Bracing for the Cold: A Comprehensive Guide to Winter Storm Preparedness in Texas

Rhythm Energy on Wednesday, January 17, 2024
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As winter comes, the arrival of ice, snow, freezing temperatures, and the threat of a winter storm is on the door. Challenges like icy roads, closed stores and schools, lost communication, and power failures are quite possible. While you can't control the weather, you can equip yourself to face its uncertainties. Our comprehensive guide explores what you need to know and how to be prepared for the winter storm in Texas.

Winter Storms In Texas - A Short Overview

It wasn't a long time ago when Texas hit a devastating winter storm in February 2021. Record-low temperatures brought heavy snow and ice, making roads impossible to travel. Millions of people were left without electricity, while the country faced its historic Texas power outage. The electrical grid collapsed and people were left without electrical power facing extremely cold temperatures without heating.

Ordinary people couldn't do much about the power grid collapse, but they are not entirely powerless. The last storm taught us how important it is to prepare for such situations. While we may not always control the actions of large systems, we can take steps to minimize the impact of such disasters on our lives.

Now it’s the perfect moment to consider how we can better prepare for upcoming winter storms. The Texas winter storm preparedness is your next step.

How Do I Prepare For Another Texas Freeze?

There are many things you can do to prepare yourself for the upcoming winter storm. We will help you with winter storm preparation, so you can rest assured you haven’t forgotten anything.

Familiarize Yourself With Winter Storm Terminology

Let's start with the basics - familiarize yourself with words related to winter storms to better understand weather forecasts in the news.

  • Winter Storm Warning: It announces life-threatening and severe winter conditions (snowfall, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet) that are about to happen or are already happening. Typically, these warnings are issued 12 to 24 hours in advance of the winter storm.

  • Winter Storm Watch: The public is informed about the potential blizzard, heavy snow, or freezing rain. Winter Storm Watch is usually issued within the next 36 to 48 hours before the event is expected to begin.

  • Winter Weather Advisory: The notification is issued for accumulation of snow or freezing rain. It serves to inform people about potentially hazardous situations, but not life-threatening.

  • Blizzard Warning: It is issued when sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 miles per hour or more, are expected to cause visibility to drop to less than a quarter mile. These conditions are anticipated to prevail for three hours or longer.

How Can I Protect My Home In Freezing Weather In Texas?

Winter storm home preparedness is something you should do before the winter season begins. You can start by wrapping the outdoor water pipes and avoid water freezing. You can use silicone caulk or add weather stripping to doors and windows, as well as to isolate your attic.

Home protection plans are another thing you can do in advance to protect parts of your home. Many families in Texas are subscribed to some of the plans offered by Rhythm Energy. In our blog “What is a home protection plan”, we discover everything you need to know about it, and why it’s a a good decision for your home appliances and systems.

Even before the winter starts, you should trim branches that might fall onto your home during a storm. Finally, make sure that your chimney is clean, especially if you plan to use a fireplace for emergency heating.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

This might be the most important thing on your winter storm preparedness list. Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide sensor in your home on every floor. For extra safety, install sensors with a battery backup. Additionally, install smoke detectors, especially if you plan to use a fireplace or a wood stove. In order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, you should place your detectors close to the heating area, test them regularly, and change batteries twice a year.

Also, keep in mind that grills should only be used outdoors, away from windows. Never use a gas stovetop or oven for heating.

Winter storm power outage preparedness

Generators can be a valuable asset during power outages, but also a dangerous one. You should know how to use them properly to prevent risks like carbon monoxide poisoning. Always use generators outdoors, keeping them at least 20 feet away from windows, doors, and garages. You should keep generators dry and protected from rain, and the same goes for extension cords. Before fueling, allow the generator to cool to avoid potential fire.

Another thing you should consider is getting a surge protection plan. Considering that the Texas weather is unpredictable during both summer and winter seasons the benefits of surge protection plans are numerous.

How Do You Survive A Freeze In Texas?

Once your home is prepared for a winter storm, start thinking about yourself and your loved ones. So, what are the winter safety tips in Texas? First of all, cancel all business or holiday trips, and stay off the roads. You should stay at home to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia. Wear layers and cover yourself with a blanket. You should also drink a lot of warm drinks.

If you need to leave the house, you need to dress well. Of course, you should have warm clothes and boots, but don’t forget to protect areas such as your nose, ears, cheeks, and fingers. They are the first to be at risk for frostbite. You can use a scarf to protect your face and mouth.

You should install an indoor thermometer or thermostat to keep track of the indoor temperature. If you or a family member is over 65, the thermostat should be placed somewhere you can see it frequently. By age, we diminish our sensitivity to temperature changes, so older people will not feel when the temperature drops.

Winter Storm Preparedness Kit

Another thing you should do before the winter storm is to create storm preparedness kits. You can create one for staying at home and one you can carry with you in case you need to go somewhere else. The kits should contain enough food, water, and warm clothes. You should also prepare enough blankets, gloves, and hats for everyone in your home in case of power outages. Batteries and chargers for your devices are also a good idea, especially if you need to go to a shelter.

You should also have emergency supplies in your vehicle, including blankets, warm clothing, and a first aid kit. To be on top of winter storm emergency preparedness, you should also have medications and medical supplies for at least one month.

Before The Storm Hits

By the time when the winter storm hits your area, you should be well prepared for it. You can do the final check on your storm preparedness kit with food and weather supplies. If your pets are outside, bring them into the house or find an adequate shelter for them. Check on your neighbors to see if they need anything.

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Categories: Energy Saving Tips
Tagged: renewable energy, electricity, energy tips, energy, energy saving tips, winter storm, cold weather, winter weather, winter storm warning, winter storm watch, winter weather advisory, blizzard warning
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