(The Center Square) – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott urged Texans to be prepared ahead of severe winter weather conditions forecasted to hit the state on Sunday, with sub-freezing temperatures reaching statewide through next week.
The governor met with emergency response leaders Friday to provide an update on preparations already underway. Texans in the North, Central, and South regions of the state should prepare for below freezing temperatures, wind-chills, freezing rain, strong wind, and icing conditions through Wednesday, he said.
“Wind chills will drop below freezing Monday evening and likely not rise back above until Wednesday morning,” the National Weather Service-Houston said.
“The State of Texas is working tirelessly to keep Texans safe and warm as an extraordinarily cold weather system begins to impact our state,” Abbott said. “Texans are urged to be prepared for a multi-long period of extreme cold weather and avoid going outside until this winter storm system has passed.”
He also said Texans should begin taking action Friday or Saturday to prevent pipes from bursting.
The National Weather Service instructed Texans to begin cold weather preparations “before the front arrives … ideally before Saturday evening. Outdoor pipes wrapped, sprinkler systems protected, have a plan for pets, check on neighbors that might need some help.”
Abbott also encouraged Texans to “stay off the roads. If driving is necessary, motorists are encouraged to remain cautious and check DriveTexas.org to receive the most up-to-date road conditions.”
Electric Reliability Council of Texas President and CEO Pablo Vegas discussed ERCOT’s ongoing communication with other energy grids servicing East and West Texas and the Panhandle and asked Texans to report any power outages to their local providers.
He and Railroad Commission of Texas Commissioner Christi Craddick said the state’s electric grid and natural gas supply is better prepared than it has ever been and will remain reliable during an increased demand over the next few days.
Craddick reminded Texans to remain safe when using natural gas, including not using propane tanks and generators inside a home to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd advised Texans to check their emergency supplies and to have plenty of food stocked up.
Texans are encouraged to use warming centers located in some parts of the state; county and city governments are also publicizing additional resources.