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Rochester native, Texas resident reacts to winter blast in the south

(FOX 47) -- Thousand of Texans are still without power and water with crews working to get things back up and running.

Shawn Wilsie grew up in Rochester and still has family here. He's been living in Texas the past 10 years, and says this is the first time he's ever had to go through something like this.

Snow, ice, and freezing rain have brought parts of Texas to a stand-still. Wilsie currently lives in Lockhart which is near San Marcos, between Austin and San Antonio.

"I wouldn't wish this on anyone, believe me," Wilsie said.

Recounting his ordeal, Wilsie said the challenges evolved over time. First it was not having electricity and the rolling blackouts. Then, it was not having running water. And now, there's little to no food in stores and reports of gas stations running out of gas.

"I was literally at a Target near here this morning and it was aisle after aisle of bare shelves," Wilsie said. "The shelves are picked clean of everything. And it's the same thing at Walmart and our big grocery store chain down here HEB, same thing."

Unlike the homes he grew up in here in Minnesota, homes in Texas are not built for the winter blast they encountered.

"Our houses are not built for cold," Wilsie said. "Our houses are built for 105 degree weather all summer long, so we don't have the insulation. So we're dealing with pipes bursting in peoples homes. We're dealing with, sadly enough, people that are literally freezing to death in their homes."

And with very few snowplows down there, the snow and ice is just sitting on the road, waiting for mother nature to melt it away.

"I go a half mile from the hotel that my company's putting me up at, to work and it's pretty much still pure ice," Wilsie said. "Now today it's warming up a little. It's up to 40. So, it's turning into a slush, but without the benefits of plows and sand and salt, you just have to plow through it, no pun intended, whatever happens to be on the roads."

Wilsie says his family here in Minnesota has been very concerned.

Warmer weather is expected down there in the coming days so he has hope for some improving conditions.

Sarah Gannon

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