Here’s how North Texans can prepare for freezing weather

A cold, windy winter hit North Texas on Wednesday evening and is expected to continue with below normal temperatures on Friday.

The National Weather Service’s extended outlook for the Fort Worth Area Forecast another cold front arriving Tuesday with highs in the 40s and lows in the 50s, and lows in the 20s and 30s.

February will mark one year since a major winter storm hit Texas, causing massive statewide power outages and dangerous road conditions.

More: February 2021 winter storm killed more than 200 people in Texas, new report says

On Wednesday, Governor Greg Abbott ordered the Texas Division of Emergency Management to increase state Operations Center readiness ahead of this week’s winter weather, which is expected to impact many large parts of Texas.

Is the Texas power grid stable?

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, also known as ERCOT, filed its final winter weather preparedness report of the season with the Public Utility Commission of Texas on Tuesday. According to the report, 321 of 324 power generating units and transmission facilities – or about 99% – fully passed inspection for the commission’s new winterization regulations.

Ahead of the winter season, ERCOT evaluated five extreme scenarios of the state’s electricity supply, estimating how much electricity Texans would need to demand and how much electricity power plants would need to produce before each season.

More: Texas grid vulnerable to power outages in harsh winter weather, ERCOT estimates

Texans can view current power demand conditions on the ERCOT website,, which has a graph showing demand and total capacity in real time.

Here’s how North Texans can prepare for freezing temperatures in their homes:

Winter Storm Watch vs Winter Storm Warning

A winter storm watch is the possibility of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet. According to national public service campaign Ready, watches are issued 12 to 48 hours before the onset of a winter storm.

A winter storm warning occurs when severe weather is imminent or occurring, and is typically issued 12 to 24 hours before it begins, according to the Ready Campaign.

How to Prepare an Emergency Kit for Harsh Winter Conditions

Food and water: Texas ready disaster supply checklist advises households to have at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and pet food, as well as a gallon of water per person per pet. A manual can opener can be useful for non-perishable canned items.

Peripherals and Backup Power: In the event of a power outage, a flashlight and extra batteries should be included in an emergency power kit. A battery-operated or wind-up radio should also be kept on hand to receive emergency alerts and updates. A backup cell phone battery charger and car charger are also included in the Texas Ready checklist.

Toiletries and other essentials: Everyday items such as toilet paper, soap, dental care products, and medications should all be kept close at hand in case of an emergency. The Texas Ready checklist also includes a first aid kit and hand sanitizer, as well as matches and a lighter kept in an airtight container or sealed in a plastic bag.

Stay warm : Limit time spent outdoors or stay completely indoors if possible and dress warmly in layers with blankets close at hand. The United States Environmental Protection Agency advises opening curtains and blinds during the day to warm indoor air and closing them at night to retain heat.

When using a generator, keep it only outdoors and within 20 feet of a structure and away from windows.

How to prevent pipes from bursting in cold weather

The Texas Department of Insurance advises Texans to wrap all exposed pipes in your home and cover all exterior pipes to keep them insulated.

If your home is without electricity, avoid using exterior doors to keep warm air inside. Heating a home with a working chimney and leaky faucets are other ways to reduce the risk of burst pipes.

The Texas Department of Insurance created a YouTube video in December titled “How to prevent pipes from freezing” with more tips on securing pipes.

How can I receive severe winter weather updates?

Oncor customers can get updates on the website and from its 24-hour disruption line at 888-313-4747, the Star-Telegram previously reported. The power delivery company will also offer text alerts and updates on weather conditions and emergencies delivered through its My Oncor mobile app.

Other groups, like ERCOT, will use their social media pages to keep people informed.

More: How Texas plans to contact you if another winter storm leaves us in the dark

What to know if you work outside

the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued winter safety tips, including preventing slips on ice and identifying different types of cold stress.

For navigating in icy conditions, OSHA recommends wearing water-resistant footwear with insulation and traction. If you’re working outside and there’s ice on the ground, it’s best to go slowly with small steps.

Types of cold stress include hypothermia, frostbite, and trench foot.

Hypothermia: When body temperature drops to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Moderate to severe symptoms include confusion, slurred speech, slow heart rate and breathing, and loss of consciousness.

According to the Ready campaign, those in hypothermia must go indoors, warm the chest, neck, head and groin first, and keep dry and wrapped in warm blankets, including the head and neck.

Frostbite: Loss of sensation and color around places such as the hands and feet. Symptoms include numbness; gray or white spots on reddened skin; and firm, hard, blistered skin.

To combat frostbite, the Ready campaign suggests soaking in warm water and avoiding massaging or using a heating pad on affected areas.

Trench foot: Foot injury caused by prolonged exposure to a damp and cold environment. Symptoms include redness, swelling, numbness and blistering.

To avoid trench foot, also known as immersion foot, OSHA recommends wearing water-resistant footwear or rubber overshoes when outdoors in cold, wet weather. .

This story was originally published January 20, 2022 2:07 p.m.

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Megan Cardona is a duty reporter at the Star-Telegram, covering politics, government programs, community resources and more to help residents navigate daily life in Tarrant County and North Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2020, where she worked at the campus newspaper, The Shorthorn, for two years.

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