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Bitter Cold Coupled with Power Outages Has North Texans Getting Resourceful

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - The bitter, record-breaking cold, coupled with power outages, is more than an inconvenience for many North Texans.

"We're trying to keep warm," says Paul Smith of Grand Prairie, "trying to keep alive."

Smith is a self-described full-time "RV-er".

By Monday afternoon, his small community was on its third round of blackouts. The latest more than six hours.

He got creative.

"I hooked jumper cables to my diesel pick up in order to run electricity, in order to run the furnace and the lights," explained Smith while showing off wires lying across the frozen ground, hoping to give him a little warmth.

Otherwise, "Basically, it's a rolling ice cube," he said.

One elderly neighbor he checked on had resorted to seeking refuge in her car.

And they have another worry: even if electricity is restored, propane trucks can't navigate the icy roads to make deliveries.

So Smith ventured out in search of the refillable propane bottles typically used for backyard grills.

A 20-pound canister won't last long in the frigid weather.

"If we're lucky, maybe a day or day and a half," said Smith. "When it's cold, it takes longer to warm up. Go through propane pretty quick."

The single-digit temperatures could linger for several more days, so those with power are being asked to conserve.

Perhaps warming with a fireplace, and then turning the thermostat down to no higher than 68 degrees.

Old blankets or towels can be used to block drafts in doors and windows.

Shut doors to rooms not in use and close curtains to keep the warmth in.

A few minor changes could make a big difference to neighbors who have no warmth to spare.

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