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Harris County Urges Residents to Prepare for Historic Winter Freeze

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Harris County, Texas – County officials are urging residents to prepare for a historic winter freeze. The key takeaways are as follows:

  • Wherever you are Sunday night, you should be prepared to stay there through at least Tuesday.
  • Take action now to protect people, pets, plants, and pipes from the effects of freezing weather.
  • Road conditions will become extremely hazardous and all travel should be avoided.
  • Residents should closely monitor media and the National Weather Service for updates to the forecast.

The Arctic air moving into Texas this weekend will push low temperatures well below freezing beginning Sunday night. Temperatures are expected to fall into the teens overnight on Monday and Tuesday and may remain below freezing on Tuesday. Areas of north and northwestern Harris County could experience single digit temperatures.

Long periods of below freezing weather will create life-threatening conditions for people, animals, and plants. It can also cause water pipes to freeze and burst. Residents are urged to take steps now to prepare for impacts.

Ice, sleet, and snow will make road, bridges, and overpasses dangerous. Beginning Sunday night, all travel should be avoided. Even roads that are treated will still be unsafe.

Harris County Public Health will be closing all testing and vaccination site from Sunday through Tuesday.

Additional information will be posted at ReadyHarris throughout this event.

What you should do:

Protect the “Four P’s”: People, pets, pipes, and plants.

People:

  • Keep warm, stay inside if possible.
  • If you need to go out, dress in layers and wear hats, gloves and an appropriate coat.
  • Avoid overexertion, as cold weather puts added strain on your body.

Pets:

  • Bring pets inside, and move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas.
  • Keep adequate food and water available.

Pipes:

  • Disconnect outdoor hoses, drain and store in protected area.
  • Wrap exposed faucets and pipes – including those outside the house or in unheated crawl spaces, attics, garages and other areas.

Plants:

  • Bring potted plants inside or store in garage near interior wall to provide extra warmth and protection from wind.
  • For cold-sensitive outdoor plants, put down extra mulch and consider covering with a cloth fabric of some kind to shield the plants from wind and frost.

Heater Safety:

Portable space heaters are often used to heat rooms and homes. If not used properly, they can cause fires, severe injuries, and death. If using a portable heater, remember these important safety tips:

  • Keep heaters at least 3 feet from anything that can burn, including furniture, carpets, curtains, and people.
  • Place heaters on solid, non-flammable surfaces.
  • Never block exits with a heater and keep them out of the way of foot traffic.
  • Keep children away from heaters.
  • Always plug heaters directly into wall outlets – NEVER use an extension cord.
  • Turn off and unplug space heaters when leaving a room or going to bed.

Protect yourself from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by installing a battery-operated CO detector and never use generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices indoors.

Remember: 9-1-1 is ONLY for emergencies.

Where you can learn more:

Source: Harris County Office of Emergency Management

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