AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging Texans to monitor weather forecasts and take necessary precautions as winter weather and cold temperatures sweep across the state. According to current weather forecasts, parts of North Texas, West Texas and the Texas Panhandle could experience wintery precipitation, including light to moderate snow accumulations, beginning late Thursday through Friday. Drivers are advised to monitor weather conditions before hitting the road, and if possible, avoid unnecessary travel in the impacted areas.
“It is important to remember that winter weather threats can emerge quickly, including low temperatures and freezing precipitation, which can endanger Texans if they’re not prepared,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “DPS is calling on individuals to monitor weather and take the necessary steps to stay safe and avoid hazardous conditions posed by any possible weather threats this week and throughout this winter season.”
This week and throughout the winter season, the Texas State Operations Center will continually monitor weather conditions and maintain close contact with state agencies and the National Weather Service.
DPS offers the following tips for staying safe during possible winter weather this season:
Monitor local weather broadcasts and follow up-to-the-minute weather conditions, at http://www.weather.gov/. Purchase an all-hazards weather radio for up-to-date warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information. Sign up for your local emergency notification system. On icy roads, drive slowly, increase distance required 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. Keep your gas tank full. Avoid traveling when sleet, freezing rain or snow is predicted, and monitor road conditions by visiting www.drivetexas.org or by calling 1-800-452-9292. Winterize your vehicle by checking the battery, windshield wipers (including appropriate freeze resistant-fluid), tire pressure, tire tread, fluid levels, and lubricate door and trunk locks to prevent freezing. In addition, here is a list of emergency supplies drivers can keep in their vehicle:
Blankets/sleeping bags, extra clothing, gloves and a hat. Cell phone, radio, flashlight and extra batteries. First-aid kit and pocket knife. High calorie, non-perishable food and bottled water. Bag of sand or cat litter to provide traction for tires. Windshield scraper, tool kit, booster cables, tow rope and a shovel.
Here are some additional steps to prepare for winter weather:
Insulate outside faucets and pipes near outer walls. Make sure that furnaces, heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves are clean, well-ventilated and in good working condition. Make arrangements for proper shelter and an emergency supply of food and water for your pets and livestock. Stock up on firewood and supplies, including canned goods and bottled water. If you will be away from home for a long period of time, set your thermostat to 55 degrees or higher and open cabinets under sinks. Make sure you have inclement weather contact numbers for schools and work. Check on friends and family members whose health or age may put them at greater risk from cold weather. During the winter season, residents can contact 2-1-1 Texas, the state’s free 24-hour helpline, to check on possible community-established warming centers or related services in their area. No matter where you live in Texas, you can dial 2-1-1 or (877) 541-7905 for community resources.