The water pressure in Corpus Christi began to rise on Thursday.
The power supply was restored for many residents who were left without light and heat for days.
The sun was shining; Freezing rain was no longer included in the forecast for the coastal bend.
All are positive signs of recovery from an unprecedented winter storm, though empty store shelves in town tell a different story.
Companies that use large trucks to move goods from distant vendors to local stores and customers are confident that the damage caused by the storm will not be permanent and are optimistic that things will eventually return to normal.
When exactly that will be is unclear.
“We must allow for more delays beyond freezing when we repair our pipes,” said John Esparza, President / CEO of the Texas Trucking Association. “I know we have to prepare.
“Just because the sun is coming out and (it’s) 70 (degrees) doesn’t mean that we’re going to be completely normal.”
Getting back to everyday life after the storm could largely depend on public demand for water, Esparza said.
supply and demand
Trucking, also known as the supply chain industry, is responsible for moving all goods – including essential goods such as water and food – across the state and land to their destinations.
According to the Trucking Association, there are 65,810 tucking businesses and 702,950 related jobs in Texas.
“Trucking doesn’t stop,” said John Rojas, director of transportation training at Del Mar College.
Motorways can be blocked. And many of Coastal Bend’s major highways and bridges were shut down for days because of the weather.
The storage shelves were emptied while the trucks were being delivered again. The demand for raw materials increased.
“When people start hoarding … you just create this flood of demand. And then it needs to be replenished. And when the roads are impassable or it is difficult to travel … it takes a little longer to get things back where they need to be, “said Esparza. “We know that there is no shortage of diesel. We know that there is no shortage of water. It’s just the logistics.”
More truck deliveries reached their local destinations on Thursday as stores reopened with windows once closed.
The vendors took whatever products they had available to the IGA grocery store in the island market. The store on North Padre Island was open Thursday morning.
Shop owner Lori Rasheed predicted that “things will be back to normal by the weekend.”
The shop was closed on Wednesday when it lost the water service. Before it closed, the shelves were empty from shopping on Tuesday. The shop was also closed on Mondays due to the weather.
An Oneta Company subsidiary owned by Corpus Christi has supplied water to local hospitals, grocery, dollar and convenience stores. The trucking business sells products for the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company from Corpus Christi, Everest Water, Bay Coffee and Sunrise Vending.
Deliveries have been postponed for a day and the demand for water is high.
The local truck business was closed on Monday due to the weather and the blocked roads. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the trucks were a few hours late on the streets.
“We get to places, but it’s a logistical nightmare because we have several (customers) closed due to blackouts,” said Robert Harley, Oneta’s chief operating officer. “We redirect and do our best to take care of the typical customers.”
The Oneta Company has a water production facility in Corpus Christi, but the pipes broke and they were out of service until Wednesday. The Houston manufacturing facility was also closed and had to divert water from Mississippi to Corpus Christi.
“Obviously, no one can predict a city waterpipe break and water boil,” said Harley. “So you basically have what you have in the house.” And then you have to rely on manufacturing facilities around the world to support you. “
The state trucking association helped find water for medical facilities in Corpus Christi Thursday morning. It has received requests from across the state to help move bulk materials, mostly water to power boilers to heat large facilities like medical, Esparza said.
“Fortunately, many other states in Texas are responding to this need,” Esparza said. “As we speak, bottled water is on its way to emergency government supplies. It’s very similar to what Corpus Christians saw about the hurricane. These neighbors are busy working and staffing the Communicate emergency management. “
This isn’t the first time Coastal Bend grocery stores have been emptied.
After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that closed many distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, and even farms, there were disruptions in the supply chain in the spring of 2020, said Jim Lee, director of the Economic Development Center at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in South texas.
A center business survey conducted last year found that about 40 percent of local businesses were inadequate due to supply chain disruptions, Lee said. It was challenging because the pandemic is nationwide and indeed global.
Similarly, this week’s severe wintry conditions weren’t limited to just the Coastal Bend region.
“Even if (Interstate Highway) 37 were free to traffic, the fact that the rest of Texas remains in a closed-off state makes it difficult for our area to get even basic basic services,” Lee said Wednesday. “This disrupted supply chain problem is more serious than a typical hurricane event that affects mostly coastal areas but not inland.”
Interstate Highway 37 is “the region’s main link with the rest of the world,” said Lee. And “this geographical isolation is now a major disadvantage for our community to respond to a disaster.”
Harley predicted that supply chain conditions will return to “normal” levels on Saturday and “catch up to 100 percent” early next week. But whether the circumstances are “normal” depends on the city’s water supply.
“The restaurants are really struggling with the main water break and the boiling of the water,” he said. “We’re trying to get them packaged products because they can’t use water. Until the city can see where the main water break is, fix them, and bring the water to a boil – that probably won’t be normal.”
Kathryn Cargo follows store openings and developments and reports on the effects of the decisions made by the city government.For our subscription options and specials, please visit Caller.com/subscribe.
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