As winter weather moves across the state, DPS advises Texans to be cautious on roads

The Texas Department of Public Safety is advising Texans to monitor weather forecasts and take necessary precautions as winter weather and cold temperatures sweep across the state.

According to current weather forecasts, parts of North Texas, West Texas and the Texas Panhandle could experience wintery precipitation, including light to moderate snow accumulations, beginning late Thursday through Friday. DPS is advising drivers to monitor weather conditions before hitting the road, and if possible, avoid unnecessary travel in the impacted areas.

“It is important to remember that winter weather threats can emerge quickly, including low temperatures and freezing precipitation, which can endanger Texans if they’re not prepared.” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “DPS is calling on individuals to monitor weather and take the necessary steps to stay safe and avoid hazardous conditions posed by any possible weather threats this week and throughout this winter season.”

This week and throughout the winter season, the Texas State Operations Center will continually monitor weather conditions and maintain close contact with state agencies and the National Weather Service.

DPS offers the following tips for staying safe during possible winter weather this season:

  •   Monitor local weather broadcasts and follow up-to-the-minute weather conditions at weather.gov/;
  •   Purchase an all-hazards weather radio for up-to-date warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information.
  •   Sign up for local emergency notification system;
  •   On icy roads, drive slowly, increase distance required for stopping and avoid using cruise control;
  •   Watch for downed trees and power lines across roads. If power is out, treat all intersections as four-way stops;
  •   Make sure vehicles are properly maintained before any trip;
  •   Keep a full gas tank; and
  •   Avoid traveling when sleet, freezing rain or snow is predicted and monitor road conditions by visiting drivetexas.org or by calling 800-452-9292.

Winterize vehicles by checking the battery, windshield wipers (including appropriate freeze resistant-fluid), tire pressure, tire tread, fluid levels and lubricate door and trunk locks to prevent freezing.

Additionally, DPS offered a list of emergency supplies drivers should keep in their vehicle:

  •   Blankets/sleeping bags, extra clothing, gloves and a hat;
  •   Cell phone, radio, flashlight and extra batteries;
  •   First-aid kit and pocket knife;
  •   High calorie, non-perishable food and bottled water;
  •   Bag of sand or cat litter to provide traction for tires; and
  •   Windshield scraper, tool kit, booster cables, tow rope and a shovel.

Here are some additional steps to prepare for winter weather at home:

  •   Insulate outside faucets and pipes near outer walls;
  •   Make sure that furnaces, heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves are clean, well-ventilated and in good working condition;
  •   Make arrangements for proper shelter and an emergency supply of food and water for pets and livestock;
  •   Stock up on firewood and supplies, including canned goods and bottled water;
  •   If away from home for a long period of time, set thermostats to 55 degrees or higher and open cabinets under sinks;
  •   Make sure inclement weather contact numbers are available for schools and work; and
  •   Check on friends and family members whose health or age may put them at greater risk from cold weather.

During the winter season, residents can contact 2-1-1 Texas, the state’s free 24-hour helpline, to check on possible community-established warming centers or related services in their area. No matter where in Texas, you can dial 2-1-1 or 877-541-7905 for community resources.

Go to dps.texas.gov/dem/threatawareness/winterstorm.htm for additional information and tips regarding winter weather preparedness.