Texas Winter Storm: Staying Safe & Warm
You’ve probably heard abut Texas Winter Storm. There is a winter weather advisory for most of Texas.
On Friday, Texas Governor, Greg Abbot, issued a disaster declaration for all 254 counties given the winter storm’s unprecedented nature in Texas history. Mr. Abbot reminded Texans that the state “is facing a very dangerous winter storm over the next few days.”
What is a winter storm?
A winter storm is a weather event where the precipitation is mainly snow, sleet, or freezing rain. Often coupled with strong winds and below-freezing temperatures, winter storms can be dangerous.
Tips to protect life and property during the Texas winter storm
- Protect life, avoid having people and animals outside without proper shelter.
- Stay indoors during the storm. Prolonged exposure to cold can cause hypothermia.
- Ensure elderly family members, friends, and neighbors are prepared for the storm and check on them during and after the storm.
- Walk and drive carefully on icy sidewalks and roads. Slippery conditions cause many injuries and accidents.
- Stay dry. Wet clothes make you lose body heat, increasing your risk of hypothermia.
- Open cabinet doors below sinks and let faucets drip if temperatures remain below freezing for a day or more.
- Turn off your automatic sprinkler systems.
- Cover any plant that is tropical or sub-tropical and covers most newly planted trees. Use frost cloth or old blankets or sheets. Avoid using plastic or paper.
- Make sure your pool equipment is running 24 hours a day during freezing temperatures, so they don’t freeze and burst
- Do not travel unless it is an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra blanket, flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle if you become stranded.
- Keep your cellphone charged.
- Prepare for power outages and have non-perishable food and water on hand.
What about power outages during Texas winter storm?
The surge in demand for electricity is putting a lot of stress on the grid. This means many Texans may see power outages over the next few days.
It is essential to help to avoid power outages so that everyone can stay warm and safe. So we are encouraging our EnerWisely community and our team to conserve energy, so fewer people lose power.
Here are a few energy-saving tips to help reduce the stress in the electric system and avoid outages:
- Close curtains and blinds
- Shut air vents in rooms you aren’t using, so you’re heating fewer places.
- Watch less TV and reduce overall screen time.
- Keep doors and windows closed to minimize warm air from escaping the home.
- Run ceiling fans in reverse to help bring down warm air near the ceiling.
- Unplug electrical devices when you aren’t using them, especially at night
- Wear warm clothing to stay warm indoors instead of raising the temperature in your thermostat.
- If you have an electric heating system, try to set the thermostat as low as you tolerate safely, ideally, to 68 degrees or lower.
- Try to run electric appliances before 7 AM, between 2 PM to 6 PM, or after 10 PM to lower the peak loads.
- Seal leaks around doors, windows, and openings such as pipes or ducts.
What to do if you lose power during the winter storm?
If you lose power, don’t call your electricity provider but your utility company instead. Utility companies are the ones that own the electric wires and responsible for fixing power outages during emergencies. If you are unsure about which one is your utility company, check your electricity bill.
Here is the contact information for Texas Utility companies:
AEP Texas: 1-866-223-8508
What about driving during the winter storm?
- Texans are also encouraged to avoid driving as the roads might be icy.
- Before driving, let someone know your destination, route, and expected time of arrival. If your car gets stuck, it’ll be easier to find you.
- Keep at least a three-car distance from the car in front of you
- Steer and brake more slowly than usual.
- Texan drivers that eventually become stranded can call the number on the back of all Texas driver’s licenses: 1-800-525-5555.
- For more information on road conditions, Texans can visit https://drivetexas.org/ or call 1-800-452-9292.
If your home has heating equipment like furnaces or space heaters, but you can’t afford to pay for energy, consult Texas’ Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program. The program aids low-income households with making energy-efficient home repairs and utility payments.
Also we are encouraging our EnerWisely community and our team to conserve energy so fewer people lose power. EnerWisely is ready to assist Texans with a 100% online free energy audit to eliminate waste, improve energy efficiency, and save.