In the coming days we will see a historic and dangerous cold weather event for our region that has the potential to cause disruption, property damage, and could be a deadly risk for those who do not follow the necessary precautions and steps.
Freezing rain, sleet, and snow are all possible, as well as multiple days and nights with temperatures well below freezing. Because of the extended nature of this extreme weather event, I am urging everyone to take steps well beyond what you would normally do.
The Public Works Department is working with TxDOT to treat highways and overpasses starting on Saturday, but given how extensive the city and our region are, not all streets or roadways will be treated. You will likely not be able to tell if a street has been treated, or if black ice is on the roadway. Again, stay off the streets beginning Sunday evening through Tuesday morning.
Shelters & Warming Centers
The City is working with the Coalition for the Homeless to open a warming shelter for those in need beginning Sunday afternoon at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
HPD’s Homeless Outreach Team and the Coalition are proactively working on outreach to homeless individuals to let them know about the shelter, and METRO and Yellow Cab will assist by providing rides. METRO has waived pet restrictions for those being transported to the shelter.
Harris County will also be opening warming centers and the locations will be announced in the next day or two.
How to Prepare
Check on people (family, friends, and neighbors) who may be susceptible to cold weather and make sure they have access to shelter and heating. Hypothermia is a real risk with this storm and proper clothing and shelter is necessary.
Pets should be brought indoors.
Pipes that run outside or under a house should be wrapped in pipe insulation to avoid cracks due to water freezing in them; you should also know where your water shutoff valve is, in case a pipe bursts and your water needs to be shut off. You can also leave your water faucets at a slow drip and leave cabinet doors open to reduce the risk of pipes bursting.
Plants need to be covered or brought inside to avoid frost damage.
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The Solid Waste Management Department garbage and recycling pick-up on Monday will be delayed; more information will be forthcoming regarding Tuesday service and Monday make-up service.
On Monday and Tuesday, all METRO transit service will be suspended, including HOV/HOT lanes, bus, rail, and METROLift.
You should report any power outages or issues to CenterPoint by phone at
713-207-2222 or online at www.centerpointenergy.com
. CenterPoint is urging customers to be cautious with your thermostat because if too many people hike up their heat, the system will be overloaded and further outages could be more likely. This is a time for us all to do our part to ensure others can also be safe (and warm) in their homes.
The Public Works Department crews will be on standby for pipe bursts and breaks. As this is a regional event that will likely lead to heavy demand throughout the City, it may take time to get to you. Please take as many precautions as possible to proactively protect your pipes and your property.