Please take this time to prepare for the upcoming freeze and check in on loved ones or neighbors who may need help. People can also connect with United Way Houston’s 211 Helpline for assistance. Let’s all do our part to make sure everyone can safely weather the freeze and enjoy the holidays.
With temperatures expected to dip below freezing starting Thursday evening, now is the time to prepare your family, pets, and property for the Arctic-cold weather. The first things to remember are the 4P’s – People, Pets, Pipes, and Plants.
PEOPLE: Keep your family warm and check on elderly family or neighbors who may need help.
PETS: Dogs, cats, and other pets get cold, too. Bring them inside, especially at night.
PIPES: Cover exposed pipes and outdoor faucets to prevent freezing and breaks, which could produce extensive water damage inside. Disconnect and drain hoses from outdoor spigots. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
PLANTS: Cover plants or bring them inside.
More info on how to protect the 4P’s of Winter Weather, including how to dress if you have to go outside, can be found on ReadyHarris.org.
Mayor Sylvester Turner has asked the Office of Emergency Management to open five warming centers in preparation for freezing temperatures. Each center will offer chairs, blankets, water, MREs, PPE, and comfort kits. Because the City is not opening shelters, sleeping cots and hot meals will not be provided. Individuals may come and go as needed. Individuals in need of transportation may call 311.
The following locations will open beginning Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022 at 3 p.m.
The National Weather Service (NWS) also has tips for coping with cold weather, including stocking your vehicle with supplies such as water, food, and blankets and filling up with gas so you can stay warm in case you get stranded.
Here are other NWS tips for your home and office:
Your primary concerns at home or work during a winter storm are loss of heat, power and telephone service and a shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day. In either place, you should have available:
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio to receive emergency information
- Extra food and water such as dried fruit, nuts, granola bars and other food requiring no cooking or refrigeration.
- Extra prescription medicine
- Baby items such as diapers and formula
- First-aid supplies
- Heating fuel: refuel before you are empty; fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a winter storm
- Emergency heat source: fireplace, wood stove or space heater properly ventilated to prevent a fire
- Fire extinguisher and working smoke alarm. Test smoke alarms monthly to ensure they work properly.
- Extra pet food and warm shelter for pets
With the focus on keeping warm for the next few days, be sure you’re safely using heating sources, including generators, fireplaces, and space heaters:
- Review generator safety: Never run a generator in an enclosed space
- Make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working correctly and that the outside vent is clear of leaves and debris.
- Home fires are common each winter when trying to stay warm. Test smoke alarms to ensure they work properly.
- Never leave children unattended in a room with a space heater – children can knock over space heaters or stick paper or toys in the grates of the space heaters, creating danger.
- Keep all combustible materials, including people and pets, at least three feet from a space heater.
- Open face heaters should have a screen.
- Use a space heater with proper ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
The City of Houston’s Office of Emergency Management provides more tips on how to use space and electric heaters, as well as how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
At Precinct One, the cold weather also will add days to our parks’ previously scheduled holiday closings.
Here is an update on the changes to park hours due to the forecasted freeze.
- Thursday, Dec. 22 – Parks close at 3 p.m. (freeze)
- Friday, Dec. 23 – Parks closed all day (freeze)
- Saturday, Dec. 24 – Parks closed all day (freeze)
- Sunday, Dec. 25 – Parks closed all day (Christmas Holiday)
- Monday, Dec. 26 – Parks open regular hours (Limited amenities due to water shut off)