winter weather guide

How to prepare for the coming winter storm and freezing temperatures in Austin

How to prepare for the winter storm and freezing temps in Austin

Austin snowstorm 2021
Austin, are you ready to weather another winter storm? Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

KVUE — If there’s one thing the winter storm of February 2021 taught us, it’s that it’s always wise to be prepared for extreme weather events.

Blackouts that were initially meant to roll off and on turned into a nearly weeklong struggle for some, with many stuck without electricity and water for several days. And with another winter storm on the horizon, some may be wondering what they can do now to get ready.

In the event of any other severe winter weather potential, this guide can help you prepare:

How to prepare your home for freezing temperatures and power outages
In the event of a blackout, your home can be your lifeline.

This article can show you what you need to know to protect your pipes and faucets from bursting amid subfreezing temperatures and the key supplies you always need to have on hand.

For instance, do you know where your water shutoff valve is? Find out here.

Your water is out. Now what?
Did you know you can still flush a toilet during a water outage? As long as you have snow, you should have no problems. Check out these toilet tips.

The storms of 2021 also left many under a boil-water notice, with residents scrambling to find a safe water supply. To find out how you can make sure your water is bacteria-free, click here

Prepare an at-home survival kit
A kit should include enough supplies for everyone in your house for seven days. Understand the unique needs of your family and take those into account when building your kit. Don’t forget your pets’ needs.

Kit checklist:

  • Basic first-aid kit, seven-day supply of medications/medical items
  • Map of the area
  • Extra cash (suggested: $200 in small bills)
  • Spare change of clothes
  • Spare car/home key
  • Family and emergency contact info (phone and email)
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, tags, food, bowl)
  • Copies of personal documents in water-tight bag
  • 1 gallon of water per person, per day (seven-day supply)
  • Seven-day supply of nonperishable food, can opener
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Cellphone, chargers, flashlight, extra batteries
  • Sanitation, personal-hygiene items, blankets
  • Wrench or pliers
  • Other tools or equipment you may need

Using a generator to power your home? Keep these tips in mind:

  • Never use a generator inside your home or garage, even if doors and windows are open.
  • Only use generators outside, more than 20 feet away from your home, doors, and windows.
  • Install battery-operated or battery-backup CO detectors near every sleeping area in your home.
  • Check CO detectors regularly to be sure they are functioning properly.

Tips for driving on Texas roads in cold, icy conditions
Icy roads are extremely dangerous. While it’s safer to stay off the roads entirely when roadways are hazardous, that’s not always an option.

If you have to get out, there are a few things you’ll want to know to make your travels safer.

For example, overpasses, ramps, and bridges are usually the first to freeze. And if your vehicle slides, it’s best to ease off the gas and brake pedals and steer into the direction of the skid.

See more winter driving suggestions here.

How to prepare your car for winter weather
In Central Texas, it’s not often we wake up to find our car doors frozen shut and hoods covered in snow.

Do you know where to check to make sure your car is ready to go? Do you know the key items to pack in a travel survival kit?

This article has a few helpful tips.

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