Although mild weather prevails in Austin during most of the winter, temperatures dip below freezing on an average of 25 days each year. Planning in advance is the best way to handle extremely cold weather and winter storms. When freezing temperatures threaten in and around the Central Texas area, we offer the following tips for protecting yourself and your property.
Winter Weather Tips for the Home
A good emergency supply list to keep around
- Batteries (different sizes for flashlights, radios, etc.)
- Matches and/or lighters
- First aid kit
- Radio (i.e. NOAA Weather Radio)
- Battery-powered clock or watch
- Non-electric can opener
- Wear several layers of clothes to keep warm.
- Other special items you may need, such as
- medication, baby food, pet food, etc.
- Firewood (if you have a fireplace)
- Kerosene (for a kerosene heater)
Stock up at the grocery store ahead of time,
so you don’t get caught in the mad dash that
happens right before a winter storm. Have
plenty of non-perishable food items on hand
such as canned foods, dried fruits and cereal. If
the power goes out, you’ll be unable to cook a
warm meal unless you have a gas stove.
Check space heaters for sufficient ventilation
and wire condition.
Never place space heaters close to flammable
objects, such as drapes or bedding.
Ensure the fireplace flues are working properly.
Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure
everyone in your house knows how to use them.
House fires pose an additional risk when people
turn to alternate heating sources without
taking the necessary safety precautions.
Do not use charcoal or gas grills indoors. Never
use a gas oven for heat – they produce deadly carbon monoxide fumes.
Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by
having them cleaned and inspected every year.
Turn off the water to outdoor faucets and drain
the pipes. Frozen pipes inside your home can
begin with a frozen faucet outside.
Drip the inside faucets that are located furthest
from where the water source enters the house
and at locations where water pipes are located
in exterior walls.
Winter Weather Tips for the Yard
Bring potted plants inside. Freezing
temperatures can damage roots and even kill
plants and flowers.
Cover outdoor plants with row cover, otherwise
known as frost cloth. Make sure to cover them
all the way down to the ground and around
pots. Weigh down the cover with stones to
make sure it stays put.
Remove water hoses from outside connections.
Cover and insulate exterior water faucets.
If you have a swimming pool in your backyard
and expect freezing weather, leave your pump
turned on. The water is much less likely to
freeze if it is consistently moving. As water
freezes, there is expansion. This expansion
can destroy your pump, filter and pipes.
Alternatively, you can drain your pool.
Winter Weather Tips for Pets
Keep pets inside. Make sure your pet has a bed
away from drafts and doors and give them a
blanket to snuggle with.
Keep outdoor walks short. When walking them,
do so on the grass, not the cold sidewalk.
Dogs can easily lose their scent in ice or snow –
walk them on a leash so they don’t go missing.