We’ve seen convention centers and recreation centers opening their doors to get people without power in to warm up.
A church is also stepping up to help, after partnering up with the city of Plano.
A handful of people sat inside Grace Church Plano after it opened as a warming center on Tuesday.
They were spread out in a room with large screens. Most people had their cell phones charging.
One man laid down on the carpeted stage and slept.
Some children ran around the area while others sat by their parents.
They sat, warm and waiting for word of when power would be restored to their homes.
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Among those warming up was mother of three Tara Ring, whose three small children have been affected by the cold since the family lost power.
“It is just hard because they don’t understand, they keep asking when is it not going to be cold anymore,” Ring said. “It is nice to know that our church, our church family is reaching out like it is and it makes me proud to be a member of this church.”
Another resident said she tried to book a hotel, but they were full.
“I don’t even know what day it is,” said Mary Ellis of Plano. "It’s hard to keep track of the days she’s been without power."
She hasn’t been able to leave town because of the slick road conditions. Her home is without power and the temperature inside is under 50 degrees.
“I never ever would have thought this would have happened,” she said. “This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Other families sought shelter from their dark homes too, feeling left in the dark by authorities as well.
“We have been without power for more than 24 hours,” Jhonny Sanchez said.
Sanchez said he spent the night huddled with his son under three blankets.
“We couldn’t feel our hands, our feet,” he said.
Sanchez said they moved to Plano from Venezuela two years ago. He said he’d expect prolonged outages in his native country, but not the U.S.A.
“I thought we were going to die,” said his 11-year-old son in Spanish. “Because it was so cold.”
State Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) has been critical of ERCOT, the agency that oversees the state’s electric grid, over controlled outages that, for many, have extended for days with no set end.
“I’m very fearful that possibly people will not survive this in their freezing homes and that’s completely unacceptable,” Leach said. “There’s a lot of people, especially elderly people in my district, by the hundreds who have not had power going on 30-36 hours.”
Leach said he’s been asking affected constituents to email him to attempt to gather information or resources for them. So far, more than 2,000 people have reached out, he said.
Even more at risk than homeowners who have lost power are the city’s homeless. One of The Salvation Army’s nine warming shelters is now at near capacity as a growing number take shelter in Plano.
“When this weather came in I was sleeping in front of a church,” Ricky Abney said. “The wind would blow this way one night and then it would blow this way one night and I was like, 'God I don’t think I’m going to make it like this.'"
Abney later decided to go to the shelter that is now also helping to pick up people and transport them.
“I’m very lucky, I could have probably died out there – I’ve got kids, man,” Abney said.
Grace Plano has room to shelter up to 1,500 people if needed, according to church leaders.
Residents are welcome to bring pillows, blankets and sleeping bags. Cots are not going to be allowed.
The church warming center will be open 24 hours a day through Thursday. Leaders will re-evaluate whether the center needs to remain open longer.
“I’m thankful that the church was here,” Ellis said. “Because I don’t know what would’ve happened to us because we had nowhere to go.”
Residents like Ellis will hunker down for the night. She has a plea for officials at every level.
“They need to pull it together because good people, we’re hurting and something needs to be done,” she said.
Some people have been dropping off donations. Blankets are still needed.
The shelter is located at 3301 Preston Road in Plano.
“When we heard there was a need and we saw that we could do something about it thankfully the church has had power, we just wanted to step up and help,” Plano City Council member Kayci Prince said.
Prince’s husband is the executive pastor at the church.
City staff including police and fire department members are on hand to help welcome residents who have been affected by power outages.
Temperatures are being checked at the door. Social distancing is being enforced. Masks are required. No pets are allowed.
Here's a list of some other warming centers in the area, as well as some listed below.
- City of Plano in Conjunction with Grace Church Plano, 3301 Preston Road, Plano
- Sent Church, 3701 W Spring Creek Parkway (10 a.m.-6 p.m.)
- The Salvation Army, 3528 14th St. Call 214-637-8254. Open 24 hours.
- Fire Station #3, 500 W. Lookout Dr. Open 24 hours.
- First United Methodist Church, 503 N. Central Expressway, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Richardson Civic Center, 411 W. Arapaho Rd. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Richardson Police Department headquarters lobby, 300 N. Greenville Ave. Open 24 hours.
- Office Building, 500 Lockwood Dr., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- First Baptist Church Richardson, 1001 N Central Expressway. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Roy and Helen Hall Library at 101 E. Hunt St. is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- McKinney Boyd High School at 600 Lake Forest Dr. is open 24 hours