Winter Storm Headed Our Way
POSTED: Monday, January 31, 2011 - 10:37am
UPDATED: Monday, January 31, 2011 - 6:00pm
EL PASO - The NewsChannel 9 Weather Center is forecasting up to three inches of snow between Tuesday night and Thursday.
Look to ktsm.com and NewsChannel 9 is the coming days for the latest weather information.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management suggests the following emergency supplies for vehicles:
• Blankets/sleeping bags and extra clothing, mittens and hat
• Cell phone, radio, flashlight, extra batteries
• First-aid kit and pocket knife
• High calorie, non perishable food, bottled water
• Sack of sand or cat litter for de-icing roadway
• Windshield scraper, tool kit, booster cables, tow rope and shovel
The Texas Division of Emergency Management suggests the following emergency supplies and tips for homes:
If heavy ice on power lines cuts utility service, be extremely careful using generators or gas powered equipment. Carbon monoxide (CO) is invisible, odorless and deadly. It can build up in a matter of minutes. Do not use generators, charcoal grills or gas grills inside the house, garage or enclosed space. Do not try to heat the house using a gas range or oven. Be prepared at home:
• Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio, batteries, flashlights, cell phone and chargers, manual can opener
• One-week supply of food, water, medicine, medical supplies and items for special health care needs, babies and the elderly
• Pet supplies, kitty litter or sand for de-icing steps and walkways
• Heating fuel, properly ventilated emergency heating source such as a fireplace, wood stove or space heater
• Fire extinguisher, smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector
• Warm clothing and extra blankets
State Farm Insurance offers the following tips on protecting your home:
• Homes in warmer climates, such as those that we experience here in Texas, are usually at greater risk because pipes often run through uninsulated or underinsulated attics of crawl spaces. When temperatures here in Texas dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, pipes can freeze and burst.
• Recovering from frozen pipes is not as simple as calling a plumber. An eighth-inch (three millimeter) crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons (946 liters) of water a day. Both plastic (PVC) and copper pipes can burst. This can result in the ruining of floors, carpets, furniture and irreplaceable belongings.
• By taking a few simple precautions, you can save yourself the mess, money and aggravation frozen pipes cause.
Before the cold hits
• Insulate pipes in your home's crawl spaces and attic. These exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. Remember - the more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.
• Heat tape or thermostatically-controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and only for the use intended (exterior or interior). Closely follow all manufacturers' installation and operation instructions.
• Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents and pipes. Use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out and the heat in. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
• Disconnect garden hoses and, if practical, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.
When the mercury drops
• A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
• Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
Before you go away
• Set the thermostat in your house no lower than 55°F (12°C).
• Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it's warm enough to prevent freezing or
• Shut off and drain the water system. Be aware that if you have a fire protection sprinkler system in your house, it will be deactivated when you shut off the water.
If your pipes freeze
• Don't take chances. If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber. If you detect that your water pipes have frozen and burst, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. (Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shut-off valve is and how to open and close it.)
• Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame. Water damage is preferable to burning down your house. You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with the warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe. Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water because you could be electrocuted.