An unpopular opinion on snow days

How the winter storms in Texas prove celebrating snow days is a privilege

Charlotte Dross

When I was in fourth grade, a snowstorm hit Dallas. Texas is known for its arid climate and dry heat, but during that one week in February 2010 the city got nearly a foot of snow. 

I remember being in awe of the winter wonderland that my neighborhood had transformed into overnight. I saw the snow as a celebratory occasion: school was canceled for a week, my parents didn’t go into work for days, and I now had an excuse to spend all my time playing in the snow with my siblings and drinking hot chocolate. 

It was hard for me to understand the true implications of the snowstorm at that time. But 11 years later, I am able to fully comprehend the impact that snow can have on areas that are ill-equipped to deal with the cold weather. 

Last week, Texas was hit by a series of devastating snowstorms, bringing record-breaking cold temperatures and several inches of snow. This left roughly four million homes and businesses without power for days, according to The Guardian

Places like Texas that only receive snowfall every few years are not prepared to endure conditions like these. Across the state, failing energy grids forced rolling blackouts. The lack of power was made even worse by the fact that many of these homes are not built to retain heat in temperatures this cold. 

In some of the hardest-hit areas, temperatures inside homes dropped to subfreezing levels. On top of this, many water pipes froze over, causing them to burst and inflict serious water damage inside homes, according to The Guardian

At my home in Dallas, four pipes burst. My parents were without water and electricity for three days. While this was undoubtedly a frustrating situation for them, the inconveniences of the storm will subside in the coming days. For lower-income families, this is unfortunately not their reality.

The catastrophe hit many homes harder than others: marginalized communities bear the brunt of these natural disasters, as they lack the financial means to readily recover from damage incurred from these storms. 

An article written by The Texas Tribune profiled a family from the Pleasant Grove neighborhood of Dallas. Single mother Marleny Almendarez and her two kids spent the night in a mobile charter bus to escape the subfreezing temperatures of their  home. While some families have the luxury of spending a night in the comfort of a hotel room, many do not. 

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz received heavy criticism for his trip to Cancún, Mexico as the winter storms in Texas continued to rage on. While millions were without power and suffering from a lack of warmth and food sources, Cruz traded his home in Houston for the beachside Ritz-Carlton. 

Cruz has since apologized, admitting that the impromptu vacation was “obviously a mistake,” according to The New York Times. This situation ultimately speaks to larger issues of disparities caused by privilege. While some people like Cruz can afford to flee from their problems, a large majority cannot. 

This storm has devastated countless communities across the state of Texas. It has left many wondering how their next bill will be paid, or where their next meal will come from. Its aftermath will be felt far into the future. 

So, the next time you wish for a snow day to avoid taking a test or to have an excuse to stay in, keep in mind that the consequences might be much greater for many other people.

If you’re looking to donate to relief funds that help Texans affected by the storms, consider checking out the following:,, and