Though the North Texas and Southern Oklahoma area is not expected to get the feet of snow some areas of the country have seen this week, the weekend is expected to bring the area a prolonged period of freezing temperatures and the threat of some coinciding precipitation.
For that reason, now is the time to prepare. Grayson County Emergency Management Director Sarah Somers said the best plan might be to revise one’s plans if they involved getting out and about.
But those who must go out, she said, should consider the following:
• charge up (fully charge communications devices and flashlights before you travel);
• pack up (dress appropriately and take supplies);
• fuel up (even for short trips — vehicle fuel and human fuel — don’t leave super hungry or dehydrated);
• check up (check your vehicle for road worthiness for winter travel);
• team up (carpool in four wheel drive vehicles);
• follow up (have someone not going with you check to see if you arrived safely at your destination);
• hold up (slow way down and increase your distance between vehicles);
• cheer up (the weather forecast shows a warming trend right after the holiday weekend).
“Thank goodness many people do not have to go out on the roads for work right away,” Somers said.
She said people should also remember the four P’s.
The first P is for people. Check on elderly family members and neighbors that may need extra warmth. Also check that those people are being safe if using space heaters for warmth. Those heaters should be kept on a level, hard surface that is at least three feet away from anything flammable, including paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs according to the Round Rock City Office of Emergency Management.
The second P is for pipes, as in the things that one should cover or insulate in some way before the extended cold starts.
The third P is for pets. If it is too cold for people to stay outside, it is probably too cold for pets too. Bring them in or make sure that they have a place to get in out of the cold and check on them. Make sure that they have water and food to help them regulate their body temperatures.
The American Veterinary Medical Association’s website says that pet owners should realize that individual pets have different tolerances for cold, just like humans do. So know your pet and know what they will find uncomfortable.
“Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside,” the website states. “Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.”
It also warned that stray dogs and cats might seek warmth under the hoods of cars and people should make some noise before starting their vehicles during cold weather to alert any animal that might have crawled in for warmth.
The fourth P is for plants. They should either be covered up or brought inside to prevent damage from the cold during the extreme cold temperatures the area is set to receive.