BANGOR — Catastrophic. A word millions of people in Texas would use to describe the historic cold temperatures they experienced last week.
Thom Vaillancourt, a former Mainer from Bangor who moved to Grapevine, Texas, said not even New England weather prepared him for the storm.
Grapevine is located between Fort Worth and Dallas.
“It ended up destroying our ceiling and forcing us to evacuate,” Vaillancourt said.
Vaillancourt is among many Texans who at the last minute needed a place to stay. He spent nearly five hours on the phone trying to find any available place from Waco to the border of Oklahoma.
“We knew someone who knew someone who was staying somewhere that didn’t have power that could at least get us in so we didn’t have to sleep in the car,” Vaillancourt said. “Now we’re just playing the game of scheduling hotels and keeping in touch with the apartment to see when we can move back in.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, thousands of people were still without power. Vaillancourt said his power stayed on.
Now he faces the unknown of how much his electricity bill will cost.
“I’ve been a little too afraid to look right now,” he said.
State officials are working to restore it, but some Texans are left with damage that could take weeks, or months, to fix.
Others, still without safe drinking water.
“I actually have a little bit of cloudy water here,” Vaillancourt said. “I’ve got a Brita to hopefully take care of that.”
As the weather goes back to normal, cleanup continues for thousands in the Lone Star State — including Vaillancourt.
“Just kinda focusing on, alright I have what I need to work, a place to sleep, as long as that doesn’t change the next couple weeks should be OK,” Vaillancourt said.