Texans should be ready for another winter storm

Ash Jurberg

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"For our friends in the Southern Great Plains, including Texas and Oklahoma, we are sorry to report that late January may bring some potentially frigid and flaky weather like you experienced last winter. Hopefully, it won’t be as robust, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.” Farmers Almanac

Winter is fast approaching, and after the severe winter freeze that hit Texas in February, many Texans are wondering if we are in for another blast this winter. The Farmers Almanac has predicted some rough weather for late January across Texas, and now the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has released its winter outlook for Texas.

The good news from the CPC is they expect the current moderate La Niña conditions will continue through the winter months. Typically a La Niña winter is drier and warmer than average.

This doesn't mean there won't be freezing conditions across Texas at stages this winter. Last year was also a La Niña winter, and we were hit with severe weather conditions in February. More than 4.8 million Texans lost power, and at least two hundred died in last February’s winter storm, so it is crucial to be prepared.

The average date of the first freeze is:

  • El Paso: November 13
  • Dallas/Fort Worth: November 22
  • Waco: November 22
  • San Antonio: November 29
  • Austin: December 1
  • Beaumont: December 8
  • Laredo: December 16
  • Corpus Christi: December 20
  • Brownsville: January 3
  • McAllen: January 6

Ways to prepare

The US government website lists a few handy tips on how to prepare for winter.

They advise being prepared for a potential loss of heat, power, and telephone service and a shortage of supplies. It would help if you had available in your home:

    • 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 that do not require 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, smoke alarm; test smoke alarms monthly to ensure they work properly
    • Extra pet food and warm shelter for pets
    • 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. During or after the storm, make sure it is cleared of snow.
    • Home fires are common each winter when trying to stay warm. Review ways to keep your home and loved ones safe.

The Farmer’s Almanac predicted the arctic outbreak that occurred in Texas in February this year and expects “similar cold and snowy conditions in late January." However, they don't expect it to be as bad as the conditions this year.

Hopefully, all Texans are better prepared, and our power supply stands up to the increased demand.

Readers, are you prepared for another arctic blast this winter? Are there any tips you can share with our community?

Please leave your comments in the section below and share this article with others so they can prepare for the winter.

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