A hard freeze is expected tonight, with lows Thursday morning in the upper teens to mid 20s across the Hill Country and Central Texas. Williamson County’s Office of Emergency Management urges residents to take actions to protect the 4 P’s: people, pets, pipes, and plants. Please listen to your NOAA weather radio, the weather reports on your favorite local radio and television stations, or visit the NWS website at www.srh.noaa.gov/ewx for the latest weather information and forecasts.
Before going outside, dress in warm, layered clothing, including a coat, gloves, and a hat. Never leave children or the elderly in vehicles during cold weather. Have safe heating equipment available inside and do not use a generator, grill, camp-stove, or any gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device to heat your home. They can generate deadline carbon monoxide gas which cannot be smelled or seen. Check to ensure smoke detectors are working properly.
Pets and Livestock:
Hypothermia and dehydration are the two most probable life-threatening conditions for animals in cold weather. Access to drinking water is critical. Usual water sources may freeze solid in low temperatures and dehydration becomes life-threatening. Very young or older animals may be less able to tolerate temperature extremes and have weaker immune systems.
Pets should be brought inside or into a protected covered area and provided with bedding, food, and water. Pet owners should check with their veterinarian or local humane society for more information.
Livestock should be provided wind-break and roof shelter and monitored for signs of discomfort (extensive shivering, weakness, lethargy, etc.). They should be provided extra hay/forage/feed as animals will need more calories to maintain body heat in extreme cold. Horse and livestock owners should check with their veterinarian or County Agricultural Extension Agent for additional information.
The water inside unprotected water pipes freezes whenever pipes are exposed to freezing temperatures for several hours. As water freezes it expands, which can cause your pipes to crack or split. When the frozen water thaws, the resulting water leak can cause substantial damage to your home.
Covering exposed pipes may protect them from freezing. Plumbing insulation and faucet covers are available at local hardware stores and some grocery stores. The insulation or covers are easy to install and should be fitted snugly over the pipes or faucet.
If possible, leave your thermostat set near 50 degrees and open the cabinet doors under your sink to allow warm air to circulate around your pipes.
If your pipes do freeze, it may be best to call a plumber to check for damage to your pipes.
There are several things you can do to protect your plants from frost and freezes:
Water the soil around your plants thoroughly before the temperature drops below 32 degrees. The moisture will keep the air around your plants just a bit warmer.
Cover your plants before nightfall. Plants and soil absorb and store heat from the sun during the day, but rapidly lose the heat after sunset. Remove the covers during the day to avoid overheating your plants. If severe freezing temperatures are expected to continue for several days, clear plastic bags, like trash liners, will keep your plants warm and let in sunlight during the day.
Potted plants are more susceptible to frost and freezing because their roots are less protected than those planted in the ground. Move plants in containers indoors if possible or bury the container in the ground. If you cannot move or bury the containers, cover the plants, wrap the pots in towels, burlap, or even bubble wrap.
Please listen to your NOAA weather radio, the weather reports on your favorite local radio and television stations, or visit the NWS website at www.srh.noaa.gov/ewx for the latest weather information and forecasts.