kicked things off in true winter fashion as we have experienced what we hope is our big winter weather event for the season. The brunt of last week's winter weather and cold temperatures are in the rearview mirror, and we wanted to provide a brief update on how the City handled the storm.
We first want to thank our residents who helped City crews by staying home and hunkering down during the multi-day ice storm.
Boerne Utilities – Electric
On the utilities front, before the large outage on Thursday by LCRA to make emergency repairs, Boerne Utilities customers only experienced minor outages that were the result of ice-covered tree branches and trees falling on the powerlines. We also know many of our residents with BEC and PEC experienced much longer outages ranging from 6 hours to 18 hours on Wednesday morning (BEC) and Wednesday night into Thursday (PEC).
In total, there were 16 different electric outages across the City of Boerne Utilities approximately 7,000 meters.
The two outages stemming from larger issues with a neighboring utility at the Menger Creek Substation on Wednesday evening and the call from LCRA to de-energize the substation again for repairs on Thursday impacted 934 meters during each of the two outages.
The additional 14 outages within the Boerne Utilities service area impacted 433 meters.
Between outage calls, our crews worked several areas clearing broken tree limbs on service and primary lines that had not yet caused outages. Many of these were reported by customers and many were noticed by patrolling units.
Boerne Utilities - Natural Gas
There was a single issue with natural gas pressure in our eastern service area. After a prolonged power outage Wednesday into Thursday for PEC customers, when power was restored Thursday afternoon most gas HVAC and water heaters ignited simultaneously.
Our crews adjusted incoming system pressure, and the City sent out a message to residents in the area to help conserve gas by lowering their thermostats for a few hours. Within two hours of the request, we returned to normal operating conditions.
Boerne Utilities - Water
In preparation of the icy weather, Boerne Utilities water crews staged portable sewer pumps at multiple sewer lift stations due to the anticipated electric outages. They also adjusted potable water production facilities to meet customer water demands during delivery issues during electric outages.
Boerne Police/Fire Response
We had 10 accidents worked by Boerne Police, and dispatch received 179 calls over the three days. Fire staff prepared in advance with additional winter gear for the trucks and had all snow/ice chains ready for quick deployment.
Meanwhile, crews in our Streets Department preloaded sand and gravel into our dump trucks and prepared the loader with a full bucket. By Monday morning, they were traversing the City helping to keep our streets drivable and helped keep roads safe until the temperatures rose above freezing. In total, they spread approximately 6,100 pounds of granular deicer on bridges and areas where ice was accumulating during this event.
Library staff worked with Hill Country Family Services to open the library community room as a warming station. In total, 32 people took advantage of the warming center, and we believe many of them were residents who needed a warm place while power was out at their homes.
As a precaution, our Parks Department drained drinking fountains of water to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. They also checked City facility walkways for ice buildup and de-iced as needed.