With the first potential freeze of the season expected early this week for South Texas, there are a few things you can do to prepare.
Forecasts indicate a cold front will be arriving late Sunday/early Monday, which is expected to bring an Arctic airmass to South Texas, creating a morning of subfreezing temperatures on Tuesday. You can read more about Tuesday’s forecast here.
To get ready for the subfreezing temperatures, there are a few things you’ll need to do to keep you, your home and your vehicle safe.
Here’s how to winterize your home:
- Protect your pipes! Keep your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open to allow for air to circulate around the plumbing and prevent your pipes from freezing.
- Keep your thermostat at the same temperature both during the day and at night. If you’ll be out of the house for the day, set the temperature no lower than 55 degrees, according to the American Red Cross. This will help lessen the cost of your energy bill.
- Do not leave your pets outside during subfreezing temperatures. If it’s too cold for you, chances are it’s too cold for them too.
If you’re going to be out of the house on Tuesday and will be traveling, here are a few tips from the Texas Department of Public Safety to help you stay safe:
- Avoid unnecessary travel if possible, monitor local weather broadcasts, and follow up-to-the-minute weather conditions.
- Remember that ice forms first on bridges, overpasses and shady areas.
- On icy roads, drive slowly, increase distance needed for stopping, and avoid using cruise control.
- Watch for downed trees and power lines across roads. If power is out, treat all intersections as four-way stops.
- Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained before any trip – check fluid and antifreeze levels.
For more information on road conditions statewide, visit drivetexas.org or call 800-452-9292.
If you’re behind the wheel, you’ll also want to drive more cautiously in case of icy roads or black ice, which is a transparent glaze that forms, blending the ice with the surface of the roadway.
The black ice can be tough to spot, but these tips may help you identify it on the roadway as you travel. Here’s what to look for:
- Absence of water spray on a seemingly wet road
- Cars suddenly swerving or skidding
- Brake lights ahead
- Cars or tire tracks in the ditch
- Shiny surfaces
If you get stuck on black ice, here’s what you should do:
- Do nothing; avoid making sudden moves or turning the wheel. Smoothly lift your foot off the accelerator and glide across the ice in a straight line until you find traction.
- Shift - If possible, slowly shift to a lower gear for added control.
- Brake wisely - If you begin to skid, firmly press on your brakes to activate the anti-lock brake system (ABS). Or, if you don’t have ABS, pump the brakes gently.
- Avoid spinout - If your front end is sliding, steer in the opposite direction of the skid; if the back end is sliding, steer in the same direction. Look toward where you want to go.
- Avoid looking where you think you might crash—you might inadvertently veer the car in that direction.
For additional information regarding winter weather preparedness, click here.