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Posted on: January 17, 2024

Winter 2024 Storm Recap: How the City Responded

ice blankets trees in hill country setting

For the fourth year in a row, Boerne experienced a high-impact winter weather event spanning several days from Jan. 13 – 16. The brunt of this 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 bitter cold and accompanying ice storm.

Boerne Utilities

Electric

We had three major outages where 160 customers lost power when a feeder line tripped during the ice, 75 customers lost power to a failing transformer, and over 50 customers lost power due to a melted line fuse. There were three other outages that were minor and contained to under 20 customers. Proactive tree trimming throughout the year drastically cuts down on the number of outages due to fallen or sagging limbs.

Natural Gas

Due to the extreme cold, we experienced delivery pinch points for some areas of our coverage area for short periods. Simply put, during the morning hours, primarily between 5 - 10 a.m. demand temporarily outpaced supply. During this time, we increased our natural gas supply levels to the highest allowed by state regulation and reached out to residents via email and text message to explain what was happening and ask them to conserve where possible.

By the final day of the cold blast (Wednesday), our Boerne Utilities crews had coordinated with Boerne ISD and residents, and thanks to their conservation efforts we only experienced a temporary shortage lasting less one hour. In total, it is estimated approximately 30 homes were impacted.

Water and Wastewater

In preparation for the icy weather, Boerne Utilities water crews staged portable sewer pumps at multiple sewer lift stations due to the anticipated electric outages. Crews responded to multiple calls for frozen pipes including one on Ebner Street.

Boerne Utilities had approximately 20 customers call and report they had no water or a water leak. Most of the leaks were on the customer’s side of the plumbing and a couple were on the City’s plumbing in which one water meter was replaced, and a water service line leak was repaired.

Boerne Police and Fire Response

From Sunday to Tuesday, Boerne Police responded to 23 accidents. The busiest times were from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then again from midnight to 1 a.m.

On Sunday, Fire Department crews responded to 15 emergencies, including three EMS related calls, six fire alarm calls to include heat detection and HVAC issues, four motor vehicle collisions to include an 18-wheeler incident on IH-10, and two other calls. Things slowed down on Monday when Fire crews responded to just eight emergency calls. The biggest issue for the Fire Department was responding to multiple fall calls from people who slipped on the ice.

Streets Department

Meanwhile, crews in our Streets Department preloaded sand and gravel into our dump trucks and prepared the loader with a full bucket. In total, they dropped 2,600 pounds of our granular deicer product during the initial cold event and utilized an additional 1,800 pounds Tuesday night in areas of wet pavement on several streets after the water main break on Ebner Street.

Parks and Recreation Department

As a precaution, the Parks and Recreation Department drained drinking fountains of water to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting and closed all public restrooms by Saturday afternoon. They also checked City facility walkways for ice buildup and de-iced as needed.

Warming Center

Library staff worked with Hill Country Family Services to open the library community room as a warming station on Monday and Tuesday.

As always, you can visit our Winter Weather Preparedness webpage to get the latest updates on active weather events.

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